Graduate Student Awards

Carl Tolman Prize

The Tolman Prize is awarded annually to a graduate student who has done an outstanding job as assistant to the instructor. Professor Tolman was a long-time professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. He also served as chancellor of WashU. As a geologist, Tolman conducted pioneering work on the geology of the Precambrian granitic rocks exposed in the St. Francois Mountains in southern Missouri. He was a caring and thoughtful teacher and mentor who was particularly interested in helping students achieve their career goals.

The winning graduate student is chosen by faculty, based on the recommendations of faculty and course evaluations. In accepting the award, the graduate student accepts the challenge to maintain the high academic standards set by Dr. Tolman. The Tolman Prize has been made possible as an endowed fund through the generous contributions from our alumni, friends, and family.


Outstanding Paper Award

The Graduate Student Outstanding Paper Award is bestowed to a graduate student who is the sole or first author of a peer-reviewed, published journal paper or book chapter that significantly advances our understanding of some key aspect of Earth, environment, and/or planetary sciences.

The awardee is chosen by faculty based on nominations by the student’s faculty mentor or by self-nomination by a graduate student. In the latter case, a letter of support for the nomination from the faculty mentor should accompany the student’s self-nomination letter. Nomination letters should detail the scientific content and perceived impact of the journal paper or book chapter in terms that would be understood by a wide range of Earth, environmental, and planetary scientists, i.e., a plain language summary required by many journals.

The award is given during an early fall departmental colloquium at the same time as the graduate student Carl Tolman Prize for excellent performance as an Assistant to the Instructor. The paper or book chapter publication date must be within the current year or the two calendar years preceding the award, and must be fully accepted for publication before July 1 of the year in which the award is given. The nominee must be a graduate student during the calendar year in which the nomination is presented. The award includes cash and a certificate acknowledging the publication’s impact.


Dean's Award for Graduate Research Excellence

The Dean's Award for Graduate Research Excellence recognizes outstanding achievements by graduate students in research and creative practiceprior to graduation from the program. Examples may include:

  • Being first author of a publication in a top-ranked journal
  • Leading a research or creative practice initiative that yields new conversations and possibilities for the student and the student's field
  • Leading innovative convergent research with colleagues across fields or research activity that bridges the academy and society

More details found here.

Past Winners

Past Tolman Prize Winners 

2022 Patrick Matulka 

2022 Christopher Yen 

2021  Nadia Sae-lim 

2020   Mattison Barickman 

2019   Andrea Goltz 

2018   Kelsey Prissel 

2017   Michael Bouchard 

2017   Melody Eimer 

2016   Michael Bouchard 

2015   Sarah Valencia 

2015   Teresa Wong 

2014   Ryan Nickerson 

2013   Margaret Anne Hinkle 

2012   Andrew Lloyd 

2011   Kun Wang 

2010   Chris Orth 

2009   Chris Orth 

2008   Erica Emery 

2008   Cynthia Fadem 

2007   Stephanie Novak 

2006   Katie Adelsberger 

2005   Robert Buchwaldt 

2005   Karyn Rogers 

2004   Dawn Cardace 

2003   Robert Buchwaldt 

2002   Dawn Cardace 

2002   Jeff Hanna 

2001   Brian White 

2000   Kathy Kitts 

2000   Stacey Robertson 

1999   Steve Hauck 

1998   Gavin Chan 

1998   Panjai Prapaipong 

1997   Gavin Chan 

1996   Jennifer Eakins 


Past Outstanding Paper Award Winners 

2022 John Christian 

2021  Zhen Tian 

Past Graduate Research Excellence Award Winners

2022 John Christian semifinalist