Each year, the Spriestersbach Prize winners become the University of Iowa's nominees for the Council of Graduate Schools/University Microfilms International Distinguished Dissertation Award. This national award is the most prestigious dissertation prize in the country.

Iowa has five national winners, more than any public institution. Fifteen more Iowa nominees have been finalists in the competition.

2023 Winners

  • Andrew Voigt, Biomedical Science (Molecular Medicine)
    Robert Mullins and Todd Scheetz, Dissertation Co-Advisors
    Molecular Analysis of the Human Retina and Choroid at the Single Cell Level
  • George Rozsa, American Studies
    Stephen Warren , Dissertation Advisor
    The Nevada Movement: Trans-Indigenous Anti-Nuclear Solidarity at the End of the Cold War

2022 Winners

  • Darcy Diesburg, Psychological and Brain Sciences
    Jan Wessel, Dissertation Advisor
    Conceptualizing Mechanisms of Human Movement Cancellation within a Pause-then-Cancel Model of Motor Inhibition
  • Stephen McMillan, Physics and Astronomy
    Michael Flatté , Dissertation Advisor
    Spin-Selective Transport in Semi-Conductor Spintronics and Single-Defect Quantum Technology

2021 Winners

  • Darcy Metcalfe, Religious Studies
    Diana Fritz Cates, Dissertation Advisor
    Ethics of the Inheritable Genetic Modification of Human Embryos via CRISPR Technology: Pauli Murray and the Institutionalized Control of Black Women's Reproductive Lives
  • Benton Purnell, Neuroscience
    Gordon Buchanan, Dissertation Advisor
    The Effect of Time-of-Day and Circadian Phase on Breathing and Vulnerability to Seizure-Induced Respiratory Amest and Death

2020 Winners

  • Alaine Reschke-Hernandez, Music Therapy
    Kate Gfeller and Daniel Tranel, Dissertation Advisors
    A Clinical Practice Model of Music Therapy to Address Psychosocial Functioning for Persons with Dementia: Model Development and Randomized Clinical Crossover Trial
  • Brett Bahle, Psychological and Brain Sciences
    Andrew Hollingworth, Dissertation Advisor
    The Architecture of the Priority Map Used to Guide Visual Attention
  • Samuel Brensinger, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences
    Vincent Rodgers, Dissertation Advisor
    Projective Gauge Gravity

2019 Winners

  • Rajula Elango, Integrated Biology
    Anna Malkova, Dissertation Advisor
    Break-induced Replication Repair Pathway Promotes Mutagenesis and Genomic Instability in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae
  • Stefan Schöberlein, English
    Ed Folsom, Dissertation Advisor
    Cerebral Imaginaries: Brains and Literature in the Transatlantic Sphere, 1800-1880
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist

2018 Winners

  • Emily Kroska, Psychology
    Michael O'Hara, Dissertation Advisor
    How Much is Enough in brief Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?
  • Greg Ongie, Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences
    Mathews Jacob, Dissertation Advisor
    Off-the-grid Compressive Imaging

2017 Winners

  • Viral Shah, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Michael Welsh, Dissertation Advisor
    Mechanisms of Acid and Base Secretion: Implications for Airway Host Defense in Cystic Fibrosis
  • John Eicher, History
    H. Glenn Penny, Dissertation Advisor
    Now Too Much for Us: German and Mennonite Transnationalisms, 1874–1944

2016 Winner

  • Efthymia (Effie) Kapnoula, Psychology
    Bob McMurray, Dissertation Advisor
    Individual Differences in Speech Perception: Sources, Functions, and Consequences of Phoneme Categorization Gradiency

2015 Winners

  • Erin Peters, Art History
    Brenda Longfellow, Dissertation Advisor
    Egypt in Empire: Augustan Temple Art and Architecture at Karnak, Philae, Kalabsha, Dendur, and Alexandria
  • Karen Thompson, Biology
    Bernd Fritzsch, Dissertation Advisor
    Ear Manipulations Help Model Neuroplasticity Limitations

2014 Winners

  • Aaron Buss, Psychology
    John Spencer, Dissertation Advisor
    Closing the Development Loop on the Neurocognitive Dynamics of Task Switching
  • David Gaebler, Mathematics
    Paul Muhly, Dissertation Advisor
    Unital Dilations of Completely Positive Semigroups

2013 Winners

  • Melissa Moreton, History
    Constance A. Berman, Dissertation Advisor
    'Scritto di bellissima lettera': Nuns’ Book Production in Fifteenth and Sixteenth-Century Italy
  • Daniel Mohr Collier, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Peter M. Snyder, Dissertation Advisor
    Regulation of Epithelial Sodium Channel (Enac) Activity by Extracellular Stimuli

2012 Winners

  • Fabian Aurelio Soto, Psychology
    Ed Wasserman, Dissertation Advisor
    Developing and Testing A Common Elements Theory of Object Categorization Learning by Pigeons
  • Jacob Matthias Elkins, Biomedical Engineering
    Joseph Reinhardt, Dissertation Advisor
    Biomechanics of Failure Modalities in Total Hip Arthroplasty
    Also, CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist

2011 Winners

  • David Riep, Art History
    Christopher D. Roy, Dissertation Advisor
    House of the Crocodile: South Sotho Art and History in Southern Africa
  • Megan Ealy, Genetics
    Richard Smith, Dissertation Advisor
    Otosclerosis – Identifying Genetic Contributors to a Complex Hearing Disorder

2010 Winners

  • Vanessa R. Simmering, Psychology
    John P. Spencer, Dissertation Advisor
    Developing a Magic Number: The Dynamic Field Theory Reveals Why Visual Working Memory Capacity Estimates Differ Across Tasks and Development
    Also, CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist
  • Amrit De, Physics
    Craig E. Pryor, Dissertation Advisor
    Spin Dynamics and Opto-Electronic Properties of Some Novel Semiconductor Systems

