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Student Honors

Four Undergraduates Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

040709: Three seniors and one junior have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year:

  • Samuel Harrold

    Samuel T. Harrold (Class of 2009), BS Physics, BS Mathematics

  • Theodore Rapach

    Theodore Allan Rapach (Class of 2009), BS Physics

  • Katrina Sliwa

    Katrina Marie Sliwa (Class of 2009), BS Physics, BA Mathematics

  • Bradley Christensen

    Bradley Christensen (Class of 2010), BS Physics

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Patrick Sheehan (2011) Named 2009 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar

Patrick_Sheehan040609: Sophomore Patrick Sheehan, student of Professor Dan M. Watson, has won a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Endowed by the U.S. Congress to honor the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the Scholarship is designed to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Sheehan also received a Phi Beta Kappa Iota Book Award earlier this year. He currently has a GPA of 4.00, ranking him in the top 99% of the Class of 2011. He has been doing research for Professor Watson since he was a freshman in fall 2007, and he's also a member of the Society of Physics Students.

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Undergraduate Awards Announced

031609: The Department of Physics is pleased to announce the winners of this year's undergraduate awards, including the National-level Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship, the Honors Physics Prizes, the John Castle Jr. and John Radu Scholarships, and on behalf of Phi Beta Kappa, the Iota Book Awards.

Winners include:

  • Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship: Kristin Beck
    2009, BS Physics, Honors BA Mathematics, Minor in Music
  • Honors Physics Prize: John Golden
    2010, BS Physics, BS Mathematics
  • Honors Physics Prize: Brad Christensen
    2010, BS Physics, BA Mathematics
  • Honors Physics Prize: Tyle Stelzig
    2010, BS Physics, BA Mathematics
  • John Castle Jr. Endowment Scholarship: Jonathan Kurvits
    2010, BS Physics, BS Mathematics
  • John Radu Endowment Scholarship: Timothy DeHaas
    2011, BS Physics, BA Mathematics
  • Iota Book Award: Gregory Bentsen
    2011, BS Physics, BS ECE
  • Iota Book Award: Stephen Keeley
    2011, BS Physics
  • Iota Book Award: Donald Polaski
    2011, BS Physics, BA Philosophy
  • Iota Book Award: Marek Slipski
    2011, BS Physics & Astronomy
  • Iota Book Award: Patrick Sheehan
    2011, BS Physics & Astronomy

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American Institute of Physics Cites UR SPS Chapter as One of the Nation's Best

021609: The American Institute of Physics has selected the University of Rochester Society of Physics Students (SPS) as "an Outstanding SPS Chapter for the 2007-2008 school year." Gary D. White, the Director of the SPS national program, awarded this honor to our SPS chapter based on the depth of our activities in "physics research, public science outreach, physics tutoring programs, hosting and representation at physics meetings and events, and providing social interaction for chapter members." The award, he added, is a testament to the UR chapter's personal leadership skills and superior performance.


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Kristin Beck Awarded Prestigious Churchill Scholarship

Kristi_Beck021709: Kristin Beck, a senior double degree student in physics and mathematics at the University of Rochester, has been named a 2009 Churchill Scholar and will advance her studies at the University of Cambridge this fall. Beck is the third University of Rochester student in as many years to receive a Churchill Scholarship and, as it happens, the third to major in the rigorous Honors B.A. Mathematics program. The prestigious scholarships, offered this year to just 14 students nationally, enable recipients to pursue graduate work at Cambridge in engineering, mathematics, or the physical and natural sciences. While at Cambridge, Beck will study quantum optics in the Cavendish Laboratory under the tutelage of Michael Kohl.

"I have had the privilege of working with our Churchill nominees since 1982," said Suzanne O'Brien, associate dean of undergraduate studies and director of the College Center for Academic Support, "and Kristi is clearly extraordinary even in this extraordinary group."

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» read complete press release

Class of 2008 Graduates with Many Honors

051808: Congratulations to the 2008 graduates of the Department of Physics and Astronomy! In the graduation ceremony held today:

  • 15 students earned BS degrees in Physics
  • 5 students earned BA degrees in Physics
  • 8 students earned BS degrees in Physics and Astronomy
  • 1 student earned a BA degree in Physics and Astronomy
  • 7 students earned MS degrees in Physics
  • 20 students earned MA degrees in Physics
  • 18 students earned PhD degrees in Physics
  • 3 students earned PhD degrees in Physics and Astronomy.

Bachelor's Degrees

Undergraduates earned several national and international honors, including 3 Goldwater Scholarships and a Fulbright Scholarship. (lhg)

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Benjamin Schmitt Wins Fulbright Award

042508: Benjamin Schmitt (BS, Physics; BA, Mathematics; BA, German) is one of five UR students who recently earned 2008-2009 Fulbright Awards, national scholarships that foster international academic and research collaborations. The Fulbright Awards are among the most prestigious honors in the world, with international collaborations in well over a hundred countries.

Benjamin will spend his Fulbright year in Germany conducting physics research at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg and pursuing a master's degree in astronomy and astrophysics at Heidelberg University. He is a Renaissance Scholar, recipient of the German Book Award, and member of the Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society. He has previously conducted research at UR's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Cornell's Laboratory for Elementary Particle Physics, and the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg; Schmitt has also co-authored several scientific papers. He intends to pursue a PhD in physics and a research career in a government or academic laboratory setting. An Eagle Scout, Schmitt has participated in the UR Sailing Club and College Bowl Team and has also served as a volunteer event coordinator for local and regional Science Olympiad competitions. He attended Greece Arcadia High School in Rochester, New York and has studied voice since childhood, including private vocal lessons with Eastman's Jane Gunter-McCoy. Benhamin has had the lead vocal roles in several Eastman Opera Theatre performances, including The Merry Widow. (lhg)

John K. Golden and Samuel T. Harrold Win 2008 Goldwater Scholarships

University of Rochester Physics sophomore John K. Golden and junior Samuel T. Harrold have been named 2008 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars.

The Goldwater Scholarship, which is endowed by the U.S. Congress to honor the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, is designed to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

  • Sophomore John K. Golden (class of 2010), left, is earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Mathematics. John is the Social Coordinator and a member of the Society of Physics Students and won the 2007 Iota Book Award. Currently, he is doing research with Prof. Nicholas Bigelow.
  • Junior Samuel T. Harrold (class of 2009), right, is earning a BS in Physics and a BS in Mathematics. He is the Secretary and a member of the Society of Physics Students, and in 2007, he won a Department of Energy National Undergraduate Fellowship in Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy Sciences while an REU undergraduate at Rochester. Currently, he is doing research with Professor Daniel Watson.

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Kristin M. Beck Wins 2007 Physics Honors Prize

The Department of Physics congratulates Kristin M. Beck, the 2007 recipient of the Physics Honors Prize, which is awarded annually to the top-performing undergraduate in the freshman/sophomore Honors Physics sequence. Kristin's instructors in PHY 141, 142, 143, and 237 selected her from a pool of six qualified candidates.

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» More Undergraduate Student Awards