The Karlem Riess Memorial Award is a $500 cash award given to an outstanding Alpha of Louisiana inductee who has demonstrated a breadth of experience in the liberal arts and sciences. The award is named for Dr. Karlem “Ducky” Riess, who served as a member and officer of the Alpha of Louisiana chapter for more than half a century. Dr. Riess received his undergraduate degree from Tulane, and he returned to Tulane as a faculty member in physics after graduate study.
The tenth annual recipient of the Karlem Riess Memorial Award is Eleanor Semmes. According to one of her professors, “Nellie is quite simply one of the most remarkable undergraduates that I have every encountered. She is truly an intellectual tour de force. She personifies the best of both of her disciplines: she has the sharp, empirically focused eye of a neuroscientist and the analytical depth and intellectual cosmopolitanism of a political economist. Unlike many of her bright colleagues, Nellie is not only brilliant (a word I use very sparingly), she does an extraordinarily wide range of things extraordinarily well. She is well read in a very impressive array of subject matters, from fiction to highly technical economic and scientific material.”
Another professor concurs. He says, “I was on Nellie Semmes honor’s thesis committee and have known her through the Neuroscience Program… for a couple of years. She is one of the most remarkable students I have encountered in the 25 years I have been at Tulane. I usually reserve my highest praise for students who have worked directly with me on a research project. Nellie worked with someone else, but she has stood out among all the students I have known this year and for the last several years in the Cell and Molecular Biology and Neuroscience majors.” Following graduation Nellie will be starting at joint MD/PhD program at Duke University.