Student Spotlight

Susan Jean

History Graduate
Wins Prestigious Fellowship

Former CLAS student Susan Jean received a 2001 Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. Jean, a May 2000 history graduate, was one of 85 winners of the competitive merit awards for first-year doctoral students. She started classes at Columbia University this fall and is pursuing her master's degree and PhD in history.

Mellon Fellowships are designed for exceptionally promising students as they prepare for careers of teaching and scholarship in humanistic disciplines. The fellowships provide graduate tuition and required fees for the first academic year and include a stipend of $15,000. More than 1,700 fellows have been named since the competition began in 1982.

Jean participated in UF's University Scholars Program (USP), a research program in which undergraduates work one-on-one with a UF faculty member. She earned the Best Qualitative Research Paper award at the 1999-2000 USP Symposium with "When the Very Best Citizens Were Murderers: The Discourse of Lynchings in Florida." Her work evaluated the way newspapers portrayed lynchings by white southerners and the impact the coverage had on how society understands those lynchings today. In addition, this topic served as her history honors thesis, and Jean was awarded the prize for the best graduating history major. She also graduated with highest honors and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, an honorary scholastic society.

History Chair Fitz Brundage served as Jean's advisor and says her record in history at UF is one of the most distinguished in recent memory. "She has been one of the most rewarding students--graduate or undergraduate--that I have worked with. It has been an uncommon privilege to watch her career unfold."

Jean hopes to finish her PhD within six years and would like to teach history at the university level. "I would love to come back and teach in an environment like the University of Florida," she says. "It is a great place, and I will miss it."

Visit for more information about the Mellon Fellowships and the application process.

Brian Dassler

English Graduate
is Student of the Year

Last April Brian Dassler was selected as the 2001 Florida College Student of the Year by Florida Leader magazine. The Gainesville-based magazine awarded Dassler, an English major, the honor during a ceremony in Tallahassee. The awards program recognizes students who support themselves through college, excel academically and are involved in community service and political activism. It has honored Florida's most outstanding campus leaders with nearly $50,000 in scholarships and prizes for the last 14 years.

Dassler has spent the majority of his college career educating students, parents and communities at large about the disadvantages minority students face within the Florida educational system. He is a member of the Admissions Task Force, the Affirmative Action Council and the Minority Affairs Task Force at UF. Perhaps Dassler's most distinctive achievement was his appointment by the late Governor Lawton Chiles to Florida's Postsecondary Education Planning Commission in 1998. During his year-long term, Dassler attended monthly meetings on campuses across the state and presented workshops to student groups on higher education issues.

Dassler is pursuing a master's degree in secondary education through the ProTeach program at UF, and he plans to teach high-school English in South Florida when he graduates next year.

--Allyson A. Beutke

Jane Dominguez

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