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Congratulations to Our 2022 Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship Awardees

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College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Announcement  •
Dean's Fellowship Award graphic

Each year, the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences is proud to offer Dean’s Dissertation Fellowships to students pursuing completion of their doctoral work. Awardees, nominated by faculty in their departments from a highly competitive pool of applicants, are chosen to receive a year of financial support.

The 2022 Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship awardees are: Hayley Brooks (Department of Psychology), Austin Thoma (Department of Communication Studies), Anne Walker (Department of Communication Studies), Katelyn Johnson (Department of Communication Studies), Adriana Socoski (Department of English & Literary Arts) and Angela Gattuso (Department of English & Literary Arts).

Hayley Brooks

Hayley Brooks, PhD student in the Department of Psychology

Hayley Brooks is a PhD candidate in the Affective, Social & Cognitive Psychology program and studies how context influences risky monetary decision-making. Her research has demonstrated that individuals tend to rely on previous experiences (e.g. win, losses, and earnings) to guide their risk-taking behavior, even when those experiences do not directly influence future outcomes. Because such behavior appears to be suboptimal and may lead to lower monetary earnings, Brooks' dissertation will examine whether the tendency to rely on past experiences can be mitigated by changing the way individuals think and feel about their risky choice options.

Austin Thoma

Austin Thoma, PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies

Austin Thoma is third year doctoral student in Communication Studies at the University of Denver. His dissertation project on the material and rhetorical dimensions of security construction in Russian encroachments in eastern Europe, US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the COVID-19 pandemic extends his previous master’s thesis work on the securitization of chemical weapons use in Syria. He holds an MA in Communication from the University of Wyoming, as well as a master’s degree from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations, with a concentration in dispute resolution. Previously, he has worked as the Director of Debate at Wyoming, in addition to holding assistant debate coaching positions at Cornell, Wyoming, and Denver.

Anne Walker

Anne Walker, PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies
Anne Walker is a doctoral student and graduate teaching instructor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Denver. Her research interests center on the overlapping of art, communication and storytelling across differences. In the spring of 2021, she designed and taught a special topics course focused on intergenerational communication. This interdisciplinary community-engaged course connected college students with older adults in the community through photography. She is currently working on her dissertation that examines the impact of COVID-19 on grief experiences of older women through a combined approach of narrative and photovoice. 

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson, PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies

Katelyn Johnson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Denver. Originally from Utah, Katelyn graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from William Jewell College before attending Texas Tech University to receive her Master of Arts degree in communications. Her research delves into digital rhetoric, algorithms, media and how these evolving communication technologies inform public discourse. Grounding herself in frameworks including materiality, decoloniality and intersectionality, Katelyn's research examines the formation of cultures, communities and identities in context of rising digital platforms including Twitch Tv, Netflix, Discord and Twitter. 

Adriana Socoski, PhD student in the Department of English & Literary Arts

Adriana Socoski is a poet, teacher and musician. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Yale Review. She was the recipient of the Bennett Poetry Prize and a Creative Writing Teaching Fellowship at Columbia University, where she earned her MFA. She holds a BM in Violin from the Juilliard School. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Denver.

Angela Gattuso

Angela Gattuso, PhD student in the Department of English & Literary Arts

Angela Gattuso is a third year PhD candidate on the literary studies track in the Department of English & Literary Arts. Her area of research is 19th-century American literature. This spring, Angela will begin her dissertation, Picturesque Portraiture, focused on select works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville and Henry James; in her dissertation Angela will study how these authors’ uses of portraiture act as another response (alongside and following the picturesque) to the representational dilemma between the real and ideal. Outside of her research, Angela enjoys exploring the mountains, creating her own pieces of art and making memories with her partner and stepson.

The Dean’s Office recognizes the extraordinary commitment and creativity from these PhD candidates and congratulates all the awardees!

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