University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Elizabeth Sander, Hannah Howard Prize Recipient

College of Arts and Sciences Hannah Howard Prize

The College of Arts and Sciences Dean's office is pleased to announce that this year's recipient of the Hannah Howard Prize is Elizabeth Sander.  The Hannah Howard Prize is awarded to an undergraduate student who has achieved the highest grade point average in the College while enrolled on a full-time basis.

Ms. Sander (Liz), from Proctor, Vermont, has a major in mathematics and a minor in biology.  She participated in an NSF-funded mathematics-biology program, a precursor to her post-graduation plans.  One of her statistics professors describes Liz as “an excellent student among the best undergraduate students I have had the privilege of teaching.  In addition to her strong performance in class, I have observed other characteristics of Liz that are particularly noteworthy: she is self-confident, seeks out research opportunities, sets high goals for herself, is willing to assume responsibility, and has a pleasant personality.”

Another professor says that “Liz is more than a good student.  It is fun to be around Liz.  She is upbeat and optimistic as well as being really bright and hard-working.  After my class, she wanted to take a class in statistics for which she did not have the formal prerequisites.  I vouched for her and she did really great in that class and is now heading off to graduate school in a program involving statistics.”

In her Honors thesis, "Sample-Size Dependency of Hill Numbers," Liz addressed the richness of various species of flora and fauna; that is, how many different species are found in a particular area and how prolific each species was.  With the annual extinction of many species worldwide, this type of investigation is very timely and important.  Her thesis defense committee members described her thesis and its presentation as "fantastic" and "amazing."  Liz is also the recipient of the Outstanding Senior in Mathematics award which is given annually to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding performance in mathematics.

The combination of mathematics and biology is a very powerful, interdisciplinary area of research and Liz will be at the heart of those activities as she pursues her next adventure of working for her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago in the fall.