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The Hamand Society of Graduate Scholars

Named in honor of the first dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Lavern Hamand, the Hamand Society of Graduate Scholars recognizes degree-seeking candidates nominated from among each year's class of Distinguished Graduate Students whose achievements in both scholarship and service have had a documented impact on the discipline and the community. The quality and impact of the scholarship and service achievements of the Hamand Society Scholars reflect the highest ideals of the engaged graduate student.

The Hamand Society is supported with gifts from the Hamand children.

Dean Hamand was a professor of history at EIU from 1957 to 1982 and served as dean of the Graduate School from 1967 to 1974.

2014 Hamand Scholars

Alyssa Swan

Alyssa Swan, '14, Master of Science in Clinical Counseling

Alyssa completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. During her graduate studies at EIU, she completed 6 peer-reviewed publications that will be appearing in the Journal of Counseling in Illinois, International Journal of Play Therapy, Professional School Counseling, Eastern Illinois Journal, and Perspectives for Supervisors in Training. She completed 14 presentations of papers or posters. She earned multiple awards including the Williams Travel Grant, Graduate School Research Grant, Betty Wright Downing Scholarship, Mary Cralley Vaupel Award, and Knights Templar Award. Her leadership commitments include Mentor for the Graduate Network for Undergraduates, Chi Sigma Iiota Honor Society, and service to the Graduate Admissions Interview Team. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Angela Yoder.

Vaskar Nepal

Vaskar Nepal KC, '14, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

Vaskar completed a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Eastern Illinois University and Tribhuban University in Nepal. During his graduate studies at EIU he co-authored 4 peer-reviewed publications that are currently under review in the Native Plans Journal and Restoration Ecology. He completed multiple peer-reviewed presentations including presentation to the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference and Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society. He is the recipient of multiple awards including Williams Travel Grants, Graduate School Research Grants, Fenske Memorial Award, and Anderson Scholarship. He is active in 5 discipline societies including the American Fisheries Society, the Illinois Fisheries Society, and the Phi Sigma Biological Sciences Honorary Society. His faculty mentor was Dr. Rob Colombo.

2013 Hamand Scholars

sharon kim

Sharon Kim, '13, Master of Science in School Counseling

 Sharon completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Illinois. During her graduate studies at EIU she published a peer-reviewed article, co-authored four grants, completed three peer-reviewed presentations, and served as a participant in two experimental studies. Contributions and leadership to five EIU committees are examples that highlight her extensive service record. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Heidi Larsen.

jessica mcdonald

Jessica McDonald, '13, Master of Arts in Communication Studies

 Jessica completed her bachelor’s degree in communications and culture at Indiana University. During her graduate studies at EIU, she presented four peer-reviewed conference presentations, three guest lectures, and three department research presentations. She earned a Williams Travel Grant and Department Travel Grant to support her work. Leadership on the Executive Board of the Graduate Student Advisory Board and the Study Abroad Society are examples of her extensive service record. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Matthew Gill. 


cassi moody

Cassi Moody, '13, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

 Cassi completed her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Eastern Illinois University. During her tenure  in the graduate program she completed eight presentations at professional meetings as author or co-author. She was the recipient of the Williams Travel Grant, Graduate Student Investigator Award, the Graduate School Research Grant, and the Illinois Fisheries Society Student Research Grant. Service contributions to committees of the American Fisheries Society are among her regional and state service commitments. Her faculty mentor was Dr. Robert Colombo



2012 Hamand Scholar

anthony porreca

Anthony Porreca, '12, Master of Science in Biological Sciences

 Anthony is pursuing his doctoral studies at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.



2011 Hamand Scholars

andrew durso

Andrew Durso, '11, Master of Science in Biological Sciences


Andrew is pursuing doctoral studies at Utah State university in Logan, working with Dr. Alan Savitzky on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of toad-eating snakes. In the summer of 2012 he will teach the course, Biodiversity of Utah.

dominic morais

Dominic Morais, '11, Master of Science in Kinesiology and Sports Studies


Dominic is enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Sports Studies Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin where he he studying physical culture, specifically the Iron Game. He received a William C. Powers Graduate Fellowship and recently had an article accepted in Iron Game History.

justin schuch

Justin Schuch, '11, Master of Science in College Student Affairs


Justin works full-time at Southern Illinois University Carbondale as Hall Director, overseeing Bowyer, Brown, Felts, and Steagall Halls, and advising the Residence Association on campus. He is working to obtain the needed experience before starting a terminal degree program in higher education.