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Arnold School of Public Health

2024 Student Award Winners

The Arnold School is proud to announce the recipients of the 2024 Student Awards. With nominations from across all six departments, the school-level awards recognize the top master's student and top doctoral student. Each department honors students with awards based on the programs they offer. Congratulations to all of the award winners and nominees! Learn about the journeys of a few of these winners and other graduates with these stories.  

Arnold School Awards


Jeffrey Keith Mattison Outstanding Student Achievement Award - Brandi Daves

Brandi Daves

Brandi Daves had been working as a long-term substitute at her children’s elementary school when she began thinking about a career change. After seeing the positive impact of speech therapy on children in this environment, she was inspired to return to school to become a speech-language pathologist.

She enrolled with the Arnold School’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders as a student in the M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology – Residential program. Choosing the Auditory Verbal Therapy track, she’s maintained a 4.0 across her coursework and formed close relationships with the members of her cohort and faculty mentors.

During her program, she gained practical experience at the department’s Montgomery Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic (including extra time when students would typically be on break) elementary schools, hospital and private practice settings. Daves became most interested in working with children who have hearing loss and helping them learn to advance their listening and spoken language skills through technology (e.g., hearing aids, cochlear implants) and auditory verbal therapy.

After graduating in August, she plans to work with children in her local community – as both an early interventionist working with toddlers and preschoolers and with school-age children. She’s confident this is her best path because of the variety of experiences she had during her clinical rotations.

This award is presented each year to the master's level graduating student who best exemplifies the special characteristics of Jeffrey Keith Mattison, an epidemiology and biostatistics student who passed away early on during his program. To remember his life, initiative and motivation for work in public health, the Student Public Health Association (now the Dean’s Student Advisory Council) created the Jeffrey Keith Mattison Outstanding Student Achievement Award.  

Doctoral Student Achievement Award - Rajat Das Gupta

Rajat Das Gupta

A physician from Bangladesh, Rajat Das Gupta studied medicine as an undergraduate at the University of Dhaka and earned a Master of Public Health from BRAC University. During his master’s program, he was awarded a tropical diseases research fellowship at the World Health Organization in Switzerland, won the Allan Rosenfeld Award for best academic performance, the Sir Fazle Hasan Abed Award for Leadership, and the Vice Chancellor's Gold Medal.

He  then worked at the Centre of Excellence for the Science of Implementation and Scale-up at the BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health before enrolling in the Arnold School’s Ph.D. in Epidemiology program in 2019. At USC, Gupta developed expertise in several areas of epidemiology, including cancer, obesity, nutrition and cardiovascular disease. The Presidential Fellow won 10 major awards for research, service and diversity/social justice and has published an astounding 113 peer-reviewed papers in the past six years.

Committed to service, Gupta has mentored numerous students, honed his teaching skills and served in multiple editorial roles. He’s led the USC Graduate Student Association as president and vice president and led the Bangladesh Student Association as president as well. Across these achievements, Gupta has maintained a 4.0 during his time in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

After graduating later this year, he plans to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship to continue his training and research in chronic disease epidemiology. 

This award is presented to an outstanding doctoral candidate graduating from the Arnold School. Students are nominated by Arnold School faculty, and selection is based on academic performance and achievements as well as their potential for professional contribution.

Departmental Awards


Outstanding M.S. - Residential Student of the Year Award - Nadia Sabeh Ayon  
Outstanding M.S. - Distance Education Student of the Year Award - Lougen Ajlani

ENHS Ph.D. Student of the Year Award - 
Outstanding Environmental Microbiology Student - 
Outstanding Nanomaterials Science Student - 
Outstanding Oceans and Human Health Student - 
Outstanding Sustainable Farming Student - 
Outstanding Public Health Service Award - 
Outstanding Public Health Service Award -

Outstanding Epidemiology Doctoral Student - Maxwell Akonde 
Outstanding Epidemiology Master's Student Award - Katherine Brown
Outstanding Biostatistics Doctoral Student Award - 
Outstanding Biostatistics Master's Student Award - 

Read about this year's winners.

Outstanding B.S. in Exercise Science Student Award - Monica Ryan
Outstanding M.S. in Exercise Science Student Award - Stephanie Caldero
Outstanding MPH in Physical Activity and Public Health Student Award - Jenna Dzwierzynski
Outstanding M.S. in Advanced Athletic Training Student - Ashritha “Ash” Kota
Outstanding M.S. in Athletic Training Professional Program Student - Austin Coates
Outstanding Ph.D. in Exercise Science Student - Alexa J. Chandler
Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Outstanding Student Achievement Award-  Shawn Edmonds

Christopher Peter Aluah Outstanding Doctoral Student Award - Emily Hackworth
Master's Student of the Year Award - Erin Looney
Undergraduate Student Researcher Award - Riley O'Neal

Read about this year's winners.

Susie B. Yates Award - Peyton Moore
Foster G. McGaw Award - Rebecca Wiesehahn
Foster G. McGaw Award - Michael Mulligan
Foster G. McGaw Award - Madison Paternostro
Foster G. McGaw Award - Taylor Spritz
Michael E. and Sandra P. Samuels Distinguished Alumni Award - Brandon Hulko
Michael D. Jarrett Scholarship Award for Leadership Potential in Public Health Administration - Olivia Hinds 

Read about this year's winners

Outstanding Public Health Bachelor of Arts Award - Titi Abiodun
Outstanding Public Health Bachelor of Science Award -  Tyson Nanari
Outstanding Public Health Bachelor of Science Award - Jaimeen Shah


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