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LSU awards Distinguished Research Masters

In recognition of exceptional achievements in research and scholarship, the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED, presents the Distinguished Research Masters Awards each year. Two faculty members are selected as Distinguished Research Masters, and the LSU Alumni Association and the LSU Graduate School recognize two graduate students with the Distinguished Dissertation Award. Both awards honor recipients for their efforts in the arts and sciences.

Suzanne Marchand
Suzanne Marchand

Kallait T. Valsaraj
Kallait T. Valsaraj

Nathaniel Carson Gilbert, James Weldon Long
James Weldon Long, Nathaniel Carson Gilbert
Eddy Perez/University Relations

This spring, Suzanne Marchand and Kalliat Valsaraj were both recognized as Distinguished Research Masters, and graduate students James Weldon Long and Nathaniel Carson Gilbert were presented with Distinguished Dissertation Awards.

Suzanne Marchand - Distinguished Research Master

Marchand, a professor in the Department of History in LSU's College of Humanities & Social Sciences, received her bachelor's degree in history from University of California, Berkeley and a master's and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

"It is a great privilege to teach at LSU and a delight to be honored for doing the research and teaching I love," said Marchand. "What I have accomplished here has been made possible by the continuous support of my colleagues, department chairs and deans, as well as the staff of the College of Humanities & Social Science and by the amazing staff at Middleton's interlibrary loan department. I have also been inspired over the years by a decade and more of great LSU undergrads and grad students, and I am looking forward to teaching more wonderful students in the years to come."

She is author of "German Orientalism in the Age of Empire," which, in 2010, was honored by both the American Historical Association and the American Library Association, as her work received the George L. Mosse Prize and was named as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles of 2010." The book challenges Edward Said's influential theory that modern studies of the Orient are all rooted in Western imperial hubris.

Marchand is also the author of "Down from Olympus: Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970," and is co-author or editor of "Proof and Persuasion: Essays on Authority, Objectivity;" "Evidence; Worlds Together, Worlds Apart;" and "Germany at the Fin de Siècle," as well as approximately 40 articles and book chapters.

"Sue is not only frequently honored but constantly asked to participate in various conferences around the country and in Europe," said Dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences Gaines Foster. "In addition to being an internationally respected scholar, Sue is a dedicated teacher; she is particularly skilled in training graduate students, and if all that were not enough, she is an ideal university citizen and wonderful colleague."

Marchand is currently vice-president of the German Studies Association and will serve as president in 2013-14. Marchand also serves on the American Historical Association's Committee on Committees and is the first U.S. representative on the German History executive board. She has also previously been selected as an LSU Rainmaker; received a prestigious summer fellowship at Collegium Budapest; received an American Council of Learned Societies, or ACLS, Burkhardt Fellowship for associate professors; and received many other honors, fellowships and awards within her field.

Kallait T. Valsaraj - Distinguished Research Master

Valsaraj currently holds several honorific titles, including the Ike East Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Charles and Hilda Roddey Distinguished Professor in Chemical Engineering, both within LSU's College of Engineering. In addition, he serves as associate vice chancellor of ORED. Valsaraj received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Calicut in India. Continuing his studies, Valsaraj went on to receive a master's degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, and he completed his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. Prior to his administrative role at ORED, Valsaraj served as chair in the Cain Department of Chemical Engineering at LSU.

About the Distinguished Research Masters awards:

Since 1972, the LSU Council on Research has proudly presented the Distinguished Research Master awards in recognition of outstanding faculty achievements in research and scholarship. Nominations are open to the university community, and the council chooses recipients from a list of deserving nominees proposed each December.  Nominations are made in the categories of engineering, science and technology; and the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The Distinguished Research Master Award recipients receive a salary stipend and the University Medal – the symbol of exceptional academic accomplishment at LSU.

About the Distinguished Dissertation Awards:


The LSU Alumni Association and the Graduate School sponsor the Distinguished Dissertation Awards, presented annually since 1983. The awards, also representing two categories, are given to doctoral students whose research and writing demonstrate superior scholarship.

Graduates at any of the three commencements in a calendar year are eligible for nomination for the Distinguished Dissertation Awards. A committee of the graduate faculty selects the winning dissertations. Award recipients receive a monetary gift and a certificate of commendation.

"I feel truly honored and humbled by the recognition from my own peers at LSU," Valsaraj said. "I am extremely proud of the achievements of all of my students, post-doctoral researchers and co-investigators who have made this possible for me. LSU is a great place for research, and I feel blessed to be associated with this University."

Valsaraj has published more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 25 book chapters and has presented his research at numerous conferences across the globe. Additionally, he has published three solutions manuals and five books, including three editions of "Elements of Environmental Engineering: Thermodynamics and Kinetics," along with "Atmospheric Aerosols: Characterization, Chemistry and Modeling," and "Photocatalytic Reaction with Inverse Opal Catalyst: A Method to Solve Air Pollution via Photocatalysis." He is responsible for a number of high-profile research grants, and counts among his honors being named a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, among others.

James Weldon Long - Josephine A. Roberts Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

James Weldon Long was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. In May 2004, he graduated from the Honors Program of St. Mary's University in San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, after writing a senior thesis on Thomas Pynchon's classic postmodern novel "Gravity's Rainbow." He received a Master of Arts degree in English from LSU's College of Humanities & Social Sciences in May of 2006, completing a master's thesis on the works of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad.

Long's dissertation explores the transformation of United States-Latin American relations in the 19th century shortly before the Mexican War. He draws from a variety of sources to create a persuasive and insightful account of this critical period of history. His research on this subject has already resulted in four published essays in scholarly journals. It should make an important contribution to reassessment of U.S. cultural history.

Nathaniel Carson Gilbert - LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Science, Engineering & Technology

Nathaniel Carson Gilbert, native of Monroe, La., received his bachelor's degree from LSU in 2006. He then joined the lab of Marcia Newcomer, professor of biological sciences, in LSU's College of Science. Gilbert's dissertation describes the enzyme involved in the inflammatory response, which mediates the human body's protection from pathogens. His work included the crystallographic structural refinement of the molecule as well as the biological effects. Two major papers result from his research, one in Science and one in Science Translational Medicine. His discoveries hold great promise for their impact on future studies of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Gilbert is now a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt, where he is conducting research on the EP3 receptor.

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