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2003 SPS Leadership Scholarship Recipients
Recipients: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 & Previous
Click on name to see profile


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

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

SPS Vivian Hehn Future Teacher Scholarships
Award amount: $1,000 | Award Information

Leadership Scholarships
Award amount: $1,000 | Award Information

Scholarship Recipient Profiles

Sarah Budd -- Lewis & Clark College

Outstanding Leadership Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Sarah BuddI graduated valedictorian from Corvallis High School in 1999. After high school, I entered Lewis and Clark College, where I graduated suma cum laude with a dual physics and mathematics degree in may, 2003. Recently, I completed an honors thesis studying Interstellar Matter with Lewis and Clark professor Steve Tufte.

I have been a member of the Lewis and Clark SPS club for four years. I served as secretary in my junior year and president in my senior year. I was also zone councilor for the Northwest region of the national 2002-2003 SPS council. As president, I worked to revive the Lewis and Clark SPS club. My focus was organizing regular monthly activities, encouraging a campus wide interest in physics, and achieving more active participation in SPS. My greatest achievement was to encourage the development of a wonderful group of leaders who will succeed me in running the 'physics club' next year.

This summer, I will be working as a nature specialist at Girl Scout Camp Whispering Winds, where I hope to instill a love of physics and mathematics to the next generation of potential physicists. Next fall, I will be entering the physics Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. My future plans include a physics professor and teaching at a small college or university while continuing to be involved in active research. In my spare time, (when such a thing exists), I play the viola and cook.

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Thomas Zielinskih -- Drew University
Outstanding Leadership Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

I will be starting my senior year at Drew University this coming fall semester. I am pursuing a degree in physics, with an additional major in computer science and minor in mathematics. In particular, I have found my membership to SPS to be extremely valuable. Our local SPS chapter is very active, and we organize many events annually. The small size of our department allows us to utilize these SPS events in order to build a strong sense of community among members.

Last summer, I was involved in an optical modulator project with Lucent Technologies. This summer I am down at Penn State University conducting research in critical point phenomena with Dr. Moses Chan. Upon my return to Drew University I will most likely resume work in the optics lab towards an honors thesis.

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Mary Bridget Kustusch -- North Park University
Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship -- $2,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Mary Bridget KustuschMary Bridget Kustusch is a senior Physics major, minoring in Math and Biblical Studies, at North Park University in Chicago. Last year, one of her many activities involved beginning an ASL (American Sign Language) choir that performs with the North Park Gospel Choir, for which she has signed since her first year. Other activities on campus include: math tutoring, chapel planning team and volunteering at a soup kitchen. She also worked with Prof. Larry Martin for two years on WebAssign, an online testing program.

Since her freshman year, she has taken an active part in the North Park chapter of the Society of Physics Students and is currently serving as secretary for the second year. For the last two summers, she has participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program through the National Science Foundation (NSF): in 2002 at Northwestern University's Institute for Nanotechnology and in 2003 as a part of the Physics Education Research Group at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her current educational and career goals include a PhD in Physics Education, with a possible focus on teaching Physics to the Deaf and eventually teaching at a small, liberal arts university.

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Joshua Garbe -- University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Vivian Hehn Future Teacher Scholarship -- $1,000 Award
I am a senior student at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point pursuing a degree in physics and mathematics with an actuarial emphasis. I first became interested in physics when I was high school. I had a wonderful teacher that really sparked my interest in physics with his enthusiasm and fire. That was my senior year in high school and I have been studying physics ever since. At the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, many doors have opened for me. I have been able to work with the chair of the department for the last 2 years on a research project in the area of Solid State Physics. It was so successful that we were able recently publish a paper in the Physics and Chemistry of Solids. After college I am planning on attending graduate school to further my education in physics. As of right now I am still undecided on a school and will be applying in the fall.

I have found my membership to SPS to be valuable in that I greatly enjoy the outreach programs that our SPS chapter holds in the community. Every year our chapter holds two rocket launches which we bring in children from the community, help them build small model rockets, and launch them in the same day. It is a blast!

This summer I will be spending my time at Montana State University doing research in the Material Science Department with John J Neumeier. This should be a great summer experience and also a lot of fun since I am also an avid fly-fisherman and outdoorsman. Some of my interests include fishing, hunting, running and music. My future plans are to graduate from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point next year and then move on to graduate school.

