School of Arts and Sciences Honors Convocation

David C. Evans Award winners announced

April 14, 2010

The University of Richmond’s School of Arts & Sciences announced the winners of the David C. Evans Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship and the Creative Arts at the School’s Honors Convocation on April 13.

Kathy Hoke, associate dean for research support, presented the awards. Political science professor Ellis West and political science and leadership studies major Maxwell Teschke, ’10, made the opening remarks about the value of pursuing a liberal arts education.

West, who is also a member of the Richmond College class of 1958, will retire this May after 42 years of teaching at Richmond. He spoke about the need for students to “get their act together A.S.A.P.”

West said that college was a time for students to “decide what kind of person they want to be, not just what kind of work they want to do.”

Jessica Clough and Amy Szerlong were awarded the David Evans Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative Arts.

Clough is a senior music major, who has served as the concertmistress of the University Orchestra since her freshman year, and played first violin in the Richmond String Quartet for the last three years. Clough performed a solo at the world premiere of the piece “ the forgotten dialect of autumn” by UR graduate Heather Stebbins at the Women’s Experimental Music Festival in New York in February. She also won the Music Department’s first ever “Nerves of Steel” award for her solo performance in front of 3,000 people at Richmond President Ed Ayers’ inauguration two years ago.  

Szerlong is a senior theatre major, who is also completing a minor in rhetoric and communication studies and a concentration in arts management. She designed the set for “The Pillowman” and directed the classic American one-acts “Trifles” and “If Men Played Cards as Women Do.” She also portrayed the fortuneteller in “Skin of Our Teeth,” and Smitty in “How to Succeed in Business.” Szerlong was elected president of the University Players this year and recently received the Lexicon Memorial Award, the Speech Center’s highest honor.

Matthew Der, Eric Van Epps, and Jordan Walter were awarded the David Evans Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Scholarship and Research.

Matt Der is a senior double major in mathematics and computer science, and is a Richmond Science Scholar. He won the national Goldwater Scholarship as a sophomore and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Der worked on a two-year mathematics research project with Professor Jim Davis through the National Science Foundation-sponsored LURE program, and is currently completing an honors thesis in computer science with Professor Barry Lawson. The mathematics research project resulted in a co-authored publication in the journal “IEEE Transactions of Information Theory.”  Next year, he will enter the Ph.D. program in computer science at the University of California, San Diego.

Eric Van Epps is a senior with a double major in psychology and leadership studies and is an Oldham Scholar. He was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Van Epps has been involved in research throughout his time at Richmond, beginning with Dr. Jeni Burnette in Psychology in his first year. He has worked collaboratively with three faculty members across three schools: A&S, Leadership and Business. He tied into his research his work with homeless individuals as a Burhans Civic Fellow. Next year, Van Epps will enter the Ph.D. program in Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jordan Walter is a senior with a double major in biology and philosophy. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. Walter has worked in the lab of Dr. Laura Runyen-Janecky for three years. His honors thesis in biology is the basis for a manuscript that will be submitted to the journal of “Infection and Immunity” this summer.  Next year, Jordan will enter the M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.