Spring 2020 Physics Awards Celebration

For the first time, the Department of Physics hosted its Annual Spring Awards & Recognition Ceremony as a virtual event, bringing together students, faculty, staff, and alumni from various locations to celebrate the hard work and success of its members.

The event honored Spring 2020 graduates, celebrated the year’s accomplishments and presented awards and scholarships to outstanding students, faculty, and staff members.

“This event is a time of celebration for us, as we recognize the end of the academic year,” said Department Chair Peter Bennett, in his opening address. “We collectively honor and thank those who have supported our students…., and today we want to recognize a few folks who truly stand out in this outstanding group of above-average people.”

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ASU Physics 2020 Spring Awards Celebration: a Message from Dr. Peter Bennett

Department Scholarships & Fellowships

Rebecca Osar

Department of Physics Scholarship

Major: Physics, BS, Barrett Honors College, 

Minor: Chinese Language

Advisor: Michael Dugger

“I want to thank everyone involved for this great honor. It means a lot to me, being a first-generation college student. It is only due to the generosity of awards like this that I am able to attend college, strive for high goals, and focus my time and attention on research. I also want to thank my amazing research advisor, Mike, who is patient with me as a freshman getting into undergraduate research and who is a huge advocate for my development into a researcher.”

Brian Clark

Wally Stoelzel Physics Scholarship

Major: Physics, BS, Chemistry, BS, Barrett Honors College

“Receiving the Wally Stoelzel Scholarship is an honor.  I would like to thank Professor Scott Sayres and Professor Cynthia Keeler for all of their support as I couldn’t have done it without them. I have put a lot of work into being the best physicist I can be, so receiving this recognition means a lot to me and reinvigorates my drive to succeed.”

This award is made possible by ASU Physics alum Wally Stoelzel, who established the fund in honor of his mentor, professor and former department chair Alan Wager.

Tucker Manton

Wally Stoelzel Physics Fellowship

Major: Physics, PhD - Cosmology, Particle & Astrophysics

Advisor: Damien Easson

"I would like to extend my most sincere appreciation to Mr. Wally Stoelzel for making this fellowship possible. Although I am immensely passionate about my research subject, its applicability is departed from the present just enough to make the task of obtaining financial support very challenging. Consequently, the Stoelzel Fellowship award will have a great impact on my progress by allowing me to take some time off being a teaching assistant, permitting me to completely focus on research. I also would like to express my gratitude to the ASU physics department, and look forward to putting the freedoms allotted by the fellowship award to use to the best of my ability."

This award is made possible by ASU Physics alum Wally Stoelzel, who established the fund in honor of his mentor, professor and former department chair Alan Wager. 

Chase Hanson

Richard G Stoner Memorial Scholarship

Major: Physics, BS, Mathematics, BS

Advisor: Antia Botana

"I am deeply thankful to have received the Stoner Memorial Scholarship. I would like to thank my advisor, Antia Botana, and our research group for their mentorship and guidance. I am very grateful to be a part of such a wonderful physics department, and I will work diligently in my studies to honor Professor Stoner."

Professor Richard Stoner was chair of the ASU Department of Physics and Astronomy for ten years, a dedicated teacher, and a founding member of the Arizona section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. This scholarship is made possible through generous donations made in Dr. Stoner's memory.

Christopher Ramirez

Vesto Melvin Sliphger Foundation Scholarship

Major: Biophysics, BS, Biochemistry, BS, Barrett Honors College

Advisors: Debra Hansen, Petra Fromme

"I am extremely grateful to be receiving the Vesto M. Slipher award this year. I absolutely love physics, and it's awards like these that give me the opportunity to be involved in the exciting research going on at Biodesign."

 This foundation provides a scholarship each year to a worthy student who is pursuing studies in science at either the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, or Northern Arizona University.

Emily Luffey

John C Wheatley Undergraduate Research Scholarship

Major: Biophysics, BS

Advisor: Robert Ros

“I am immensely grateful for this award. My undergraduate research project strives to gain some more understanding of the mysteries of biology by applying physics, and this is a driving force of motivation and perseverance in my academic projectile.  By receiving this award, I am elated to be able to spend more time on my research project that would previously have been spent scrambling to fund my education. In addition to the financial support, this award gives me a greater sense of confidence in my ability to be a contributing member of the scientific community. I plan to continue research in a similar area in graduate school, and to continually evolve and grow as a scientist.”

The Department of Physics is pleased to sponsor this scholarship in honor of John Wheatley, who as a laboratory manager from the John M Cowley Center for High Resolution Microscopy helped establish the department as a world leader in electron microscopy.

Tal Sneh

Molecular Imaging Corporation Endowment Scholarship

Major: Biophysics, BS, Biochemistry, BS, Barret Honors College

Advisor: Rizal Hariadi

The Molecular Imaging Corporation benefited greatly from ASU support in the past. To express their thanks, the founders created an endowment to support ASU Physics students through an undergraduate scholarship and a graduate fellowship. 

