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Monica Rasmussen And Providence Adu Honored With Charlotte’s Distinguished Dissertation Award

UNC Charlotte’s Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for this year has been conferred upon Monica Rasmussen ’24 Ph.D. and Providence Adu ’24 Ph.D., recognizing their outstanding contributions to academia.

Monica Rasmussen’s dissertation, titled “The Influence of Time, Rock Properties and Climate on Mechanical Weathering,” stands as a testament to her meticulous fieldwork, laboratory investigations, and sophisticated modeling techniques aimed at understanding the processes of rock cracking across varying environmental conditions spanning millennia. Rasmussen’s research revealed a compelling insight: that irrespective of rock type and environmental factors, the rate of rock cracking decelerates over time due to what she describes as a state of “squishiness,” enabling rocks to withstand daily stresses.

Dr. Rasmussen, who earned her undergraduate degrees from Tulane University in Geology and Anthropology, has continued her scholarly pursuits as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology.

Meanwhile, Providence Adu’s Ph.D. dissertation in geography, titled “Analyzing Housing Market Dynamics and Neighborhood Change: A Case Study of Charlotte, North Carolina,” has garnered acclaim for its innovative approach to studying urban development dynamics. Adu’s research utilized a robust framework incorporating spatial statistics tools and natural language processing techniques, alongside traditional data sources, to examine the complex interplay between urban policies, housing markets, and neighborhood transformations in Charlotte.

Key findings from Adu’s research underscore the pivotal role of corporate landlords in shaping rental market dynamics through exclusionary practices, the spatial clustering of housing renovations driven by socioeconomic factors, and the profound impact of housing code enforcement on property values. These findings, according to Adu, highlight critical issues necessitating policy interventions to address housing discrimination and spatial inequalities.

Dr. Adu currently serves as a research associate at UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute, having previously earned a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University in 2018.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte Graduate School’s prestigious Distinguished Dissertation Award underscores its commitment to honoring exceptional doctoral research that contributes significantly to advancing knowledge across disciplines.

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