2020 Student Recognition
It is with great pleasure that we take a moment here at the end of an incredibly busy and challenging semester to recognize prominent achievements of a number of students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. We normally celebrate these milestones at our spring Sigma Pi Sigma Banquet, but in lieu of that happy occasion, please join me now in congratulating these students and wishing them well.
The Quantum Leap Achievement Award is given to rising Physics majors who have completed their first two years of the program under centralized academic advising and, with this critical foundation, are now moving on to upper-level courses and advising tailored to their research interests. The 2020 QLA awardees are Alexandra Driehaus, Lars Hebenstiel, Jordyn Hurley, Colin Loxley, and Jared Parker. We are very happy to have you with us for this journey!
The Physics and Astronomy Departmental Awards are given to upper-level students who have excelled in areas of scholarship, research, and service. These awards are made through the efforts of the College Heights Foundation. This year’s award recipients are Taylor Robinson, Will Marsh, Alex Henson, and William Poteet. Our most heartfelt congratulations to you all!
- Taylor Robinson wins the Dr. George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship, awarded to the graduating Physics major(s) with the highest academic standing. Taylor successfully defended her Honors Thesis entitled “Novel Integrated Nano-Sensors for Analysis of Chemical Compounds in Natural Gas Applications” in April. Following her WKU graduation, Taylor is now headed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in Physics.
- Will Marsh wins the Dr. George V. and Sadie Skiles Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship, awarded to the graduating Physics major(s) with the highest academic standing. Will has conducted a spectral analysis of light bulbs for Mammoth Cave to help the National Park Service install lighting to mitigate algae growth. He also worked on a research project introducing a problem-solving template in the Physics Help Center. Will has been an active tutor in our Physics Help center for several years and has served as the President of the WKU Society of Physics Students. After graduating in December 2020, Will plans on commissioning in the United States Space Force.
- Alex Henson wins the 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. Alex has spent his time at WKU working on several projects involving the applications of novel nano-materials and nanotechnologies. His most recent project was developing compact and effective natural gas detectors for generic houses. Although graduating, Alex will be staying on the Hill to begin work on an M.S. in Chemistry next fall, with an eye toward an eventual Ph.D. in Materials Science.
- William Poteet wins the 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. William has taken part in many student-driven outreach activities in the department during the past academic year and has served as the secretary of the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students for the past two years. He has helped build the membership and liveliness of the club through his leadership of and participation in outreach activities reaching internal and external constituencies.
Sigma Pi Sigma, the national Physics honor society, exists to honor outstanding scholarship in physics, to encourage interest in Physics among students at all levels, to promote an attitude of service, and to provide a fellowship of persons who have excelled in Physics. This year we are very pleased to introduce new Sigma Pi Sigma Member Elect Jared Parker, a rising physics major who is active in all of the aforementioned areas. Way to go, Jared — we look forward to recognizing your new status properly at the next Sigma Pi Sigma banquet!
In addition, all Physics Majors Graduating in 2020 deserve special recognition for their success in completing their degrees in a challenging program in challenging times: Jacob Dobler, Brendan Evans, Alex Henson, and Taylor Robinson in May, and Will Marsh in December. Our very best wishes to each of you in your future endeavors!
Last but not least, we are delighted to announce the newly-elected Officers of the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students for 2020-2021: President Alexandra Driehaus, Vice-President William Poteet, Treasurer Colin Loxley, and Secretary Jared Parker. We are very excited to have these fresh new faces at the helm of the club and look forward to their leadership and energy in the coming year!
Once again, congratulations to all our students for their many achievements! May all of you have a safe, healthy, and happy summer.
WKU SPS / Sigma Pi Sigma