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Carmen Band -- Furman University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Carmen BandCarmen Band is from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and graduated Valedictorian of Broome High School in 2000. She is currently a senior physics major at Furman University in Greenville, SC, where she is on the Dean’s List, a physics (general and astronomy) lab assistant, and President of the SPS chapter. She was recently inducted into the National Physics Honor Society, Sigma Pi Sigma, and was selected as a 2003 AAPM Summer Fellow. As a Fellow, she worked at the Gibbs Cancer Center in Spartanburg with mentor David Vassy, Chief Medical Physicist, and aided in clinical research. In the summer of 2002, she participated in the Furman Advantage Undergraduate Research Program where she conducted research in optical astronomy on variable stars. She was 4th runner-up in Miss South Carolina, 2000, where her platform was Cancer Prevention. She has volunteered for the American Cancer Society for many years. In the future, she plans to continue her work with cancer and pursue a Masters and possibly a Doctorate in Medical Physics in the area of radiation therapy.

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Jacob Aaron Barandes -- Columbia University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Jacob Aaron BarandesI was born and raised in New York City, where the American Museum of Natural History was a source of great inspiration to me while growing up. In high school I worked in the museum's astrophysics department, where I was first exposed to physics research, and concurrently attended physics classes in the Columbia University Science Honors Program. I was accepted into Columbia College as a member of the I.I. Rabi Science Scholars program, which provides science-minded undergraduates with funding for summer research every year. My first summer I scripted calibration and diagnostic software for the detector hardware at the Fermi National Accelerator laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and my second summer I used computational techniques as a method for obtaining approximate values of the mean matter density of the universe and the amplitude of mass fluctuations from the mean.

This summer I am working with the theoretical cosmology group here at Columbia, studying the mysterious dark energy thought by some to be accelerating the expansion of our universe. I am currently the secretary and treasurer of the Columbia chapter of the Society of Physics Students, as well as a member of the Columbia Mathematics Society, a club that organizes student-delivered lectures on interesting topics in mathematics.

This past year I was a member of the focus group for Frontiers in Science, a prototype general science course slated for Columbia University's undergradute core curriculum next fall. I am a Barry M. Goldwater scholar, a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, which awarded me a Ford Scholarship, and am an I.I. Rabi and Kann-Rasmussen mathematics contest prize winner. My hopes are to finish my undergraduate studies in physics and math, and then continue on to a Ph.D. program with the eventual goal of working in physics at the university level.

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Kristopher Byboth -- Stephen F. Austin State University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

PS Scholarship Recipient Kristopher BybothI am a senior at Stephen F. Austin State University pursuing a degree in physics, with a double minor in mathematics and astronomy. I will graduate in August then plan to pursue a masters and eventually a PhD in order to reach my career goal of teaching physics at the college level. Currently I am an assistant to Dr. Norman Markworth conducting simultaneous spectroscopy and photometry research on the binary star system CK Boo at the SF A Observatory. I also work as a lab instructor and a math and physics tutor. Outside of school I enjoy playing and watching sports of all types and helping my Fiancee plan our wedding.

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Sandeep Giri -- Coe College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

PS Scholarship Recipient Sandeep Giri.Hello, I’m Sandeep Giri, originally from Calcutta, India and I have been studying Physics and Computer Science at Coe College, Iowa for the past three years.

Currently, I’m working as student researcher at Oakridge Lab in Tennessee for the summer in nano-technology. After that I have one more semester to go before I graduate. During that semester, I will be Teaching Assistant for Modern Physics. Over spring 2003, I will do research in the field of Applied Physics, at Harvard University, Cambridge. I then plan to go to graduate school, where I aim to become an electronics engineer.

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Kalina Gospodinova -- Whittier College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

PS Scholarship Recipient Kalina GospodinovaI am a junior at Whittier College. I am double majoring in physics and mathematics and I am planning to go on pursuing a graduate degree in physics or a related field of mathematical science. I have participated in various research projects including simulating the dynamics of self- organized critical systems, NMR spectroscopy related projects, and projects in observational radio astronomy, which have sparked a strong interest towards physics.

