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The Council of Graduate Schools / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards, the nation’s most prestigious honors for doctoral dissertations, were presented to Joshua Kertzer and Matthew Reed at an awards ceremony during the Council’s 54th Annual Meeting. Both awardees completed their PhDs in 2013—Dr. Kertzer at The Ohio State University, in Political Science, and Dr. Reed at Yale University, in Physics.

Bestowed annually since 1982, the awards recognize recent doctoral recipients who have already made unusually significant and original contributions to their fields. ProQuest sponsors the awards, and an independent committee from the Council of Graduate Schools selects the winners. Two awards are given each year, rotating among four general areas of scholarship. The winners receive a certificate, a $2,000 honorarium, and funds for travel to the awards ceremony.

“ProQuest has devoted decades to preserving and building paths to the discovery of dissertations because we believe they play a pivotal role in advancing knowledge,” said Niels Dam, ProQuest Vice-President, Dissertations Product Management. “The dissertations by Dr. Kertzer and Dr. Reed are excellent examples of the fresh perspectives that are explored and the new foundations set in graduate works. They make us proud to sponsor this important award.”​

“Once again, the Distinguished Dissertation Awards demonstrate how young scholars are having a dramatic impact on their fields,” said CGS President Suzanne T. Ortega. “It’s a testament to the vitality of graduate education when new knowledge contributed by recently-minted PhDs can raise the level of understanding in their fields of study.”

The 2014 Award in the Social Sciences was presented to Dr. Kertzer for his dissertation, “Resolve in International Politics.” The project examines the concept of resolve, one of the most commonly used, but insufficiently understood, independent variables in International Relations. Arguing that resolve is “an interaction between situational stakes and dispositional traits,” Dr. Kertzer uses a range of different methods to “explain why certain types of actors are more sensitive to the costs of fighting, while others are more sensitive to the costs of backing down.” He is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Dr. Reed received the 2014 Award in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering for his dissertation, “Entanglement and Quantum Error Correction with Superconducting Qubits.”  His project “reports on work demonstrating the fundamental capabilities of a quantum computer using superconducting quantum bits.” The most significant result reported on his dissertation is “the first demonstration of quantum error correction in a solid-state device.” Understanding how to correct such errors is an important requirement for building a quantum computer. Dr. Reed is currently Research Scientist at HRL Laboratories.

More information about the CGS / ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award is available at or at

To read the list of past winners of the regional and annual awards, click here.

05 Dec 2014

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