Distinction in Creative Works and Research

Distinction in Research and Creative Work is a university award for select undergraduates, granted at commencement, which appears on the transcript and diploma. Students must apply to be considered for the award, and the application must be supported by a letter from a faculty member or research mentor.  Responsibility for judging applications and determining those that merit the distinction award rests with the undergraduate degree programs or departments.


Eligibility for the award extends widely to include a variety of research, design, and other creative projects, as well as persistent dedication to research. Projects completed in part or entirely at other institutions or with community partners will be eligible for consideration.

The award will be granted only to research or creative works that demonstrate commitment and/or achievement “above and beyond the norm” (see below). Students who complete senior theses, senior design projects or other required senior capstone projects are eligible—but do not qualify automatically--for consideration for this university distinction.

Department of Statistics Expectations and Criteria

Statistics majors and minors who are graduating seniors and in good academic standing are eligible to apply.  The basis of this award may be one exceptional work or a portfolio of multiple meaningful contributions.

Evidence of distinguished work that goes beyond the norm may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Authorship or co-authorship on a published article in which the student makes a significant contribution to the statistical aspects of the work. This work may be an application of statistics.
  • Development of a new approach to analyze data and convincing evidence that a manuscript based on the work will be submitted for publication. New approaches may include data visualization, computation (e.g., modeling implementation, simulation, R package), methodology, theory or any other tools that lead to new ways of conducting a statistical analysis. The clearest evidence of such an accomplishment is a manuscript that is ready or nearly ready for journal submission.
  • Presenting and having the work recognized at a conference beyond the university level. This may be a talk, poster presentation, or competition.
  • Significant contribution to a project that in some way promotes the field of statistics. Examples include (a) organizing a workshop, seminar series, journal club, or any other similar educational project; (b) significant contribution of statistical expertise to a community based project.

If the work is part of a team effort, the individual must provide clear evidence of his or her unique and substantial contribution without whose efforts the project would not have been successful. Distinguished individual efforts must be above and beyond what was expected of the individual’s contributions. A letter of support from team members would be appropriate, in addition to the faculty/mentor letter.

Completion of a senior capstone course as an individual student project or otherwise does not automatically qualify for the award.

Application materials include an application form, a statement summarizing the work, copies of paper(s)/presentation(s) to be considered, and at least one letter of support from an advising faculty member or research mentor.

Declaring Your Interest

Students who wish to be considered for this award should request an application from the department.

Please contact Zoila Parra-Castelán (zp10@rice.edu) or Dr. Elizabeth McGuffey (elizabeth.mcguffey@rice.edu) to request an application.

All application materials must be submitted by 5pm on April 10, 2024.

Past Recipients

  • 2023: Can Erdogan, Zach Rewolinski
  • 2022: Dileka Gunawardana, Dylan Nguyen, Bohan Wu
  • 2021: George Elsesser, Vicente Iglesias, Xin Tan
  • 2020: Mario Paciuc