Programs & Awards  
2011 SPS Leadership Scholarship Recipients
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Left: Claire Chow, and Right: Sajjan Mehta, recipients of the 2011 SPS Outstanding Leadership Scholarships

Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
Award amount: $3,500 | Award Information

Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Future Teacher Scholarship
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Leadership Scholarships
Award amount: $2,000 | Award Information

Claire ChowClaire Chow—Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
I will be a senior majoring in Physics and Mathematics at Idaho State University for the fall of 2011. Last summer, I was in the University of Washington Research Experience for Undergraduates working on Physics Education Research. While I plan to obtain a Doctoral Degree in Physics Education Research and teach at the college level, I am also doing research in other areas of physics to broaden my experience. I’m currently in the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign Research Experience for Undergraduates conducting biophysics research under Dr. Taekjip Ha. After this summer, I will be working in the Chemistry Department at Idaho State dealing with mass spectroscopy and continuing to teach laboratory classes on introductory physics.

Along with research, I’ve been an officer of the Society Physics Students Idaho State Chapter since the fall of 2008. As President and Secretary, I have organized activities such as Pumpkin Chuck Competition, Annual Spring Demo Show, Pi Day, and more.

Outside the academic world, I enjoy reading, knitting, and snowboarding. This summer I’m currently training for a triathlon, century, and marathon.

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Sajjan MehtaSajjan Mehta—Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
In Fall 2011, I will be a senior majoring in physics and mathematics at Drexel University. I have been actively involved with SPS since my freshman year, having participated in outreach and undergraduate research projects as well as worked to expand and improve our chapter. I have served as secretary, vice-president and, this past year, as president of our chapter, and during my senior year I will act informally as a student advisor for SPS and ΣΠΣ.

In addition to SPS, I have contributed to several research projects in my undergraduate career. I have worked on various statistical approaches to quasar selection using optical and near-infrared data, and this summer am studying the x-ray properties of the intracluster medium during an REU at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I plan to attend graduate school to study theoretical or mathematical physics.

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Nicholas PolleyNicholas Polley—Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship
Millikin University, Decatur, IL
I am currently enrolled at Millikin University and I’ll be beginning my senior year in the fall. During this next school year I will continue serving as the president of the Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma. I am also a member of the national honors society Sigma Zeta, the Fraternity Delta Sigma Phi, and I was also recently inducted into the Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities this past year. Last summer I conducted research on dark matter mass with my advisor, Casey Watson. We hope to have a publication with our results, published within the year. Also, after I graduate from Millikin University I intend to go for my masters or PhD. in either a field of physics or engineering. I would love to work for a company developing new types of vehicles or weapon systems or work for a company or the government doing research for them.

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Brandon FureyBrandon Furey - Herbert Level Memorial Scholarship
Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota
Brandon Furey is a senior physics and mathematics major at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He is the activities coordinator for the Society of Physics Students at Gustavus and is active in SPS activities, lectures, and volunteer events. Brandon also volunteers in the Civil Air Patrol and works for the physics department as a lab assistant and tutor. In the summer he skis with the Little Crow Water Ski Team performing shows every Friday night. He is spending six weeks of this summer in California to participate in the NASA Student Airborne Research Program which utilizes a DC-8 flying laboratory to study earth system science. In his upcoming senior year he plans to research a thesis project in acoustics studying sound fields. In the future, Brandon plans to attend graduate school for aerospace engineering or applied physics.

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Andrew PoterekAndrew Poterek - Future Teacher Scholarship
Oakland University
Andrew Poterek is a senior at Oakland University majoring in Physics and pursuing certification in secondary education. He has been a member of the National Society of Physics Students for the past two years and has been actively involved in his local chapter. In the past few years, Andrew has conducted research on anisotropic properties of cartilage and its correlation to Osteoarthritis. He has also been a part of a demonstration building and presenting group at Oakland University that has presented its works for groups such as the Honors College, the Detroit Metro Area Physics Teachers, and local high schools.

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Clayton BargstenClayton Bargsten—Leadership Scholarship
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
I am currently participating in undergraduate research involving the development of soft x-ray lasers from dense plasmas under my professor, Dr. Jorge Rocca.  My career objectives are currently in a bit of a quandary.  I am strongly interested in the field of nuclear/plasma physics and the field of aerospace propulsion.  I hope to work in industry for a bit after completing my undergraduate degree to get a feel for which field I am most suited, and then pursue higher education at that time.  My driving goal is to address the energy issues plaguing our country and the world today.

