Rasmussen and Adu Receive Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award

Rasmussen and Adu side-by-side headshots
Friday, July 5, 2024
The Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes outstanding doctoral research at UNC Charlotte.

Congratulations to Monica Rasmussen '24, Ph.D. in Infrastructure and Environmental Systems, and Providence Adu '24, Ph.D. in Geography, on receiving the Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for 2024.

Each year, the Distinguished Dissertation Award is presented by the Graduate School Dean to recognize exceptional research and scholarship by a doctoral student at UNC Charlotte.

Rasmussen’s Dissertation

Monica Rasmussen’s dissertation, titled “The Influence of Time, Rock Properties, and Climate on Mechanical Weathering,” provides a comprehensive field, laboratory and modeling analysis of rock cracking under natural environmental conditions over hundreds of thousands of years. Her research determined that rock cracking decelerates over time, irrespective of rock type and environment, due to rocks reaching a state of "squishiness" that allows them to endure daily stresses.

Rasmussen, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology, earned her B.S. in Geology and B.A. in Anthropology from Tulane University in 2009.

Adu’s Dissertation

Providence Adu’s dissertation, “Analyzing Housing Market Dynamics and Neighborhood Change: A Case Study of Charlotte, North Carolina,” contributes to understanding the impact of local government urban regulatory policies and private actors’ actions on a neighborhood’s housing markets. Utilizing the rapidly growing city of Charlotte, North Carolina, as a case study, Adu's research establishes a framework incorporating spatial statistics tools, natural language processing techniques, and both novel and traditional data to analyze the relationship between urban policy, private actors, housing markets and neighborhood change.

Key findings of Adu’s research include the significant role of corporate landlords in employing exclusionary criteria in the rental market, the clustering of housing renovation activities driven by income and homeownership rates and the impact of housing code enforcement on home sales prices. These findings underscore the need for policies addressing housing discrimination and spatial inequalities.

Adu is currently a research associate at UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute and earned an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Clemson University in 2018.

The Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award includes a cash prize and a commemorative plaque.