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  September 4, 2001

Three Outstanding Students
Recognized as Gant Scholars

A graduate student in linguistics described as "brilliant" is one of three students named as recipients of the 2001 Edward V. Gant Scholarships.

Academic excellence, professional potential, dedicated service and exemplary integrity are the criteria for the annual $1,500 award. The students selected this year are: Cedric Boeckx, a Ph.D. candidate in linguistics; Irene Choi, an accounting major; and Jessica Bean, a senior pursuing two degrees - one in psycholinguistics and one in Chinese language studies through the Individualized Major Program.

Boeckx, who defended his dissertation earlier this month, specializes in syntax. In addition, he has published or presented papers in semantics, morphology and psycholinguistics.

He has also conducted research in phonology and philosophy of language.

During his four years as a graduate student, Boeckx has published, or has in press, 42 papers, has presented at 32 refereed conferences, and has given 13 invited talks and lectures.

"He can easily become the leader of the whole field of linguistics," says Zeljko Boskovic, an associate professor of linguistics who is Boeckx's major advisor. "I do not think that our field has ever witnessed such a level of productivity at his stage of the career," he says.

Boeckx is also known for his willingness to help others. He is always ready to drop what he is doing to help his fellow students, Boskovic says. "He helps his fellow students with their research and assignments as much as any of our faculty."

Before coming to UConn, Boeckx graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Germanic Philology from Facultes Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix in Namur, Belgium, and earned a master's degree in Germanic Philology from the Universitie Catholique de Louvain in Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium.

This fall, he joins the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne as a visiting professor of linguistics.

Choi, who plans to graduate this year, recently completed a co-op program at PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Professor Katherine A. Pancak says Choi has "exceptional professional potential." Pancak, an associate professor of business at the Stamford campus and associate director of the Center for Real Estate, knows Choi as a student in her business finance class and as a technical teaching assistant in her graduate real estate class.

"She was one of the top undergraduate students at the Stamford campus," Pancak says.

Choi, who is minoring in international studies, worked with Pancak as a teaching assistant in an experimental Internet-based online graduate course last summer, where she helped develop online course material and handled student questions about the technology. "Throughout the course, she was diligent, reliable and intuitively clever at deciphering and then solving software and Internet issues," Pancak says.

Bean, an honors student, excels academically in all areas - from enhanced calculus, psychology, and linguistics, to advanced Chinese, says Jennie Talbot, director of the individualized major program. Bean has been accepted to study at the School for Foreign Students at Beijing University in China next year.

Last summer she pursued research that links her major in psycholinguist ics and Chinese language studies. She tested the hypothesis that the language one speaks as a native tongue can affect the way one thinks. She studied native speakers of American English and Mandarin Chinese.

Bean has been active in the university community. She has worked for the International Teaching Assistant program, tutoring Chinese graduate students in English, and has volunteered with the America Reads Program as an ESL Literacy Volunteer.

The Edward Victor Gant Scholarship is a gift of the Board of Trustees and the family and friends of Edward V. Gant, former provost, who served as the University's acting president for brief periods in the 1960s and '70s.

Sherry Fisher

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