Grad Students Recognized for Excellence in Research

April 21, 2010

Paige Miller and Laura Wray-Lake, both graduate students in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD), received Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Awards. These awards provide funding and recognition to outstanding full-time doctoral students who have passed their comprehensive exams and have received approval of the dissertation topic, or to M.F.A. students in their final year. They are considered to be among the most prestigious awards available to Penn State graduate students.

Paige Miller, doctoral candidate in Nutrition, received her award in the Life and Health Sciences category for her project titled “Dietary patterns, meat-derived carcinogen exposure, and colorectal cancer risk in northeast Pennsylvania.” She is advised by Dr. Terryl J. Hartman, associate professor of nutritional sciences. 

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected for a Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award,” says Miller. “Receiving this award provides me with confidence as I finish my dissertation, prepare for my upcoming defense, and plan for the next stage of my career. It also reminds me how fortunate I am to attend a great university that provides numerous opportunities, such as this scholarship, for its graduate students. I will forever be grateful to my adviser, Terry Hartman, because without her constant encouragement, mentorship, and support, winning this award would not have been possible.”

Laura Wray-Lake, doctoral candidate in Human Development and Family Studies, received her award in the Social Sciences–Applied and Basic category for her project titled “Value socialization processes between mothers and adolescents:  Links to adolescents’ social responsibility and health.” She is advised by Dr. Jennifer Maggs, associate professor of human development and family studies, and Dr. Constance Flanagan, professor of agricultural and extension education.

“I am thrilled and truly honored to receive this prestigious award,” says Wray-Lake. “My dissertation and other achievements are a reflection of my incredible mentors and colleagues. I am thankful to my department and the College of Health and Human Development for the excellent training program and collaborative environment they have cultivated.”

Dr. Neil Sharkey, associate dean for research and graduate education in HHD, commented on the awards: “I am very proud of Laura and Paige’s achievement. They carry on a tradition of excellence that has come to characterize graduate work in the College of Health and Human Development.  Our college is home to many gifted graduate students working in some of the most preeminent programs in the nation.  We are indeed fortunate to be surrounded by bright young scientists like Laura and Paige who contribute so much to our intellectual environment.”


Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or