Not many people can say that they get to work with their best friend.
Taisiia Kolisnyk is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate.
She was among five finalists for the award. Each will be recognized at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17, during a Fall 2021 Commencement ceremony for the Graduate School at the Cajundome.
The ceremony is among nine ceremonies that will be held over two days beginning Friday. In addition to the Graduate School, ceremonies will be held for the University’s eight academic colleges at the Cajundome and Cajundome Convention Center.
Graduate programs nominate one student as their Outstanding Master’s Graduate. Criteria include leadership, scholarship, service and research.
The dean of UL Lafayette’s Graduate School leads a panel that selects the top candidates. An Alumni Association committee interviews the finalists and chooses an overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate.
Kolisnyk is this year’s overall honoree. In addition, she represents the School of Architecture and Design in the College of the Arts as an Outstanding Master’s Graduate Finalist. She is pursuing a master of architecture.
As the college’s Digital Fabrication Lab operator, Kolisnyk coordinates fabrication projects by students who use digital technology. As part of one project, privacy panels were created and placed between students’ desks for social distancing. She also mentors undergraduate architecture students and student-athletes.
Kolisnyk represented the School of Architecture and Design at the National Organization of Minority Architects student design competition in Oakland, Ca.
She assisted an architectural firm that offered design services to underrepresented groups in New Orleans. She also contributed to the 1020 House project built as part of a collaboration between the University and Habitat for Humanity.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UL Lafayette in 2020. She also holds an associate degree in international information from the Kharkov National University in the Ukraine.
She will work at Corgan, an international design firm in Dallas, Texas.
Kris-Ann Anderson is an Outstanding Master’s Graduate Finalist from the Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts. She is pursuing a master’s degree in psychology.
Her master’s thesis examines how positive feedback about lineup decisions influences susceptibility to misinformation. A manuscript on the topic is one of two she is preparing for publication.
Anderson mentored undergraduate students as a manager in a psychology research lab. One research project centered on how the presence of decorative photos influences people’s beliefs about COVID-19 claims. Another project examined how people interpreted the results in an analog to the 2020 U.S. presidential election results.
Anderson presented posters at conferences for the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. She is a member of both organizations, as well as the Psychonomic Society.
Anderson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology.
Kelly Fritzsche is an Outstanding Master’s Graduate Finalist for the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts.
She is pursuing a master’s degree in English with a concentration in TESOL – Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Her work as a graduate assistant includes managing the Student Technology Enhancement Program website and assisting with submitting grant information.
Fritzsche, who is fluent in Spanish, has worked with the International Rescue Committee, tutoring a couple from El Salvador. She also tutors and teaches English and grammar to Spanish-speaking students as part of the Volunteer Instructors Teaching Adults program. VITA is a nonprofit adult education and literacy center in Lafayette.
Fritzsche was a consultant for the United Way of Acadiana/Lafayette Education Foundation Teacher Awards.
She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and in education (K-12) from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.
Fritzsche plans to work in a refugee settlement, assisting immigrants to the United States.
Emma Harlet is an Outstanding Master’s Graduate Finalist for the Department of Modern Languages in the College of Liberal Arts. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Francophone Studies.
Her work on women Creole writers of the 19th century explores little-known figures such as Louisa Lamotte. Hartlet’s other research interests include American literature, 19th century literature, and feminine studies.
She has been invited to co-write the introduction for a new edition of the 1881 novel L’Habitation Saint-Ybars by Alfred Mercier. It is arguably the best-known novel among Creole literature of 19th century New Orleans.
Harlet is an editorial board member for the Department of Modern Languages student journal, Feux Follets.
Harlet earned a bachelor’s degree in languages and foreign cultures – English from Catholic University of Lille in France. She also earned a master’s degree from the university. Her thesis was titled “Cajuns: French heritage in Louisiana and ethnic survival.”
Harlet plans to work in academia.
Peng Zhang is an Outstanding Master’s Graduate Finalist for the Department of Petroleum Engineering in the College of Engineering. He is pursuing a master's degree in petroleum engineering.
A research paper he co-authored titled “Numerical Simulation of C02 Migration into Cement Sheath of Oil/Gas Wells” was published in the Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.
He has co-authored two additional papers that have been submitted for publication.
In 2012, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the Northeast Electric Power University in China; he spent six years working in that industry before enrolling at UL Lafayette.
Zhang will pursue a Ph.D. in systems engineering at UL Lafayette.
Photo caption: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2021 Outstanding Master’s Graduates are, from left: Peng Zhang, Department of Petroleum Engineering and Overall Outstanding Master's Graduate Taisiia Kolisnyk, School of Architecture and Design. Not pictured are Kris Anderson, Department of Psychology; Kelly Fritzsche, Department of English; and Emma Harlet, Department of Modern Languages. (Photo credit: Rachel Rafati / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)