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Faculty & Staff Focus, Honors & Awards, Research, Science & Technology, Student Spotlight

LSU Names Distinguished Research Masters and Dissertation Awards

04/04/2012 09:03 AM

BATON ROUGE – LSU will name Suzanne L. Marchand and Kalliat T. Valsaraj Distinguished Research Masters on Thursday, April 19, at 2:30 p.m. at the LSU Faculty Club. James Weldon Long and Nathaniel Carson Gilbert will also be recognized as recipients of the annual Josephine A. Roberts Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and the LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award in Science, Engineering & Technology, respectively. The event is sponsored by LSU’s Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED.


Distinguished Research Master Recipients


Marchand, professor in the Department of History at LSU’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences, received her bachelor’s degree in history from Berkeley and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is author of “German Orientalism in the Age of Empire,” a title recently honored both by the American Historical Association’s prestigious George L. Mosse Prize and the American Library Association’s “Outstanding Academic Titles of 2010” list. In it, she 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.

Currently vice-president of the German Studies Association, where she 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.



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. He also currently serves as associate vice chancellor of ORED. Valsaraj received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Calicut in India. He went on to receive a master’s degree in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, India, then 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.

Valsaraj has published more than 180 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 25 book chapters and has presented his research at numerous conferences and invited presentations across the globe. 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.

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

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


Distinguished Dissertation Award Recipients




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, 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.

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. A committee of the graduate faculty selects the winning dissertations. Award recipients receive a monetary gift and a certificate of commendation.

LSU Research Communications