Students Honored for Excellence in Physics, Optical Engineering

Friday, June 19, 2020
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Graduating seniors and upper-level students received a variety of honors this spring for their scholastic, research and extracurricular interests in areas of physics, optical engineering and engineering physics.

The Department of Physics and Optical Engineering has recognized several of its 2020 graduates as well as other underclass students for their scholastic accomplishments, research interests and extracurricular activities.

Gavin La Rue of Columbia City, Indiana, received the John W. Rhee Memorial Award as the outstanding graduating physics senior, in the opinion of the department’s faculty and staff members. The award recognizes Rhee, an inspiring teacher and outstanding scholar in physics and astronomy from 1965-77.

Rebecca Su earned the Jean M. Bennett Award for being the graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in optics. The St. Louis native was a leader of Rose-Hulman’s chapter of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and a member of the international society for optics and photonics (SPIE). Bennett was a research scientist and OSA’s first woman president.

Allison Harpel of Cecil, Ohio, was named the outstanding graduating senior in engineering physics for being considered dynamic in academic and laboratory responsibilities, as well as performing meritorious work in an industry or research setting. The former OSA chapter president had two summer internships in process development with Boston Scientific and assisted in research for Rose-Hulman’s student team for the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.

An appreciation in acoustics earned graduating senior Jared Martin of Troy, Michigan, the distinguished Wilkison W. Meeks Award. Meeks was a researcher and author who specialized in the field of acoustics, while also being a physics professor at Rose-Hulman for more than 27 years.

Marisa Dimperio, a mechanical engineering graduate, received the Perry Family Astronomy Award for making significant contributions to the campus’ astronomy program and Oakley Observatory. The Pittsburgh native was a leader of the student Astronomical Society and helped coordinate campus and public events at the observatory.

Nathalie Grier of Elburn, Illinois, received the C. Leroy Mason Award, given annually since 1977 to the institute’s most outstanding sophomore physics student. Mason was a Rose-Hulman physics professor from 1945-66.

The Sophomore Optical Engineering Award was presented to Margaret Luffman, based upon high academic credentials and promise in becoming an optical engineer. The Nashville, Tennessee, native is an officer in the OSA and SPIE student groups, while also majoring in mathematics.

Jiaqi Shen from China received the Lynn Coyle Award as the outstanding sophomore engineering physics student. Coyle is a 1972 Rose-Hulman physics alumnus who worked in the oil and gas industry.

Recognized for earning minors within physics and optical engineering were graduating seniors Zhelin Cao, physics; Rhiannon Turner, astronomy; Xinhang Zhan, optical engineering; and Allison Harpel, solid state/materials science.

Students receiving a certificate in semiconductor materials and devices were Joshua Arroyo, Emma Morrison, John Reeve, Lee Stockwell, Rebecca Su, and Jie Yang.

Certificates in medical physics and nanomedicine were presented to Evan Ammidown, Garet Bailey, Katlynn Bussett, Rebecca Su, and Bryan Wolfe.

Students inducted into Rose-Hulman’s chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society were Zhemin Chen, William Cima, Sheston Culpepper, Nathan Fried, Zachary Glover, Kaitlyn Gulley, Noelle Hale, Timothy Li, Jared Martin, Mattias Memering, Martin Narciso, Justin Smerigan, and Yifei Xiao.