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Outstanding undergraduates, graduate students selected as Gant scholars
By Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu - June 20, 1997

Two graduate students and one undergraduate have been selected as this year's Gant Scholars.

Julia McQuillan, a doctoral candidate in sociology, and Kam Wing Tang, a doctoral student in oceanography, are the two graduate winners.

McQuillan is writing a doctoral dissertation on perceptions of equity in the household division of labor of two-earner married couples. She has published four articles and written two more for publication.

"She is an exceptionally productive researcher already who shows great promise for an outstanding career as a scholar and teacher," says Myra Marx Ferree, a professor of sociology and women's studies. "I predict she will be one of the leading new scholars in the sociology of gender and family in the coming decade."

While a graduate student, McQuillan has worked as a consultant for a study of pay equity at the UConn Health Center and served as project manager for a National Science Foundation-sponsored international study of media coverage of abortion issues. As a teaching assistant for graduate statistics seminars, she earned recognition among students and faculty for her ability to clearly explain complex issues and for helping students to see quantitative methods as fun.

Tang is writing a doctoral dissertation on the effect a sulfur compound produced by marine plant life has on microscopic marine organisms - a topic that has applications for the study of climate.

While still a candidate for a master's degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tang published two papers. In his first two years at UConn, he has written two further manuscripts for publication and has presented his findings at the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.

"Kam Tang has not only demonstrated considerable academic excellence already, but he is likely to become a leader in the field of biological oceanography," says Hans Dam, an associate professor of marine sciences. "Usually one finds students who excel either in theory or in experimental work. Kam is that rare student who can do both."

Tang also has written a guidebook for foreign students in the United States, and has helped organize an academic seminar series for the marine sciences department. He is known for his concern for humanitarian causes in developing countries and has worked with the YMCA on educational projects for children.

Kandree Hicks, a rising senior majoring in Spanish and cultural politics, is this year's undergraduate Gant Scholar.

Hicks has a history of academic achievement. A graduate of Brien McMahon High School, in 1994 she won one of 25 four-year Leadership Scholarships to UConn. Last fall she was named a University Scholar, the highest academic honor for undergraduates.

As University Scholar, she will pursue a study of the multiple cultures associated with African and Latin peoples in America. The project she designed will combine ethnography, political science, psychology, sociology and foreign languages. Hicks also will travel to Ecuador for a semester of anthropological and linguistic study.

"She is a true scholar in every sense of the word," says Kathy Usher, director of the scholarship office. "A young woman with clear professional goals, she aspires to be a 'mover and shaker' of policies affecting African and Latin Americans."

Hicks is a member of the University's African-American Advisory Board and education chairperson of its Black Student Association, and participates in the University's Voices of Freedom Gospel Choir. She also has assisted in recruiting talented high school students to the University.

The Gant Scholarships, named for Edward V. Gant, a former provost and professor of civil engineering, are open to students from all the schools and colleges of the University. They are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, professional potential, dedicated service and personal integrity.