2022 Guentter Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award finalists, winner named


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries and the Schreyer Honors College recognized the 11th annual finalist presentations and winner of the recently endowed Robert F. Guentter Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award on Thursday, May 5, immediately following the three finalists’ presentations:

  • Robert F. Guentter Jr. Grand Prize winner: Chloe E. Mazer, biobehavioral health, College of Health and Human Development, for "A Mixed Method Review of Cognitive Decline in the Older Incarcerated Adult Population."
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis first runner-up: Ava Self, chemical engineering, College of Engineering, for “Two-Dimensional Materials for Cancer Therapy: Evaluation of Bare and Lipid-Functionalized Reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO) Biocompatability."
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis second runner-up: Edward J. Spagnuolo, geobiology, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, for "Decoding Family-Level Features for Modern and Fossil Leaves from Computer-Vision Heat Maps."

Mazer and Spagnuolo are Schreyer Honors Scholars who graduated from Penn State this past weekend. Self is a Scholar alumna who graduated in December 2021. An online recording of their presentations is available.

The University Libraries initiated the Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award to emphasize the importance of utilizing quality research methods and employing a thorough understanding of the legal and ethical issues related to the use of information — both key components of academic excellence. For Schreyer Scholars, Paterno Fellows and others for which a thesis is the capstone of their undergraduate experience, this competition recognizes the discerning inquiry and diligent research practices and documentation undertaken by the scholars in preparation for graduation.

Awards are given to three finalists with outstanding undergraduate theses that are grounded in quality research, as determined by a jury of librarians and other Penn State faculty. The Robert F. Guentter Jr. Grand Prize winner is awarded $1,250, second place is awarded $750, and third place is awarded $500.

The submissions process for the Robert F. Guentter Jr. Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award begins in January of each year. Students who have graduated in summer of the previous year or fall or spring of the current academic year are eligible to participate. The finalists’ theses and presentations are judged by a panel of Penn State faculty including several librarians. Details about the award are available on the University Libraries website.

For more information, contact Wendi Keeler at 814-863-5449 or wak109@psu.edu.


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