Department of English

Two English Department Seniors Named Dean's Distinguished Graduates

Thu, April 2, 2009

Every year the College of Liberal Arts names twelve Dean’s Distinguished Graduates on the basis of high achievements in scholarship, leadership, and service to the college. To date, 345 Dean’s Distinguished Graduates have been so honored. In keeping with previous Dean’s Distinguished Graduates, the college anticipates that the current group will excel both inside and outside of the classroom. They will often be honors students or those who have undertaken extensive undergraduate research projects. Others will be active in leadership positions either in the college, university, or community. Whatever their specific achievements, these are students who best represent the academic and service ideals of the college.

This year, the English Department nominated two undergraduates for this honor: Daniel Dawer and Ari Schulman.  Both were selected as Dean's Distinguished Graduates based on their high levels of achievement.

Ari Schulman
Ari is a double major in Honors English and Honors Computer Science, and he has excelled in both subjects.  His Computer Science research is about developing a new style of database programming that is easier for programmers to work with and maintain.  His English thesis explores the novel The Moviegoer by Walker Percy in the context of the work of philosophers Alasdair MacIntyre and Soren Kierkegaard, and attempts to ascertain what the novel can teach about the relationship between narrative structure and aesthetics.  He has started two websites: the Austin Map Project, an early geotagging site exclusive to Austin; and ClassPoint, which is a free course planning, discussion, and review site that serves 3000 students at UT and A&M. 

Ari writes short stories in his free time, one of which was published in Analecta and another of which won an award in the Burleson Writing Contest for Undergraduate Fiction.  This past fall he was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship.  This past summer Ari interned for The New Atlantis, a journal in Washington, DC, that explores the ethics of emerging technologies.  His article "Why Minds Are Not Like Computers," which explores the abuse of computer terminology in discussions about artificial intelligence, was published in their most recent issue.  He has continued working for them in absentia as Assistant Editor, and while he's not sure of his plans post-graduation, his hope is to go work for them full-time. 

Daniel Dawer
Daniel Dawer, a double major in Plan II Honors and English Honors with a stellar GPA, taught middle school English for two summers with the Breakthrough Collaborative in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In his second summer, he chaired the English department and designed curricula for eighth and seventh grade students.  Daniel currently tutors ninth grade students in algebra and geometry at KIPP Austin Collegiate High School and mentors a fifth grader through Big Brothers Big Sisters at KIPP Austin College Prep Middle School.

His honors thesis, entitled “‘Space: what you damn well have to see’: Psychogeography and Urban Instability in James Joyce’s Ulysses” interprets the urban space of Ulysses through the lens of the Situationist International, a group of avant-garde urban theorists. He traveled to Dublin, Ireland, this winter to conduct archival research as well as fieldwork for the design of an interactive map of an episode of Ulysses.

Daniel has received two Endowed Presidential Scholarships as well as an Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a Plan II Thesis grant to fund his travel to Dublin. For his service with Breakthrough, he received a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Additionally, he has placed first in three writing contests: the 2007 and 2008 Worthington Essay Contests and the English department’s Burleson Writing Contest in Literary Criticism.   Additionally, Daniel has had a paper accepted to the 2009 North American James Joyce Conference in Buffalo, New York, to be presented this June.

After graduation, Daniel will study for a Master of Arts in Teaching and plans to teach English in a high-need urban public middle or high school immediately after. 

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