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Honors Graduates Receive Theses Awards from Library

The Marriott Library is proud to recognize the extraordinary work of two graduates in the Honors College –  Hailey Danielson and Isabel Fuller – for their exemplary senior theses. These recipients were selected from the pool of senior Honors College students who create theses projects prior to their graduation in the fields of humanities and general sciences. Danielson and Fuller were each presented with a $1,000 award on behalf of the library in recognition of their outstanding projects.

Hailey Danielson

Hailey is a double major in English and Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. She spent her time at the U serving as a photo journalist for The Daily Utah Chronicle and a tutor, now coordinator, at the University Writing Center.

Despite being a native of the quaint town of Pocatello, Idaho, Hailey Danielson’s University of Utah roots run generations deep. Her grandfather worked at the university and each of her parents graduated from the U, in fact Hailey is graduating almost exactly 30 years after her mom walked the same stage! Her roots may have been in Utah already but she felt that she was meant to attend the university only after she came on a tour with the Honors College when it really “felt right” to become a Ute.

Her journey to her thesis began with signing a contract for an Honors writing course that required her commitment to attend a 4:00 a.m. class! With the early morning behind her, the now finished project also serves as a book titled If I Should Die Before I Wake, mimicking the name of an 18th century children’s prayer. This contemporary romance follows two young people who’re struggling to find themselves, a concept that feels all too familiar as a college student herself. The young characters help one another “find their own answers and grow together” but don’t get too attached; Hailey warns it does not have a happy ending!

This is no children’s book though, the approximately 360-page project features models and designs of various elements in the book Hailey created by hand for a visual reference to the setting. She also conducted significant research to accurately understand and portray the medical conditions some of her characters exhibit. All in all, the almost 100 pages of supporting documents that her project features are a testament to the intense passion and extensive time Hailey devoted to her creation.

“My class built a community where we grow and could do scary things together, the U gave me the best community.”

To her, this was more than just another item on the checklist toward graduation, it was her achieving her goal to become an author. For the first time, Hailey states she felt, “the emotions and power of literature as the author, not just as the consumer.”  The whole process can be described as “bitter-sweet,” the first part referencing the sorrow she felt in finishing the book. “The book really writes itself,” Hailey explains. “I knew it had to have a heart-breaking ending, but when I got there, I cried my way through it.”

Working on this thesis turned book has adequately helped set Hailey up to successfully tackle her future. She reminisces on the 4:00 a.m. wake calls and how the overall thesis writing process refined her already good work-ethic and pushed her self-motivation to new heights. This intrinsic motivation will serve Hailey well as she moves on to work the graveyard shift at local television station KSTU following graduation.

And who knows, we may just see Hailey around campus again one day, as she aspires to earn a whopping three doctorate degrees!

Isabel (Izzy) Fuller

Izzy Fuller is the second award recipient representing the category of general sciences. She came to the U from her Wisconsin home to double major in Environmental and Sustainability Studies and Urban Ecology. She received a scholarship to the university but it was the Honors College that won her over. “I was looking for a small school feel,” she explains. “It was the Honors College that I knew could provide me this experience despite the U being a large university.”

Once at the U, Izzy dove in head-first, immersing herself in a number of opportunities to get the most out of her undergraduate education. She served as the Chair for the Honors Student Advisory Committee, worked at the Bennion Center with community partner Food Recovery Network and gardened in the Edible Campus Garden.

Izzy’s thesis, “Impact of “Landscape Lab” Green Infrastructure on Red Butte Creek Hydrologic Patterns,” unintentionally began at the start of her freshman year when she was enrolled in an environmental course. The class offered guest lecturers—one of whom was Dr. Hinner, her now thesis faculty supervisor. Intrigued by Dr. Hinner’s presentation, Izzy stayed after class to learn more about how she could get involved at the U’s Landscape Lab, an ecological revitalization project near Red Butte Creek that conceptualizes turning urban storm water into a resource. Before she knew it, Izzy was working in the lab and even wrote a grant for additional lab funding, which dovetailed into her thesis project. “It was a natural transition,” Izzy recalls. “I had no idea that this was going to turn into a thesis when I talked to the professor at the end of that class, but it just made sense.”

“This would have never happened without the solid mentoring from others on campus.”

Not only will her project earn her the distinction of an Honors College graduate, it will also serve as a valuable source of research for municipalities or other researchers who are interested in green infrastructure. Most existing urban stormwater studies are based in climates that experience high precipitation. Of course, the Landscape Lab is located here in Northern Utah so Izzy’s research is some of the first of its kind in featuring a semi-arid climate. Her work focuses on whether or not this is a sustainable and optimal path to continues down. Essentially, it will serve as a pilot to indicate if more Landscape Labs should be constructed as an efficient source of green infrastructure in obtaining stormwater.

Reflecting on the immense amount of time and effort she put into her project, Izzy admits that she was tempted to procrastinate thinking about how massive this endeavor in front of her was. What motivated her to tackle the thesis was considering the positive effects her research could have. “When I started focusing on something I really cared about, I became motivated to do the work. I really hope this is going to help other people, that it will do a lot of good,” Izzy confesses.

Ahead of Izzy lies big dreams and tremendous opportunity as she embarks on her post-college life. She has accepted an internship in sustainable agriculture in her home-state of Wisconsin for the summer. Beyond that, she aspires to study abroad in Europe, working in an urban planning program.

Izzy would like to thank Dr. Sarah Hinners for her mentorship and guidance through her college career.

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