Graduate Student Spotlight

The Office of Graduate Studies wants to recognize Humboldt State University’s outstanding graduate students. To nominate a graduate student for a graduate student spotlight, email

The McConkey Awards are given in Memory of Patricia McConkey and her many years of service to Graduate Studies, and to graduate students, at Humboldt State University.

The McConkey Award recipients are selected by the faculty of their graduate programs, in recognition of excellence in their fields. McConkey Award recipients graduate with distinction on their transcript and are recognized in their commencement program.

Karin Chao-Bushoven

Karin Chao-Bushoven
M.A. in Education

Thesis: "Why People Donate? Motivation in Major Donors in Higher Education"

Advisor: Dr. Libbi Miller- Chair for the School of Education


Aaron Foster

Aaron Foster

Thesis: "Effects of Spatial Language Cues on Attention and the Perception of Ambiguous Images"

Advisor: Dr. Kauyumari Sanchez- Associate Professor for Psychology


Lauren Elaine Proffitt

Lauren Elaine Proffitt
Masters in Public Sociology, Practicing Track

Thesis: "Humboldt County and Access to Technology: Examining Divides at the Start of a Pandemic"

Advisor: Dr. Josh Meisel- Professor for Sociology, Criminology, & Justice Studies


Wyeth Wunderlich

Wyeth Wunderlich
Environmental Systems Geology

Thesis: "Linking water resources in an upland catchment to downstream water demand in the agrarian town of Zurite, Peru"

Advisor: Dr Jasper Oshun- Assitant Professor for Geology

cherilyn paige

Cherilyn Paige Ashmead
M.S Forestry, Watershed, and Wildland Science

Thesis: "In flux: small town economic and community adaptations in a New American West"

Advisor: Dr. Erin Kelly- Associate Professor in Forestry & Wildland Resources


Carisse B. Geronimo

Carisse B. Geronimo

Environmental Systems: Energy Technology and Policy

Thesis: “Characterization of greenhouse gas emissions from storage of woody biomass: an incubation study”

Advisor: Dr. Sintana Vergara- Assistant Professor of Environmental Resources Engineering

Christopher Ramponi

Christopher Ramponi
MA in English-Applied English Studies emphasis

Thesis: "Reflections of an Impossible Ideal: Passion as the Will to Downfall in Madame Bovary"

Advisor: MA Project Director: Dr. Mary Ann Creadon; Second Reader: Dr. Natalie Giannini; Academic Advisor: Dr. Janet Winston

 Megan Rose AwwadMegan Rose Awwad
Environment and community

Thesis: "Retelling narratives of eco-memory: settler colonialism and carceral occupation of the Jordan River"

Advisor: Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy- Chair of Native American Studies