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, environmental, 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 practice prior 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