Recent Honors College Graduate Becomes Seventh Portz Scholar from Kent State University

Recent Kent State University graduate Allison Moats has been named one of four 2014 Portz Scholars by the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Moats graduated summa cum laude in May 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in biology. She earned University Honors from the Honors College with distinction in anthropology. Moats is also a member of the Kent State University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Each year, institutional members of the National Collegiate Honors Council are invited to nominate one outstanding research or creative paper written by an undergraduate honors student from their institution for the Portz Scholars competition.

Three or four scholars are selected annually from those submissions. Moats’ winning paper was her undergraduate honors thesis comparing abnormalities in the growth of the proximal femur in modern and ancient populations.

“I was completely surprised when I was informed my thesis had been selected to represent Kent State as a nominee, so you can imagine my shock when it actually won,” said Moats. “Just having my thesis read by the NCHC council was a great honor.”

Her thesis was selected from more than 25 other thesis projects completed by students in the Honors College this past year.

According to Victoria Bocchicchio, Director, Academic Programs, the Honors College nominates one outstanding Senior Honors Thesis/Project each year.

“Nominations are based on recommendations from faculty members who serve on thesis defense committees in consultation with the dean,” said Bocchicchio.

Moats is the seventh Portz Scholar from Kent State University. She will begin her doctoral studies in human evolutionary biology at Harvard University this fall.

"Allison's research is excellent, and I believe she'll be able to publish it," said Linda Spurlock, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology and Moats' thesis adviser.

“From this experience, I have learned how much I enjoy conducting research, and although it takes a great deal of time and dedication, the process is beyond rewarding,” Moats said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Spurlock believes Moats will be able to publish her work. "Pediatric orthopedic surgeons will be interested in her findings," she said. "I'm thrilled she won this award! She worked very hard and deserves it."

The four NCHC Portz Scholars will present their papers at a plenary session at the National Collegiate Honors Conference on Saturday, November 8 in Denver, Colorado.

“I'm thrilled that I am able to represent Kent State and our Honors College as a 2014 Portz Scholar winner, and I look forward to presenting my research,” said Moats.

The NCHC Portz Scholars program was established in 1990 to acknowledge John and Edythe Portz for their contributions to undergraduate honors education. For more information about the Portz Scholars program, visit

Moats’ thesis can be viewed at

POSTED: Friday, August 15, 2014 04:34 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 08:41 AM
Aaron Hanlin