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UL Lafayette recognizes top scholars as Outstanding Master’s Graduates

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Jesse DelGizzi is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

DelGizzi was among four finalists for the award. Each will be recognized during the Spring 2018 Commencement General Assembly. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Cajundome.

Each graduate program nominates a student for the award. Criteria include leadership, scholarship, service and research.

The dean of UL Lafayette’s Graduate School leads a committee that selects the top candidates. An Alumni Association committee interviews the finalists and chooses an overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

DelGizzi is this year’s overall honoree. In addition, he represents the School of Music and Performing Arts as its Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

He studies music theory and composition and has a 4.0 GPA.

DelGizzi’s master’s thesis explored percussion and sound engineering in zydeco music. He plays electric bass in the Zydeco Ragin’ Steppers, a band affiliated with the University’s Traditional Music program.

He is a 2008 graduate of the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he earned bachelor’s degrees in international studies and music.

Before attending UL Lafayette, DelGizzi worked as a cyber intelligence analyst. He is fluent in French, Italian and Arabic.

As a volunteer, DelGizzi led conversations with the University’s Arabic Club and with undergraduates enrolled in Arabic courses. He also taught Arabic music lessons.

DelGizzi managed the production of “White Raspberry,” a music video. The 2017 project included more than 40 UL Lafayette students and graduates in its cast and crew.

He is the son of Denise and Ronald DelGizzi of Springfield, Virginia.

Elizabeth Larmann is Outstanding Master’s Graduate in the Department of Criminal Justice. She has a 4.0 GPA.

Larmann’s thesis examined social preferences for synthetic marijuana, a topic few scholars have examined despite the health risk the drug poses to users. 

She also is collaborating on a manuscript about the use of cannabidiol, a cannabis compound, with Dr. David Khey, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice.

Larmann worked with high school students as part of the department’s summer forensic camp and mentored new graduate students.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from UL Lafayette in 2015. She was the department’s Outstanding Graduate that year. 

As an undergraduate, Larmann conducted research in Louisiana folk medicine. She also was among researchers and activists who helped add Lafayette’s Freetown/Port Rico to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Larmann plans to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

She is the daughter of Dianne and Bernard Larmann of Covington, Louisiana.

Jordan Richardson is the Department of History, Geography and Philosophy’s Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

He is enrolled in the public history program and has a 3.82 GPA.

As a graduate assistant at UL Lafayette’s Edith Garland Dupré Library, he taught library instruction classes, created lesson plans and activities, and developed three virtual tours for patrons. He received the library’s 2017 Outstanding Educator Award.

Richardson twice served as editor of “Clio’s Quill,” the history department’s research journal. His public history projects included examinations of Louisiana Mardi Gras celebrations and the desegregation of Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now UL Lafayette.

He also worked with History Harvest, which collects, catalogues and returns artifacts from residents. The items contribute to a wider understanding of the region’s past.

Richardson earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 2014 from LSU in Baton Rouge.

He is the son of Marvin Dewey and Judy Richardson, both of Amelia, Louisiana.

Jennifer van Alstyne is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the Department of English.

Her area of concentration is literature and cultural studies. She has a 3.75 GPA.

She earned a master of fine arts degree in writing and poetics in 2015 from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. van Alstyne is a 2013 graduate of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in creative writing.

van Alstyne has published papers in two peer-reviewed journals, and has a poetry manuscript, “Altars of Nonesuch,” under review.

She was a finalist for two national creative writing awards for her poem “Pelt.” The work was among 12 poems van Alstyne published in the past three years.

She also serves as editor or associate editor of four publications, and has written book reviews for “Colorado Review” and “Rain Taxi."

As a graduate assistant, van Alstyne worked to improve the English department’s use of digital communications and social media in its recruitment and marketing efforts.


Photo caption: From left are Kyle Bacon, UL Lafayette Alumni Association president; Matthew Furka, overall Outstanding Graduate Award recipient; Jesse DelGizzi, overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award recipient; and Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president. (Photo credit: Erica Falgout / UL Lafayette Alumni Association)