Otto Graf and Jack Meiland Scholarships - Awards for academic excellence and/or interdisciplinarity.

Each year outstanding third-year Honors students are selected as recipients of the Otto Graf and Jack Meiland Scholarships. These awards honor the late Professors Otto Graf, who served as director of the Honors Program for eighteen years, and Jack Meiland, who championed interdisciplinarity in the Honors curriculum. Students must (1) exhibit a serious commitment to intellectual pursuits and show promise for continued academic success, (2) show evidence of exceptional depth and/or breadth in their studies, and (3) have co-curricular accomplishments that supplement their academic programs and demonstrate sustained commitment, leadership, and effectiveness.

Click on the buttons, below, for the Honors 2020 Graf-Meiland recipients' biographies and academic backgrounds.

Alyssa Cutter | Microbiology

Thesis: The Role of GIV in Breast Cancer Progression
Advisor: Dr. Gary Luker

Quote: This award has given me more confidence in myself as I navigate the completion of my thesis this fall. It shows me that the interdisciplinarity the Honors Program encouraged me to engage in has had positive impacts on my development as a student and future scientist.

Bio: Alyssa is a junior studying microbiology. When she isn't studying or working in the lab, she enjoys running outside, baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and playing trivia. She joined the Honors Program because of its diverse community united by students who love to learn for the sake of learning. This fall, Alyssa will be applying for PhD programs in immunology and she hopes to study autoimmune disorders, particularly in children.

Award|Why did you apply? I received the Otto Graf Scholarship. I chose to apply for the Graf-Meiland Scholarships because I wanted to practice applying for something where'd I have the chance to put my future goals into writing and talk about them to an interview panel. The scholarship is also giving me more financial flexibility heading into my senior year.



Max Hammer | Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology

Thesis: Investigating the Role of Caveolins in Esophageal Stem Cell Maintenance
Advisor: Kenneth Cadigan

Quote: I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from the Honors program. I did not consider myself as someone worthy of an award like this and would not have even applied if it were not for the encouragement of my mentors.

My mentors have also helped remind me to be reflective and to take time to enjoy where I am now. The time spent writing the essays and interviewing for this award facilitated my appreciation for the aspects of my college experience that I find joy in and that have brought me satisfaction. 

Bio: Max came to U-M with the primary goal of just getting into medical school, but has found so many other passions and worthwhile pursuits in his time here. He has been a competitive rock climber for years, and takes immense pride in having founded the Michigan Climbing Team, which is now an official club sport full of motivated students that he looks forward to coaching every week. Additionally, his studies in Molecular Biology have ignited his desire to pursue a joint MD PhD program, and have fueled his excitement for the work he does in the Spence lab where he investigates organ development and maintenance. Combining his love for climbing and medicine, he chose to become trained as a wilderness EMT and is now very happy to be working as a volunteer EMT at the Hope Medical Clinic in Ypsilanti. Lastly, his time at U-M has opened his eyes to the field of philosophy and he finds great satisfaction in the diversity of thought that biology and philosophy provides him.

Award|Why did you apply? Otto Graf Scholarship. I am very passionate about my research and sharing the knowledge I have gained with other people. I decided to apply after some encouragement from my mentors that my enthusiasm and love for learning would suit me well for this scholarship.


Catherine Garton | Psychology and Environmental Studies

Thesis: Perceived Moral High-Ground as a Mediator of Intellectual Humility

Quote: As I move toward my senior year, applying for the Graf-Meiland Scholarship gave me a chance to reflect on the disparate aspects of my college experience. I feel like it helped me trace the overarching bent of my interests and weave them into a cohesive narrative.

Bio: Catherine is a junior studying psychology and environmental studies. Her experience in political activism has made her passionate about bridging the partisan divide and improving civil discourse in society. She founded the U-M student chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby, which promotes bipartisanship in the climate movement. She also spent a semester working as a legislative intern for the Office of Senator Gary Peters as part of the Michigan in Washington program. For her Honors Thesis, Catherine is studying how moral reasoning impacts individuals’ intellectual humility and ability to cooperate. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing and competes for the Michigan Climbing Team.

Award|Why did you apply? Jack Meiland Scholarship. I chose to apply because I have enjoyed being part of the Honors community and taking part in previous Honors opportunities, and I was hopeful that this award was a good fit!


Sam Maves | Sociology; Biology, Health, and Society

Thesis: Education across borders: Student experiences in Michigan public school choice programs
Advisor: Professor Alford Young, Jr.

Quote: This was a very reflective process, which pushed me to think deeply about the work I've done and how I'd like to approach my work in the future.

Bio: Sam is a junior studying Sociology and Biology, Health, and Society. Sam has worked as a research assistant with PhD student Kimberly Hess (Sociology) on the representation of minority groups in US K-12 social studies education and with Professor Jonathan Levine (Urban & Regional Planning) on U-M commuting policies. Sam joined the Honors Program coming into U-M as a freshman and started working on his Honors thesis in Sociology over this past semester.

Award|Why did you apply? Otto Graf Scholarship. I was encouraged to apply.