On April 20, the School of Arts & Sciences announced the winners of the David C. Evans Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship and the Creative Arts at its annual Honors Convocation. Associate Dean Benjamin Broening presented the awards.

The recipient of the David Evans Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship was Grace Conway, ‘18. Grace is a double major in chemistry and math who has conducted research in Dr. Mike Leopold’s lab for the past three years, where she has been working on developing a uric acid sensor for diagnosing women with pregnancy-induced hypertension. She has published her research in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and the Journal of Applied Electrochemistry, and was listed as first author on both articles. She was also recognized nationally as a Goldwater Scholar in 2017 and recently invited to join Phi Beta Kappa. 

In addition to her work in Dr. Leopold’s lab, Grace spent one summer in a highly competitive internship program in pediatric oncology education at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the first student from University of Richmond to be selected. Grace plans to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering. 

In recommending Grace for the Evans Award, Dr. Leopold said, “Grace has used her time to take full advantage of the classes, professors, research opportunities on and off campus, and study abroad to become a young woman capable of being a difference-maker in this world.” He went on to call her one of the most gifted and powerful academic achievers that he has taught. 

The award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship and the Creative Arts was presented to Solomon Quinn, a double major in math and physics and a minor in music. Solomon has conducted research in physics with Dr. Ted Bunn, where he examined the possibility of extracting multi-wavelength maps from single-filter observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation. He has also conducted research in math with Dr. Mike Kerckhove, where he formulated two original proofs of conjectures in game theory. He presented his research in Dr. Bunn’s lab at the American Astronomical Society meeting earlier this year. 

Beyond being a skilled scientist, Solomon was described by the music department as a technically proficient and expressive pianist, a superb chamber musician, and an inspiring figure for other students. He has performed at high profile campus events including President Crutcher’s inauguration, and spent two summers studying at the Aspen Music Festival. Solomon plans to continue his piano study while pursuing a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. 

In nominating Solomon, Dr. Bunn said, “In the classroom, Solomon operates on a qualitatively different level from the other students, and in the research lab, he shows remarkable independence and masters new concepts and techniques with ease.”

Piano professor Richard Becker, called him “an outstanding performer whose depth of interpretation and masterful communicative skill create performances that are simply beautiful to hear.” 

The David Evans Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Arts was presented to Elizabeth Montague, a visual media and arts practice major whose work includes digital animation, video, printmaking, photography, and graphic design. 

Elizabeth’s senior thesis, CyberBlackGirl, uses digital animation to explore a procession of small, daily decisions in the life of a black woman. Her work has been seen in publications like Digital America and The Messenger, and she has also done custom artwork for such organizations as TXTURE Magazine, Styled by Olivia, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and Studio BDC Co. She has worked as Creative Director of Osmosis Magazine, as a Graphic Designer for Forum Magazine, and in both the Digital Media Lab and the Harnett Museum of Art.

In addition to her creative and academic achievements, Elizabeth is a Division I athlete as a member of our Track and Field Team. She has already secured a position as Digital Design and Content Associate for the Aga Khan Foundation in Washington D.C. that she will begin after graduation.

In nominating Elizabeth, her mentor Professor Tanja Softic describes her work by saying, “Liz’s aim is to find the most direct, most precise, and most poignant way to visually and textually communicate ideas about race, gender, privilege, and awakening in a world in a state of flux.”

The David C. Evans Awards are named after former history professor and associate dean of Arts and Sciences David Evans. He was dedicated to expanding opportunities for students to engage in independent scholarship and creative work, and this award honors high performing students who have seized the sorts of opportunities that Evans worked so hard to create.