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Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award 2020

This highly competitive award goes to two graduating students in a master's, MFA, JD, LLM, SJD, or PhD program. It recognizes sustained excellent academic record and exceptional academic success as exemplified by extraordinary publications, research, creative work, merit awards, or competitive selection for presentations at regional and national academic societies and conferences.

Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate level winner Linda Amarante

Linda Amarante

Hometown: Cheshire, Connecticut

Program/College: PhD in Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCaN), College of Arts & Sciences

Linda Amarante has distinguished herself throughout her participation in the Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCaN) PhD Program at American University and has already begun to make an impact on her field. She received a prestigious graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and her research proposal for that award ultimately led to her dissertation investigating the role of the medial and orbital frontal cortex on value-based decision making.

A highly productive scholar, Linda has been an author on seven manuscripts in peer-reviewed publications such as the Journal of Neuroscience, including three articles for which she was the first author. She has also presented at a wide range of international research conferences and has been active in leading discussions and sharing her work at events hosted by AU’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. A key member of the team running the Twitter OpenBehavior Project, Linda has promoted open source tools for behavioral neuroscience by showcasing them on Twitter.

Even as a busy doctoral student and researcher, Linda has dedicated herself to service both on campus and beyond. Within the AU community, she has been appointed to search committees and supported interview days for the doctoral program. Linda has also made exceptional contributions in Washington, DC through mentoring underserved children and teens through the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy—even receiving the Everyday Hero Award for her work in 2017.

When asked about the individuals who have contributed to her success, Linda said, “I would not be where I am today without the support and guidance from my advisor, Dr. Mark Laubach.” She also highlighted the top-notch neuroscience faculty at AU and many others working behind the scenes—including custodial staff, the CAS administrative team, and the shuttle bus drivers who helped her to get to and from campus each day.

2020 Graduate Scholarship winner Zachary Bauer

Zachary Bauer

Hometown: Farley, Iowa

Program/School: PhD in Public Administration, School of Public Affairs

Zachary Bauer is a May 2020 graduate of the PhD in Public Administration Program. He focused his dissertation on the role of public management in immigration enforcement, and his research has both theoretical and practical implications. He has already been an author on two articles published in top-ranked journals within the discipline: The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and Public Administration Review. Additional manuscripts centered on government-private sector collaborations are currently in the pipeline.

A recipient of AU’s Charles H. Levine Memorial Fellowship at the time of his admission to the program, Zach has since received other awards and honors outside of SPA. He was presented with the Special Act Award from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and was named the Founder’s Fellow of the American Society for Public Administration.

Zach has shared his dynamic research through an active conference agenda and has also contributed to a variety of technical reports—including one for the Department of Homeland Security on which he was the principal author. He counted having successfully taught an AU course in the fall semester of 2018 among his proudest accomplishments.

Upon receiving the Outstanding Scholarship at the Graduate Level Award, Zach said, “I couldn’t be more thankful for the mentorship and continued support from Dr. Jocelyn Johnston.” He also expressed his gratitude for the guidance provided by Dr. Khaldoun AbouAssi, Dr. Dave Marcotte, and the rest of the faculty in the Department of Public Administration and Policy.