2012 Departmental Award Winners
Each year the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy recognizes three students who have excelled in areas of scholarship, research, and service. The recipients of these awards for the 2011-2012 academic year are Suzanna Sadler, John Wilson, and Jason Leszczewicz. These students will be recognized at the annual Ogden Student Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 22, at 3:00 PM at the Carroll Knicely Center. Please take a moment to congratulate these students if you have an opportunity.
Dr. George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship*
Awarded to the graduating Physics major with the highest academic standing.
Suzanna Marie Sadler
Suzanna is a senior physics major and Honors student at WKU who is presently working under the direction of Dr. Lou Strolger on Type Ia supernovae and their progenitor environments. She started this research while a student in the Gatton Academy of Math and Sciences at WKU, and since then has presented her work at several national meetings including those with the American Astronomical Society, the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society, and National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Her academic accomplishments include regular recognition on the Dean’s List or President’s List membership in both the national physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma and the mathematics honor society Pi Mu Epsilon. Suzanna is also very active in service activities in the department and presently serves as the President for the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students and the Communications Officer for the Hilltopper Astronomy Club. Suzanna will present her Honors thesis on “The Ages and Metallicities of Type Ia Supernova Host Galaxies from the Nearby Galaxies Supernova Search Program”. Following graduating, she plans to attend graduate school in astrophysics.
Dr. Randall Harper Award for Outstanding Research in Physics and Astronomy*
Awarded to the junior or senior student with research exhibiting significance, effort, originality, and creativity.
John Max Wilson
John is a senior physics major and Honors student who has been involved in two major research projects since coming to WKU via the Gatton Academy of Math and Science. He first worked with Dr. Keith Andrew on a project that involved using Einstein’s general relativity to study predictability times for “Big Rip” cosmological models. This project was developed into his senior Honors thesis earning a mark of “pass with distinction”. His latest project, under the direction of Dr. Ivan Novikov, is in the area of theoretical nuclear physics focusing on using Monte Carlo simulations to investigate reaction cross sections. He has presented both of these projects in several local, regional, and national meetings. John also excels in the classroom and is a member of the national physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma. Following graduation John plans to begin graduate study in physics at the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Douglas Humphrey Award for Outstanding Service*
Awarded to the junior or senior student with a record of service within the department and to science outreach to the community.
Jason J. Leszczewicz
Jason J. Leszczewicz, a junior physics major with minors in astronomy and mathematics, is President-Elect for the Society of Physics Students and active in the Hilltopper Astronomy Club. Jason recently organized a student trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama and spent his spring break doing research at Marshall Space Flight Center. Last summer, Jason worked to design, construct, and test a trebuchet that he demonstrated at Physics Public Night and high school visits. Jason also has played a major role in the Physics Olympics, Science Olympiad, and Girls in Science events. In his spare time Jason has helped with physics laboratory manual assembly, and he has recently formed a team to enter a NASA rocket launch competition.
*Award made through the efforts of the College Heights Foundation.