2009 Winners

  • Adam Ziemann, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Michael Welsh, Dissertation Supervisor
    Effects of Low pH on Seizures and Fear: A Critical Role for Acid-Sensing Ion Channels
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist
  • Samuel Graber, American Studies
    John Raeburn, Dissertation Supervisor
    Twice-Divided Nation: The Civil War and National Memory in the Transatlantic World

2008 Winners

  • Jessica Horst, Psychology
    Larissa K. Samuelson, Dissertation Supervisor
    Turning Novel Names into Known Names: Understanding Referent Selection and Retention in 24-Month-Old Children and Neural Networks
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Winner
  • Veronique Ziegler, Physics and Astronomy
    Usha Mallik, Dissertation Supervisor
    Hyperon and Hyperon Resonance Properties from Charm Baryon Decay at BaBar

2007 Winners

  • Michael Chasar, English
    Adalaide Morris, Dissertation Supervisor
    Everyday Reading: US Poetry and Popular Culture, 1880-1945
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Winner
  • Michael R. Koenigs, Neuroscience
    Daniel Tranel, Dissertation Supervisor
    A Novel Role for Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex in Emotion and Decision-Making: Lesion Studies of Moral Judgment, Economic Choice and Brand Preference

2006 Winners

  • Marius V. Ionescu, Mathematics
    Paul Muhly, Dissertation Supervisor
    C*-Algebras Associated with Mauldin-Williams Graphs
  • Katherine B. Dernbach, Anthropology
    Mac Marshall, Dissertation Supervisor
    Popular Religion: A Cultural and Historical Study of Catholicism and Spirit Possession in Chuuk, Micronesia

2005 Winners

  • Kristin King Gilbert, Art History
    Dorothy Johnson, Dissertation Supervisor
    Pedagogical Innovation and Reform at the Académie de France à Rome during the Directorate of Charles Joseph Natoire (1752-1775)
  • Salil Anil Lachke, Biological Sciences
    David Soll, Dissertation Supervisor
    Developmental Biology of "Candida Albicans" and "Candida Glabrata" and Its Clinical Significance

2004 Winners

  • Hind A. Al-Abadleh, Chemistry
    Vicki Grassian, Dissertation Supervisor
    Heterogeneous Reactions of Atmospheric Gases on Oxide, Carbonate and Soot Surfaces
  • C. Wesley Brakefield-Younts, Sociology
    Lisa Troyer, Dissertation Supervisor
    Status, Validation and the Legitimacy of Deviance

2003 Winners

  • Angela Hess, Anatomy and Cell Biology
    Mary Hendrix, Dissertation Supervisor
    Molecular Dissection of Melanoma Tumor Cell Vasculogenic Mimicry
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist
  • Michael Tavel Clarke, English
    Ed Folsom, Dissertation Supervisor
    These Days of Large Things: The Culture of Size in America, 1865-1930
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist

2002 Winners

  • Nathan William Brixius, Computer Science
    Kurt Anstreicher, Dissertation Supervisor
    Solving Large-Scale Quadratic Assignment Problems
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist
  • Bettina Fabos, Education
    Cynthia Lewis, Dissertation Supervisor
    A Commercial Highway in Every Classroom: Investigating Web Content in U.S. Schools

2001 Winners

  • Eric Fure-Slocum, History
    Shelton Stromquist, Dissertation Supervisor
    The Challenge of the Working-class City: Recasting Growth Politics and Liberalism in Milwaukee, 1937-1952
  • Josef Parvizi, Neuroscience
    Antonio Damasio & Gary Van Hoesen, Co-Dissertation Supervisors
    The Signature of Alzheimer's Disease in the Brainstem

2000 Winners

  • Christopher Otrok, Economics
    B. Ravikumar, Dissertation Supervisor
    Implications of Temporally Dependent Preferences for Asset Pricing Puzzles and the Welfare Cost of Business Cycles: A Spectral Investigation
    Also CGS/UMI Outstanding Dissertation Finalist
  • Marius Stefan, Mathematics
    Florin Radulescu, Dissertation Supervisor
    Some Indecomposability Properties of Free Group Factors

Winners prior to 2000

  • 1999 Daryl A. Scott, Genetics (CGS/UMI Finalist)
  • 1999 Eric Griffin, English (CGS/UMI Finalist)
  • 1998 Razvan Gelca, Mathematics (CGS/UMI Finalist)
  • 1998 Randy Ziegenhorn, Anthropology
  • 1997 Susan Behrends Frank, Art History (CGS/UMI Winner)
  • 1997 Jeff E. Engel, Biology
  • 1996 Claire Fox, Comparative Literature
  • 1995 Bing Ji, Physics & Astronomy
  • 1994 Mary Beth Solner-O'Hagan, Psychology
  • 1993 Matthew Anderson, Physiology (CGS/UMI Winner)
  • 1992 Alice Adams, English (CGS/UMI Finalist)
  • 1991 Lin Hua Shan, Physics
  • 1990 Jeffrey Ostler, History
  • 1989 Judith Stoll, Biology (CGS/UMI Finalist)
  • 1988 Dennis Bielfeldt, Religion
  • 1987 Robert Bosch, Physics
  • 1986 Marcelline Hutton, History
  • 1985 Robert Finney, Biology
  • 1984 David Lasocki, Music (CGS/UMI Winner)
  • 1983 Hector Salas, Mathematics
  • 1982 John Ims, Psychology
  • 1981 Mark Knuepfer, Pharmacology (CGS/UMI Finalist)