Students Honored for Excellence in Physics, Optical Engineering & NanoEngineering

Friday, May 10, 2024
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Students majoring in physics, optical engineering, and nanoengineering will be using their STEM skills in industry, research, and graduate/doctoral programs, and summer internships throughout the country.

The Department of Physics and Optical Engineering has recognized its 15 graduating seniors as well as several underclass students for their scholastic accomplishments, research interests, and extracurricular activities during their college careers or 2023-24 academic year.

Department Head Galen Duree, PhD, highlighted Peyton D. Miller for receiving the John W. Rhee Memorial Award as the outstanding graduating physics senior, in the opinion of the department’s faculty and staff members. He is also majoring in optical engineering and plans to study areas of material sciences in a doctorate program at the University of Illinois. The award recognizes Rhee, an inspiring teacher and outstanding scholar in physics and astronomy from 1965-77. 

Arjent Imeri earned the Jean M. Bennett Award for being the graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in optical engineering. He is also majoring in nanoengineering and plans to continue his optical engineering studies at the University of Central Florida. Bennett was a research scientist and Optical Society of America’s first woman president.

Janine Dias was named the outstanding graduating senior in nanoengineering for being considered dynamic in academic and laboratory responsibilities, as well as performing meritorious work in an industry or research setting. She is also majoring in optical engineering and plans to work with Hewlett Packard in Austin, Texas, after graduation.

Other graduating seniors are optical engineering majors Annie Anderson, Brad Barrett, Alex Fiani, Ruby Kauffman, Alfred Moore, Trevor Piazza, and Ben Wright; physics majors Brenden Harris, Gus Larson, and Robert Walker; and nanoengineering majors Emma McMillan and Samuel Sheeder.

These graduates are planning to begin professional careers, graduate school, or doctorate programs in optics, physics, nanoengineering, electronic data structures, computer engineering, and lasers.

Colin Decker, a senior physics and data science major, received the Perry Family Astronomy Award for making significant contributions to the campus’ astronomy program and Oakley Observatory.

Meanwhile, Micki Rodenbush 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 Bryce Roop, based upon high academic credentials and promise in becoming an optical engineer.

Sarah Nobbe received the Lynn Coyle Award as the outstanding sophomore nanoengineering 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 Colter Couillard-Rodak, Isaac Nuxoll, Harris, and Sheeder. 

Students earning certificates in semiconductor materials and devices were Cliff Baker, Thomas Hanna, Matthew Stepaniak, and Gideon Townsend, along with Imeri, McMillan, and Sheeder.

Mathematics senior Aden Shaw was recognized for being the Institute’s first theoretical physics minor, while Dias was highlighted for earning a minor in solid state physics/material science.