Standouts from the Class of 2010

An aerial view of one of four Letters and Science commencement ceremonies held on June 12-13, 2010. Photo by John Wiley.


An aerial view of one of four Letters and Science commencement ceremonies held on June 12-13, 2010. Photo by John Wiley.

During two days of ceremonies on June 12-13, the College of Letters and Science graduated over 4000 students. Completing the bachelor’s degree was a major achievement for all of these students, and the families and friends who cheered them on were justifiably proud. The Class of 2010 has some outstanding members who deserve special mention, including those who earned College Honors (as members of the Honors program); departmental honors (having written an honors thesis); or honors, high honors, or highest honors, for high overall GPAs. There are winners of departmental awards and prizes, University Service Awards, and University Awards of Distinction. Most of these awards are presented in ceremonies held in the last week of the spring quarter, but several awards honoring exceptional achievements are presented by the College deans or the Chancellor during the formal commencement ceremonies.


Chancellor Henry Yang presents the Storke Medal to Maxim Massenkoff, who also won the Luis Leal Social Science Award. Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara News-Press.

The Thomas More Storke Award for Excellence is given to the graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship and extraordinary service to the university, its students and the community. This year’s recipient, Maxim Massenkoff, had an outstanding academic record across a wide spectrum of disciplines, with a cumulative GPA of 3.98, including 21 A+s in a variety of disciplines. Maxim served as president of UCSB’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity for four years, and led volunteers to New Orleans to help rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He is an accomplished musician and composer; he played double bass with the UCSB symphony for four years, and, in his sophomore year, the symphony recorded his original composition, “Overture for Full Orchestra.” Maxim also played piano, guitar, and drums, often in drug-free, donation-only shows in Isla Vista.

Maxim also received the Luis Undergraduate Award, which recognizes outstanding interdisciplinary academic achievement of a student in the social sciences in honor of Don Luis Leal, a professor and National Medal of Humanities winner whose presence and scholarship greatly enriched the UCSB campus for many years. Maxim was recognized for several significant research projects in his major subject of economics, and also in anthropology.


Molly Quinn waits to receive the Reardon Award from Humanities and Fine Arts Dean David Marshall. Photo by John Wiley.

The Reardon Award, presented in 2010 to Molly Quinn, a double major in French and psychology, recognizes outstanding academic achievement in the arts or humanities. It honors Bill Reardon, professor emeritus of Dramatic Art and former Associate Dean in the College of Letters and Science. Molly was recognized for her honors thesis, written in French under the supervision of Professor Catherine Nesci, which combined her interests in psychology and literary studies. Focusing on melancholy and literature, she studied nostalgia as a clinical object of study in early 19th century psychiatry, and Baudelaire as a poet of urban modernity.


Matthew Rowley, winner of the 2010 Colville-Dearborn Award. Photo by Jan Adelson.

The Frances Colville and Terry Dearborn Memorial Award recognizes excellence in the mathematical, life, and physical sciences. This year's recipient, Matthew Rowley, graduated with a remarkable academic record in physics and biochemistry, a GPA of 3.99, and a large number of A+ grades and difficult science courses on his record. In his honors research project, he studied the thermodynamics of nanotubes, and brought a unique perspective to his research group. In recognition of his research, Matthew also received the Physic’s Department’s Arnold Nordsieck Memorial Award.

The Daniel G. Aldrich, Jr. Outstanding Senior Award recognizes outstanding scholarship and contributions to the campus community by a graduating senior. This year's recipient, Mark Myslín, had a double major in Spanish and sociocultural linguistics, graduated with Highest Honors, was a Regents Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. Mark's professors say that achieved a truly remarkable expertise in linguistics, earning A+ in every undergraduate course in both linguistics and in Spanish, and grades of A and A+ in several graduate-level courses. For many years, Mark mentored and tutored elementary school children, especially those learning English as a second language. He also taught introductory courses in linguistics and Spanish for the Upward Bound Program at the College of the Redwoods, a summer institute for low-income high-school graduates who will be first-generation college students.

Chancellor Henry Yang recognized the outstanding research of three graduates of the College:

  • Duc Trong Duong, a chemistry major who is already making important scientific contributions in both nanoscience and in the development of high-performance flexible solar cells.
  • Mark Myslín, a linguistics and Spanish double major who also received the Aldrich Award, for his a groundbreaking research paper on Czech-English code-switching – the use of more than one language in a single interaction.
  • Mackenzie Weinger, a history major, who discovered how America's first journalists both reported about the Mexican-American War and helped fashion American nationalism by stressing expansionism, unity, and progress. Her senior thesis, "‘Have You Any News?' How America's First Embedded Journalists Envisioned the United States, 1846-48," makes original contributions to the history of the war, the history of journalism, and the Civil War Era.

June 2010

News Date: 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010