My membership in SPS has given me the opportunity to communicate with other students working in my field and exchange various ideas about research, different projects, etc. Ever since I was little I have been interested in questions about the world-how does it work, what laws does it follow, how does it evolve? When I came from Bulgaria three years ago I was able to get involved in projects and work with amazing teachers that helped me answer some of this questions. You are helping me to continue my education and work and answer even more questions. Once again, thank you for your support. Your generosity makes a difference!

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Mark Harris -- North Carolina State University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Mark HarrisI am a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in physics and applied mathematics, with a minor in Spanish. I attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in high school, and this summer I participated in a study abroad program in Peru. I have participated in research in polymer physics that resulted in a published paper. As a sophomore, I was in charge of our SPS outreach program, presenting physics demonstrations to local 3rd grade classrooms. As a junior, I was SPS president. I look forward to continuing my involvement with SPS my senior year. After graduation, I will continue my physics education in graduate school.

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Hyekyung Kim -- Columbia University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient  Hyekyung KimI am a physics major and rising senior at Columbia University in New York. Over the past three years, I have developed a strong interest in experimental high energy particle physics, in particular, neutrino physics. For the summer following my freshman year, I held an internship at the University of Georgia
working for Professor Loris Magnani in the astrophysics department. The followlng summer, I worked at Fermilab for the experiment FOCUS -- a charm photoproduction experiment. This summer, I have begun a yearlong internship with BooNE, the Booster Neutrino Experiment at Fermllab.

During the semesters (when I am not working on some problem set), I have also spent much time with the SPS chapter at Columbia. We have enjoyed weekly dinners, guest speakers, subscriptions, and study space and lounges. It has been a pleasure for me to help our chapter as much as I can. I also very much enjoy playing the piano and violin, as well as meditation. I hope to pursue a PhD. in physics and continue on to a career that is intellectually rewarding and is of service to others. I hope that I can become a useful physicist, a well rounded person,and a good example for younger students to follow. Finally, I wish to express my deep gratitude to the members of Sigma Pi Sigma for maklng this scholarship possible. I also wish to thank my mentors Loris Magnani, Janet Conrad, and Michael Shaevitz for teaching me, guiding me, and believing in me. Thank you.

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Jeffery Klenzing -- University of Texas at Dallas
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient  Jeffery KlenzingJeffery Klenzing is an undergraduate majoring in physics with a minor in geoscience at the University of Texas at Dallas. He will complete his Bachelor's degree in Spring 2004. His physics research interests include gravity waves, gravitational waves, solid state, astrophyiscs, and geophysics. Hobbies outside of physics include film, opera, foreign languages, and the classics (Dante, Cervantes, etc).

Jeffery was one of seven SPS National Interns in 2003, and spent eight weeks conducting research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Bethesda, MD.

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Khaldoun Makhoul -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Khaldoun Makhoul recently graduated from Towson University in Maryland with a Bachelor's of Science in Physics. Making his way from Syria (where he is from originally), by way of France (where he grew up and holds citizenship), by way of rural Pennsylvannia (where he spent his adolescence), Khaldoun continues his travels, this time toward Cambridge, MA. He is thus currently an incoming graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, entering the Ph.D. program in Physics. He has begun research this summer (2003) with one ofthe most recent additions to the M.LT. Physics faculty, Bruce Knuteson, working on the CDF experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. In the future, Khaldoun hopes to continue in academia, pursuing research in High-Energy Physics either in a university or lab setting.

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Erin Mastrantonio -- Lycoming College
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

Erin Mastrantonio will enter her senior year at Lycoming College in the fall of 2003. As a student of physics, philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics, she has worked hard to prepare herself for a career in the sciences. After spending the summer of 2003 studying cataclysmic variable stars in the University of Wyoming's REU program, Erin has decided to pursue astrophysics in graduate school. In the future, she plans to teach physics and astronomy at the undergraduate level.

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Keith McDonald -- Rowan University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Keith McDonaldI am a senior student at Rowan University pursuing a degree in physics, with a minor in mathematics and I plan on graduating in the Spring of 2004. I am currently involved in optics research. Two of the major projects that I have been involved in are Second Harmonic Generation and reflection spectroscopy of blue bronzes. Optics has always fascinated me since I learned about Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity. It amazed me to think about the implications of traveling near the speed of light.

