2014 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 2013-2014 academic year are Jamey Yadon, Mary Spraggs, and Sam White. These students will be recognized at the annual Ogden Student Awards ceremony on Sunday, April 27, at 2:00 PM at the Carroll Knicely Center. Please join me in congratulating these students when 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.
Jamey Lee Yadon
Jamey Yadon receives the Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship based upon his outstanding academic record while a student at WKU. He will graduate this spring with majors in Physics and Religious Studies and a minor in Mathematics. Jamey is a member of the WKU chapter of the national honor society for physics Sigma Pi Sigma and is active in the WKU Society of Physics Students. After graduation Jamey plans to pursue a graduate degree at the Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University.
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.
Mary Elizabeth Spraggs
Mary Spraggs, a junior physics major with a minor in astronomy, works with Dr. Steven Gibson as an undergraduate research assistant on Galactic radio astronomy. Mary receives this award for her work on the properties of interstellar clouds of hydrogen gas that are cooling, condensing, and forming molecules as a first step toward the formation of new stars. She has measured the temperature, density, and molecular content of clouds in our Galaxy using infrared data from the Planck cosmology satellite and several ground-based radio telescope spectral line surveys. Mary has presented her work at multiple conferences, including the American Astronomical Society, the Southeast Section of the American Physical Society, and the Kentucky Academy of Science. A graduate of the Gatton Academy, she has been an active participant in WKU’s Society of Physics Students, the Hilltopper Astronomy Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and physics tutoring, and she assists regularly with setting up low-frequency radio equipment at WKU’s Bell Observatory to monitor magnetospheric storms around the planet Jupiter. Mary has accepted an NSF-REU internship this summer at MIT’s Haystack Observatory.
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.
Samuel Thomas White
Sam White, a senior with majors in Physics and Chemistry, receives the Humphrey service award because of the overall good citizenship he portrays in his interactions with faculty and students in the department. Most significantly Sam has been an outstanding Learning Assistant in our University Physics Laboratory since we began using student assistants in a revised curriculum a few years ago. In this role, Sam goes above and beyond his expected duties and is a role model for new Learning Assistants coming into the program. In addition, Sam has performed research in Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Matthew Nee. Sam’s latest work involves measurements of Raman spectra of solutions of nitrate ions. His work is focused on obtaining a better understanding of the photolysis of the nitrate ion, which has important implications in snow chemistry.
*Award made through the efforts of the College Heights Foundation.