Programs & Awards  
2013 SPS Leadership Scholarship Recipients
Recipients: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 & Previous
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Outstanding LeadershipOutstanding Leadership  
Outstanding Leadership Winners: Julia Gonski & Elana Urbach  

Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
Award amount: $3000 | 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

Julia GonskiJulia Gonski—Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
Rutgers University
I am a third year student at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with a major in physics and minors in mathematics, computer science, and Middle Eastern studies. I first got involved with high energy research in my freshman year, and have since worked on several different projects, including searches for supersymmetry and the Higgs boson. Last summer, my work brought me to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I will be spending my upcoming summer working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Outside of physics, my secondary pursuit here at Rutgers has been the study of Eastern culture and religion, and I had the opportunity to study abroad in India this past year. After graduation, I plan to enroll in a Ph.D. program to continue my research in high energy experimental physics, and will hopefully obtain a professorship at a research university following my doctorate.

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Elana UrbachElana Urbach—Outstanding Leadership Scholarship
College of William & Mary
I am a physics major and math minor at the College of William and Mary. I served as the president of my chapter this year and have enjoyed working to expand its membership and activeness. Activities have ranged from attending SPS Congress as chapter reporters to touring a local power plant to building trebuchets and hovercrafts. I have also participated in and helped organize many outreach events, such as PhysicsFest, an annual festival held by my university’s physics department. I helped the chapter receive a Marsh W. White Award to start Demos in the Sun, an outreach event aimed towards college students. After I graduate, I plan to pursue a PhD in physics. In summer 2012 I did single molecule biophysics through the physics REU program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in summer 2011 I did solar physics research through the REU program at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, NM. I am currently doing research in an ultra-cold AMO lab at my university. I am interested in many areas of physics research, and although I have not decided definitively which area I will specialize in, I am looking forward to a career in physics research. Outside of physics, I enjoy reading, running, hiking, and generally going on adventures.

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Katrina HansonKatrina Hanson - Herbert Levy Memorial Scholarship
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
I am pursuing undergraduate degrees in Applied Physics (with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry) and Bioproducts Engineering via a collaborative program with the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. My time is shared among my roles as a full time student, a technical aide at 3M, and the president of the UWRF SPS chapter. I was recently inducted into Sigma Pi Sigma, which I consider to be a great honor. I enjoy participating in physics outreach activities, especially when I have the opportunity to encourage young women and girls to pursue technical careers. My hope is to pursue a career that will contribute to current research, development, and proliferation of sustainable material and energy technology. Singing in the UWRF Concert Choir, spending time with my friends and family, and doing creative projects such as crafting and baking are some of the things I do for fun.
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Matthew OttenMatthew Otten - Herbert Level Memorial Scholarship
Illinois Institute of Technology
I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree with a major in Physics and a minor in Philosophy and Sociology of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology. As an undergraduate, I have served as President of the Society of Physics Students for two years and restarted Sigma Pi Sigma on our campus, of which I am a member. I also served as Executive Vice President of the Student Government Association and as a member of the IIT Leadership Academy. I will be attending Cornell University in the fall to start working on my Ph. D. in Physics, specifically condensed matter theory.

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Elizabeth OlsonElizabeth Olson - Future Teacher Scholarship
Union University
As SPS president for the 2012-2013 school year, I have enjoyed organizing activities and mentoring younger students. I love to encourage my constituents to enjoy their work and persevere. In May 2014, I will graduate from Union University with my bachelor’s degree in Physics, with minors in Professional Education and Mathematics. After that, I hope to get a high school physics teaching job and perhaps someday go to graduate school. Currently, I play the French horn in the Union University Symphonic Band and am a member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. In my spare time, I love to spend time with family and friends, play the piano, read Tolkien and other classics, and fold origami.

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Nathan BarnesNathan Barnes - Leadership Scholarship
Coe College
Nathan is the lead software developer for an NMR data analysis tool that is in use at Coe College, and an active member of SPS. He's doing three majors at a liberal arts school and still has enough time tear up the dance floor on the weekends.

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Christian BayensChristian Bayens - Leadership Scholarship
University of North Alabama
My name is Christian Bayens and I am a rising junior at the University of North Alabama. Raised in Auburn, I attended UNA originally to pursue an education in Entertainment Technology. After a semester, I decided to change my major to Mathematics and then ultimately to Professional Physics. I also became very involved on campus, joining organizations such as the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, Student Government Association, and the Society of Physics Students. I was almost immediately voted in as the treasurer of SPS after proposing ideas for funding a trip to the 2012 PhysCon conference in Orlando, Florida. The trip was a major success and one member of our SPS chapter even took home a first place prize for her astronomy poster project. Recently, I have been working on an astronomy project of my own on the subject of galactic cannibalism. At the 2013 Alabama Academy of Sciences meeting, I presented the project in the Math and Physics poster competition and was awarded the first place prize. In the future, I plan to continue conducting and presenting undergraduate physics research for the University of North Alabama. Ultimately, I hope to attend graduate school to study Applied Physics and eventually teach at the university level.
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Audrey BurkartAudrey Burkart—Leadership Scholarship
Augustana College
I am currently a junior pursuing a major in engineering physics with a mathematics minor at Augustana College in South Dakota. I have been involved with SPS since my freshman year, serving as Vice-President my sophomore year and President my Junior year. This last year I have also served as Associate Zone Council for Zone 11. I spent the summer of 2011 doing research on Dusty Plasmas at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I spent the next summer researching Nematic Liquid Crystals at University of Colorado, Boulder.
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Justin DoveTyler Lane —Leadership Scholarship
Minnesota State University - Moorhead
"My name is Tyler Lane. I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MN and I am currently a junior attending college at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) as a physics major. I have been an active member of MSUM’s Society of Physics Students (SPS) since the fall of 2010. I have served as the historian (secretary), treasurer, and this fiscal year I was the president of our club. I am also the president of MSUM’s men’s club soccer team and play as the team’s goalkeeper. I am also currently taking engineering courses at North Dakota State University (NDSU). I plan to graduate from MSUM in the spring of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in physics with an emphasis in medical physics. After graduation, I plan to pursue further and higher education to obtain a degree in electrical engineering, and then focus on getting a graduate degree in the field of biomedical engineering. "