Brandon Thornton

Molecular Imaging Corporation Endowment Scholarship

Major: Physics, PhD - Cosmology, Particle & Astrophysics

Advisors: Andrei Belitsky, Michael Dugger

“I welcome the opportunity that this fellowship affords me to focus more purely on research over the summer; I know that not every serious student in the department is so fortunate this year.

 At ASU, I see a physics/astronomy department that has branched into four weakly-interacting groups. My knowledge of the astro, bio and condensed-matter groups is limited, but I can speak of the high-energy/cosmology group. I see a community at a turning point. Comprised now of more dedicated researchers -- graduate students, postdocs, and faculty -- than ever before, it has an opportunity to become a dual power of fundamental physics -- a court of expert progressors and a catalyst of enduring academic careers. I suspect such opportunities are rarely created and seldom consummated. This one has taken years to create and may take years to consummate.

 I’ve been told by the Dean of Graduate Education that ASU has a multi-year plan to raise ASU’s minimum graduate-student stipend to Maricopa County’s “living wage.” I hope that this university-wide plan, in addition to momentum-building changes I've seen happening in this department, continue to be executed despite the adversity we now face.”

The Molecular Imaging Corporation benefited greatly from ASU support in the past. To express their thanks, the founders created an endowment to support ASU Physics students through an undergraduate scholarship and a graduate fellowship. 

Alexandria Semien

Arek Dieterle Memorial Award

Major: Physics, BS, Barrett Honors College

Minors: Biochemistry, Astrophysics 

“I cannot thank the Department of Physics enough for the Arek Dieterle Memorial Award scholarship! I appreciate the fact that you recognized my involvement in SPS, and I will continue to give back to our community by volunteering and participating in other SPS events. Thank you so much!”

This award is a memorial to Arek Dieterle, a former ASU Physics student and past president of the ASU chapter of the Society of Physics Students who left this world too soon. This award honors ASU SPS members who show the same qualities that made Arek such an outstanding member, and we hope that his spirit and dedication will live on in future generations. 

Max Linnander

William J & Carol M Motil Scholarship

Major: Physics, BS

Advisors: Nate Newman, Frank Wilczek

“I've worked as hard as I can ever since I arrived here at ASU, whether it be in the classroom, lab, or in clubs, and receiving this award has reminded me to keep on pushing, even in the hardest of times. Getting the William J. and Carol M. Motil Scholarship makes a huge difference for my financial situation, and I will be forever appreciative of the individuals who graciously give, without demanding anything in return. Thank you.”

William Motil graduated from ASU in 1963 with his degree in physics. He deeply appreciated the benefits of the education he received and recognized the need for providing support to students in the field of physics. 

Elena Drobnyh

William J & Carol M Motil Fellowship

Major: Physics, PhD - Nanoscience  & Materials Physics

Advisor: Maxim Sukharev

“With many thanks to my supervisor Prof. Sukharev for his guidance and overall insights throughout every single project we have and to my family and friends for all the unconditional support in these intense academic years.”

William Motil graduated from ASU in 1963 with his degree in physics. He deeply appreciated the benefits of the education he received and recognized the need for providing support to students in the field of physics. 

Jack Kunkel

William J and Carol M Motil Scholarship for Experimental Research 

Major: Physics, PhD - Biophsyics

Advisor: Sara Vaiana

“I would like to thank the department of physics and the Motil's for this scholarship. This funding will allow me to continue my experimental research of the measles virus NTAIL protein.”

William Motil graduated from ASU in 1963 with his degree in physics. He deeply appreciated the benefits of the education he received and recognized the need for providing support to students in the field of physics. 

Outstanding Department Awards

The Department of Physics recognizes members who, in their various roles, exemplify the highest standard of service and performance, significantly contributing to research, teaching, mentoring, and to the department as a whole.  

Outstanding Undergraduate Award: Lily Whitler

Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award: Andrew Svesko

Outstanding Staff Member Award: Morgan Texeira

Outstanding Teaching Award: Robert Culbertson

2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Ethan Duncan

Department of Physics Award for Undergraduate Research 

Major: Physics, BS

Title: Presolar Grain Isolation: A Novel Development Using Focused Ion Beam (FIB)

Advisor: Maitrayee Bose

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Chase Hanson

Department of Physics Research Award

Major: Physics, BS & Math, BS

Title: Electronic properties of 2D van der Waals magnets

Advisor: Dr. Antia Botana

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Emily Luffey

Women in Physics Award for Undergraduate Research

Major: Biophysics, BS

Title: Properties of Chromatin Extracted by Salt Fractionation from a Cancerous and Non-cancerous Esophageal Cell Line

Advisor: Robert Ros

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Sydney Olson

John & Richard Jacob Award for Undergraduate Research

Major: Physics, BS

Title: Van der Waals Interacting 2D Mo(Sx,Te1-x) Slab on Bulk Al2O3 Substrate

Advisor: Arunima Singh

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