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The Best Graduation Gift? An A&S Dean's Medal

Story by
Nancy Joseph

Allyssa Lamb’s resume was already looking good. She’d received numerous scholarships during her years at the UW and was recently awarded a prestigious Rhodes scholarship. Now she and three classmates have earned another honor: Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist. 

Allyssa Lamb’s resume was already looking good. She’d received numerous scholarships during her years at the UW and was recently awarded a prestigious Rhodes scholarship. Now she and three classmates have earned another honor: Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medalist. 

Dean's Medalists (from left) Daniel Linehan, Terri Moore, and Allyssa Lamb.

Dean's Medalists (from left) Daniel Linehan, Terri Moore, and Allyssa Lamb. Media credit: Mary Levin

The Arts and Sciences Dean’s Medal is awarded to four graduating seniors each year, one from each of the College’s four divisions—arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Recipients are selected on the basis of grade point average and faculty recommendations. 

“This is our chance to celebrate the exceptional quality of our undergraduates,” says David Hodge, dean of the College. “The difficult part is selecting just one student from each division.”

Allyssa Lamb, Dean’s Medalist in the Humanities, majored in classics and Near Eastern languages and civilization. She spent last summer excavating at Tel Dor, an ancient site in Israel, with a UW team. She’ll head for Oxford University in the fall to study Egyptology.

Faculty describe Lamb as quiet and reserved but also persistent and determined. When she took a graduate course on Near Eastern religion last year—as a junior and the only undergraduate in the class—“she shined in the class,” says Professor Scott Noegel. “Her written work is stellar. Her oral delivery is so articulate for her age. Her ability to research is unparalleled. 
She’s just amazing.” (For more about Allyssa Lamb, see the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of A&S Perspectives.)

Terri Moore, Dean’s Medalist in the Natural Sciences, has excelled in graduate level work as well. She enrolled in three graduate-level courses and attended two graduate seminars during Spring Quarter 2004. “This is an utterly impressive course load,” says Computer Science and Engineering Chair David Notkin. “All of our graduate students take two courses and seminars, but never what Terri took during spring quarter.”

With her double major in mathematics and computer science, Moore has “seamlessly blended the two disciplines, bringing her extraordinary mathematical abilities to the field of computing and solving many tough computer science problems in ingenious ways as a result,” says Notkin. 

“Simply mind-blowing” is how Professor Steve Seitz describes the quality of Moore’s work. He was so impressed that he invited her to join his research team. She has not disappointed. “Terri is perhaps the most conscientious and principled undergraduate that I have encountered,” he says.

Moore is headed for graduate school at University of Nebraska, where she will study commutative algebra. 

Daniel Linehan, Dean’s Medalist in the Arts, has received similar accolades. A dance major, he is described by Professor Jennifer Salk as “the genius of the department.”

“Daniel is always taking in information and pondering,” says Salk. “He possesses everything a teacher dreams of in a student. His writing is so good that one of our graduate students, who taught a course he was enrolled in, commented that Daniel should be teaching the course.”

Linehan’s talent has already been recognized by the dance community. He choreographed and performed a solo for an On the Boards showcase this year, and missed graduation to perform in New York City.

“His hard work and progress reminds each of us how the arts can be a totally transforming experience in our daily lives,” says Mark Haim, Dance Program artist-in-residence. “He makes our jobs as educators both a pleasure and an honor.”

Jennifer Devine, Dean’s Medalist in the Social Sciences, has her own cheering section. Not that she needs one. Like Allyssa Lamb, she has already received a coveted national scholarship this year. Devine, who has earned BA degrees in geography and international studies, was selected as a 2004 Marshall Scholar, enabling her to spend the next year studying at the London School of Economics. 

Jennifer Devine

Jennifer Devine. Media credit: Karen Orders

Professor Victoria Lawson describes Devine as “the brightest and most engaging undergraduate that I have worked with in my 16 years at the UW.” Devine worked with Lawson on several research projects; she also served as a delegate to Cuba for the UW’s Center for Women & Democracy and as president of the Mortar Board National Honors Society. 

“I have consistently found her to be an engaged and hungry intellect, one that is constantly taking ideas in new directions,” says Lawson. 

That quality—a hungry intellect—is what drives all of these medalists. 

“It is the quality that we look for and nurture in all our students,” says Dean Hodge. “When students have that passion for knowledge, it is so rewarding for those around them. It’s what a liberal arts education is all about.”