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Clarkon Senior Thomas M. Berez Honored With Frederica Clarkson Award

[A photo of Berez receiving his award is available for newspaper use at

Thomas M. Berez, son of Ted and Anna Berez of Holland Patent, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University's 111th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 9.Thomas Berez

The award was established in 1921 in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named.

Berez, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in history, was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty, based on his scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

Berez graduated from Clarkson with a perfect cumulative grade-point average of 4.0. He has been a Presidential Scholar for eight semesters and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. This year, he received the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Staff Award and has conducted independent research with Clarkson Professor of Mechanical Engineering Ronald LaFleur in the area of multihole probe theory.

Berez's research interests and activities have also resulted in an ongoing and successful collaboration with Sheila Weiss, professor of history in the School of Arts and Sciences and expert on Nazi Germany and eugenics. Earlier this year, Berez and Weiss were awarded a $79,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research and write a collection of essays on human heredity and politics under the Third Reich.

The research project, "Human Genetics and Politics During the Third Reich," will include six original essays that use case studies to illustrate various facets of the problematic relationship between human genetics and politics under the Nazis. The book is intended for use in upper -level undergraduate courses, although it will also be of interest to scholars and the lay public. Weiss will write five of the essays and collaborate with Berez on the sixth. Berez will also write the student introduction and ensure the articles are accessible for their target audience.

Last year, Berez collaborated with Weiss on a book review that was published in Isis, the premier scholarly journal in the history of science.

Based on his impressive research and publishing record, Berez has also been invited to participate in a symposium "Science, History and Culture in Germany," hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences held later this month in Beijing. Clarkson's Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering will fund his trip.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Berez has been active in the University's award-winning Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design (SPEED) program as a member of the Formula SAE team for two years. He has also worked as a tutor in the Clarkson University Writing Center.

Berez plans to attend graduate school to study the history of science and technology in 2005.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is an independent university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in technology-based fields. Its academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 350 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges. Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level. For more information, visit

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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