I have found my membership to SPS to be valuable in that I greatly enjoy the opportunities it gives to undergraduates who are involved in research. SPS has supplied me with a grant to perform research and present it at the March meeting. SPS has been instrumental in making undergraduate research possible for me.

I am from Washington Township, New Jersey and commute to Rowan. Other then my involvement in SPS, I play on Rowan’s volleyball team and I am involved in a local youth group. Volleyball has always been a way for me to break loose and unwind. I am presently getting ready to go to Rice University to take part in their REU program. I am excited to live away for a while and to do research in another university. I hope my experience at Rice will give me a firm direction to my studies for grad school.

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Joseph Nicely -- University of Tennessee
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award
Joseph NicelyIn the fall of 2003, I will be a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. After graduating from the University of Tennessee in the Spring 2004 with a degree in College Scholars with emphasis in Physics and Mathematics, I plan to enter graduate school in the Fall 2004. I am currently compiling a final list of graduate schools I intend to apply to.

This summer I am doing research with Dr. George Siopsis at the University of Tennessee in Theoretical Physics. The title of my project is “Quasinormal Modes of Black Holes.”
This research is funded through the Science Alliance Summer Research Program, a fellowship program at the University. In the Summer 2002 I had also participated in this program by doing a research project, “A Study of Schwarzschild Black Holes”.

I have enjoyed my membership in the SPS immensely. My chapter is currently working on setting up a cosmic ray detector grid at area high schools and then linking our project with other cosmic ray detector projects already set up in the Western U.S.

My participation in SPS has exposed me to a great deal of experimental physics and physicists that I wouldn’t normally come into contact with as my own interests lie in theoretical physics.

I am from Jefferson City, Tennessee. Other than my involvement in the SPS, I work at RecSports at the University of Tennessee and at Dollywood, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. When I am not working on my research, I also spend a great deal of time reading. I enjoy reading books by Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling. I also love to read books about Greek and Roman civilization, history, culture, religion, etc. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Sicily and Italy in Summer 2003. I visited ancient Greek cities in Sicily such as Megara Iblea, Lentini, Syracusa, and Agrigento (where I visited the Valley of the Temples). When I feel like unwinding, I like to play computer games or D&D.

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Colleen O'Brien -- Iowa State University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Colleen O'BrienI am a recent graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, where I majored in physics, chemistry, and general science. While at Coe I participated in glass research (both with the Coe group and in Japan at Sojo University), bioanalytical research, at Loyola University, and enzyme synthesis.

In the fall I will begin graduate work in materials science at Iowa State University. My research at ISU will focus on fast ion conducting glasses for automobile fuel cells. I am originally from Harvard, Illinois, where a few of my eight family members still live.

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Eric Peterson -- Brigham Young University
Leadership Scholarship -- $1,000 Award

SPS Scholarship Recipient Eric PetersonEric Peterson graduated summa cum laude with University Honors from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a degree in physics and a minor in mathematics in April, 2003. Currently he is working as a summer student at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Applied Physics (X) Division. For his graduate studies he plans to attend the California Institute of Technology to pursue a PhD in biophysics.

Eric has found his membership in SPS to be valuable in that he greatly enjoys the opportunity to meet and interact with other physics students. After switching majors from chemistry to physics in his sophomore year he made friends in the BYU SPS chapter who encouraged him to participate in activities and then to run for chapter office, and he has stayed involved ever since. As an officer it has been fun to plan and carry out activities like physics Christmas caroling and research nights to inform newer students of thesis and project opportunities in the department, as well as providing service through the Outreach program to the elementary schools in the area around BYU. His experiences with SPS helped him through the difficult physics curriculum by providing support and friendship and he is looking forward to becoming involved in leadership opportunities as a graduate student as well.

Eric grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, home to the Manhattan Project during World War II which had the responsibility to develop the first atomic bomb. This was a unique environment that has fueled his innate interests in science and mathematics! Besides studying physics and serving as an SPS officer at BYU he also enjoyed playing cello in the BYU Symphony Orchestra and performing with the Ballroom Dance team. He is excited to pursue graduate studies and make a contribution as a professional in physics!

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