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Karl DeckerKarl Decker—Leadership Scholarship
Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID
My father is Owen Decker, a PhD in organic chemistry, and my mother Linda has a B.S. in psychiatry. As the fifth of their children to attend college, I’ve worked hard to earn the best grades and support myself and my wife as best as possible. Of all the jobs I’ve worked to pay my way through college, however, my favorite is my part in the triboluminescence research here at BYU-Idaho; the money’s nothing special, but the satisfaction of research is everything I hoped it would be. In the future, I plan to find the best school for a PhD in either CMP or nuclear physics and help form one of America’s best scientific teams.
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Justin DoveJustin Dove —Leadership Scholarship
Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
I am an undergraduate at Adelphi University where I am double-majoring in Physics and Mathematics. I am currently serving my second term as the president of our SPS chapter, and I have recently been elected to the position of Associate Zone Councilor for SPS Zone 2. I am a proud member of both SPS and ΣΠΣ. In my "spare" time I am an active researcher. I have been proposing and working on quantum optics experiments with my advisor, Zone 2 Councilor Dr. Sean Bentley, since the first days of my time at Adelphi. During my summers, I typically pursue research in quantum computation such as an REU at Susquehanna University, summer educational programs at The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and my current research this summer at MIT under Dr. Scott Aaronson.

I have a strong passion for quantum physics, and I hope to eventually make contributions to quantum computation and theoretical physics. As a part of working towards that goal, after my time at Adelphi I will continue a joint degree program by studying Computer Engineering at Columbia University. Following the completion of my undergraduate career, I intend to pursue Ph.D.(s) in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and/or Physics. I hope to attend a university, such as MIT, that has an auxiliary graduate program focusing on quantum computation.

Outside of my academic life, I am a drummer, motorcyclist, mentor for a high school robotics team, and many other things.

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Prabesh DulalPrabesh Dulal—Leadership Scholarship
Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA
My name is Prabesh Dulal. I am from Kathmandu, Nepal. I am going to be a senior physics major with a minor in mathematics. This summer, I am working in an internship with Corning Incorporated, NY. My research at Coe has primarily been on the manufacture and characterization of aluminate glasses and laser modification of vanadate glasses.

I have been involved with the Coe College SPS chapter since my freshmen year and am currently the secretary of the chapter. Other than physics, I am involved with the Coe Fund program and also served as the student office manager and international student outreach coordinator at the Office of Service Learning & Campus Engagement. My areas of interests are engineering and materials and I plan on going to graduate school in the field of materials science & engineering.
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Alec HerrAlec Herr—Leadership Scholarship
Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA
Alec Herr is a senior at Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA) and is originally from Saint Paul, MN.  He is majoring in physics, with a minor in mathematics, and is planning to attend graduate school starting in Fall 2012 to further his studies of physics.  Alec was elected Associate Zone Councilor (AZC) for Zone 11 for the 2010-2011 academic year, and was re-elected to a second term for 2011-2012.  He was awarded an Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and spent the summer of 2011 conducting oceanography and geophysics research at their Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA, where he studied hydrothermal vents on the Juan de Fuca Ridge.  His research experience also includes two summers of research at Coe College studying physical and optical properties of vanadate and borate glasses, and another summer at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom, studying borate glasses using solid-state NMR spectroscopy.  At Coe, Alec has been actively involved with the Physics Club since his first day on campus.  He has organized and promoted outreach events, managed the club’s budget, and as the club’s photographer, documented the club’s activity.  He is the Sigma Pi Sigma president for Coe’s chapter, and will continue to be actively involved with Coe’s Physics Club and SPS in the coming year.


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William LewisWilliam Lewis —Leadership Scholarship
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, Fayetteville, AR
I am currently entering my last year of undergraduate schooling at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. While the ultimate goal is to receive a double major in mathematics and physics, there are many other experiences that form an integral part of my life here in Fayetteville. These experiences include, among other things, my involvement in laser physics research, organization and participation in outreach events for the community, working as a student tutor for the University of Arkansas, and several other activities. After graduating, I plan to attend graduate school and work in atomic, molecular, and optical physics while pursuing a doctoral degree. After completing these goals, I hope to attain a position at a research university so that I may share my passions for research, teaching, and outreach.

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Jason MaldonisJason Maldonis—Leadership Scholarship
Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA
In the fall I will be a junior at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am majoring in physics and mathematics, with a minor in computer science. For the past two summers I have done materials science research on glass and this summer I am attempting to develop a prototype scintillating material that will be placed in the CMS experiment in the Large Hadron Collider. As a member of SPS, I am helping to plan the 2012 Sigma Pi Sigma Congress which is the only national undergraduate physics conference in the US—so you all should attend!