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Allen ScheieAllen Scheie — Leadership Scholarship
Grove City College
Allen is a junior physics and philosophy double major at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. In his time as a Grove City student, he has spent a summer internship and four semesters researching nanotechnology on campus, and in 2012 he was a part of the SPS Mather Policy Internship, where he interned for Congress on the Science Committee. He has been actively involved with the local SPS chapter since he came to college, and he will be serving as president for his senior year. After graduating, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in experimental physics, but he is not yet sure which area interests him most. Outside the classroom, Allen is assistant captain of the GCC varsity debate team, runs tutoring sessions for physics students, and has recited the periodic table in four breaths. In his spare time, he enjoy reading, piano, backpacking, and debate, with a little Frisbee-golf on the side.
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Daken StarkenburgDaken Starkenburg — Leadership Scholarship
Coe College
My name is Daken Starkenburg and I will be senior next fall at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am majoring at Coe in physics and am also receiving a minor in mathematics. I am a varsity member of the men’s tennis team at Coe College and also participate in Physics Club. Since coming to Coe, I have done two summers of materials research, one at Coe and one at Corning Inc. in New York. I plan on continuing my research for another summer at Coe again this summer. Following my graduation in May of 2014, I am planning on going to graduate school for physics.
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Hannah McWilliamsEvan Troendle —Leadership Scholarship
Coe College
Evan Troendle is a physics and music major hailing from Coe College of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is very active in Coe's SPS chapter as the event coordinator for the past two years; he was recently reelected to his post and was admitted as a member of ΣΠΣ this spring. Evan is also heavily involved in numerous musical ensembles on campus ranging from chamber choirs to a jazz ensemble where he plays electric guitar. Mr. Troendle is pursuing a graduate path in materials engineering, condensed matter physics or another STEM discipline. This summer, Evan will be on a research exchange grant from the Lehigh IMI to Dr. Edgar Zanotto's lab in Brazil where he will study a thermal anomaly in initially modified glass systems. Evan greatly desires to give back to the physics students of the future as a professor or professional scientist with gratitude for the support he has been given in his physics career as a first-generation scientist.
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Dennis TrujilloDennis Trujillo — Leadership Scholarship
New Mexico State University
As a student in the Physics BS program at New Mexico State University I have been greatly pleased to be able to serve as a leader within various programs at the collegiate level including Society of Physics Students. I am currently President and President-Elect of the New Mexico State University chapter of Society of Physics Students and a current representative of the Department of Physics within the College of Arts of Science Student Ambassadors program and actively involved in the College of Arts and Science Student Council. Likewise I am actively involved in research within the NMSU Department of Physics High Energy Particle Physics Group having presented most recently at APS Denver 2013. I am originally from Espanola, NM and have always held an interest in Physics, in particular novel solutions in Computational Physics.
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Lesley VestalLesley Vestal —Leadership Scholarship
Wofford College
I have always been curious about physics, which has continually driven me to further my education. I am a Physics Major attending Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. I transferred to Wofford in January 2012 from the University of British Columbia. By the end of the semester, another physics major and I had started working on reviving Wofford's inactive SPS. By the end of this year, we hope to have established a chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma on campus as well. It has been a privilege to be involved with this group which has fostered a greater sense of community within the department, with activities such as an outreach teaching elementary students as well as stargazing on campus. Monthly, we have hosted speakers working in physics and engineering, many of whom are alumni. Past speakers have discussed their educational experiences and careers at companies including Millikan, General Electric, and national labs. After being Vice President this year, I feel well prepared for next year as SPS President. During the summer following my sophomore year, I participated in an NSF REU at Baylor University. This was a wonderful experience and I loved being involved in research; I have since presented this research at multiple conferences. This semester, I have enjoyed working as a Teaching Assistant for an Astronomy lab course, and learning General Relativity as part of a research course. In the fall, I hope to attend more physics conferences with my fellow SPS members. After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school and pursuing a PhD in Physics, concentrating on theoretical physics.
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Alison WhaleAlison Whale — Leadership Scholarship
Coe College
I’m a current junior at Coe College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My current activities include playing cello, Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, serving as Vice President of Coe’s Panhellenic Executive Council, and secretary of our physics club. After graduation, I plan on going to grad school for material physics and pursuing a job in research and development.
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