I am originally from Beloit, Wisconsin—an average town right on the border of Illinois. In my free time I like to play cards, read, and travel whenever I get the chance. After I graduate from Coe, I plan to go to graduate school for my Ph.D. in physics.
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Thomas MarkovichThomas Markovich —Leadership Scholarship
University of Houston, Houston, TX
Thomas Markovich is a physics and mathematics double major in his Senior year at the University of Houston. He began performing research with Dr. Donald Kouri while on a Quarknet Fellowship in the summer before his freshman year. At the beginning of his freshman year, he was awarded a Robert A.Welch Foundation Undergraduate Fellowship, to support his continued research, a fellowship he still holds today. During his work with Dr. Kouri, he has made fundamental contributions to their theory of multi-dimensional supersymmetric quantummechanics, published papers in international peer-reviewed journals, won the Hyer and Society of Physics Students (SPS) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher awards, and has been named a 2011 Goldwater Fellow. Additionally, he has been active in his local SPS chapter by creating the inaugural SPS Regional Undergraduate Physics Symposium. This event has fostered collaboration between faculty and administrators from various colleges at the University of Houston. As the fundraising leader for the event, he raised ten thousand dollars and in-kind support, utilized to provide scholarship opportunities for the participants. This event has enabled collaboration between University of Houston Physics students and students from other institutions and helped to cultivate a stronger culture of undergraduate research at the University. Under his purview, the SPS has held many outreach events where the SPS visited underprivileged high schools in the Houston Independent School District and presented various physics demonstrations to encourage students to pursue careers in the sciences; paired undergraduates with faculty sponsored research; and provided upper-division undergraduate mentors for the entering freshman. Next year, Markovich will begin working toward his PhD in Quantum Information Sciences.

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Claire McLellanClaire McLellan—Leadership Scholarship
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Claire is a senior at Wake Forest University studying physics with minors in mathematics and chemistry. She was president of the Wake Forest SPS chapter for the 2010-2011 academic year and is continuing the position for the 2011-2012 academic year. Her enthusiasm for physics comes from working in the laboratory. She participated in summer 2009 in an REU at Arizona State University and in summer 2010 in an international REU at the National Institute of Material Science (NIMS) in Tsukuba, Japan, through the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). In summer 2011, she worked in the Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering (CSTE) at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) while studying science policy. She has worked in the Organic Electronics laboratory at Wake Forest for 2 years. She is a 2011 Goldwater scholar. She is also an active member of the Wake Forest Wesley Foundation. She is a runner, goes horseback riding when she can, and plays the piano.
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Evan NelsenEvan Nelsen —Leadership Scholarship
Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
Evan Nelsen is a Senior Physics Major and Math Minor at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He is originally from Greenville, South Carolina. Evan is currently serving as Secretary for the Society of Physics Students, and has served as the Outreach Officer in the past. As part of that position, he was very active in reaching out to local schools. Evan also runs on the cross-country and track and field teams at Rhodes College. This summer he has taken a research position at Hope College in the field nanotechnology. After college, Evan plans to attend graduate school in physics and earn a Ph.D.
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Peter NguyenPeter Nguyen—Leadership Scholarship
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Peter Nguyen is a senior in the Honors Program at the University of Florida majoring in Physics and Astronomy with minors in Mathematics and Music Performance. He has been President of the UF Chapter of SPS since 2009, and has been re-elected to his third term for the coming year. During his time in office has revitalized the club and continues to redefine its presence at the university. Activities include: creating the first club shirts in over 5 years; increasing membership and participation; and planning and co-hosting more activities with UF’s Undergraduate Astrophysics Society (UAS), including trips to visit Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and Titusville to watch Space Shuttle launches, and to the off-campus Rosemary Hill Observatory and other dark-sky observing sites. He has also fostered increased relations with chapters of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) , American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers on campus through joint activities. Peter has also expanded the outreach programs, most notably hosting a Department of Energy Regional Science Bowl for high school science and math students in 2010 and 2011. The Regional was run entirely by volunteers from SPS, UAS, and SAACS, and the first Regional in the history of the DoE’s program to be run entirely by undergraduate students. Peter was also reelected to a second consecutive term as Zone 6 Associate Zone Councilor for 2011-2012. Aside from physics and astronomy, Peter is interested in computer vision and machine intelligence and is cultivating that interest this summer, as he has for the past five summers with the Air Force Research Laboratory. After graduating, he intends to earn a Ph.D. in astrophysics. In his free time, Peter enjoys reading, playing trumpet, and astro- and landscape photography.

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Kevin SatzingerKevein Satzinger —Leadership Scholarship
Truman State University, Kirksville, MO
I am an undergraduate at Truman State University majoring in physics and mathematics with a minor in computer science. Being a part of Truman's SPS has been a great experience. I participate in weekly tutoring, and last year I served as president, where I led our involvement in the local Science Olympiad competition and our application for the Marsh W. White Award. In my undergraduate career, I have conducted scientific research at Truman, at NSF summer programs at Southern Illinois University and Harvard University, and through a summer internship at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. I plan to continue my study of physics in a Ph.D. program with the goal of becoming a physics professor.

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Amanda SteckAmanda Steck —Leadership Scholarship
University of Wisconsin - River Falls, River Falls, WI
I am currently a senior at UW-River Falls, studying physics and chemistry.  After completion of my undergraduate work, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in physics.  I was elected as the vice-president of the UWRF SPS chapter for the 2011/2012 school year, as well as the Associate Zone Councilor for Zone 9, and I am looking forward to becoming even more active in SPS during the coming year.  When I do get a chance to break out of the science building, I enjoy spending time outside by running and hiking along the Kinnickinnic River.

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