The University of Utah
Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah

2018 Department Awards & Scholarships

Graduation and commencement exercises for the University of Utah took place on May 3, 2018. The Department of Physics & Astronomy congratulates all of its 2018 graduates and welcomes them to their alumni family.

The Department of Physics & Astronomy also congratulates all its 2018 student award recipients on their hard work and accomplishments. Recipients were honored at the Physics & Astronomy Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, May 1st at 2:00 PM in the James Fletcher Building.

Congratulations to our 2018 graduates and scholarship recipients!
(* denotes Honors degree)

2018 Awards & ScholarshipsBaccalaureate DegreesMasters DegreesPh. D Degrees

Scholarship Recipients
Joshua Bromley
Connor Houghton
Maile Burnett Marriott
Kaitlin McLean

Paul Gilbert Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award
Teddy Anderson

Martin Hiatt Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award
Alisa Mann

David & Karen Imig Undergraduate Scholarship for Women
Rylee Cardon

Outstanding Undergraduate Sophomore Award
Jonah Barber

Outstanding Undergraduate Junior Award
Robert Stahulak

Outstanding Undergraduate Senior Award
Caleb Webb

Thomas J. Parmley Scholarship
Jade Aderibigbe
Megan Schneider

Tyler Soelberg Memorial Award
Jade Aderibigbe

Preston J. and Phyllis R. Taylor Undergraduate Award
Elom Amematsro

Walter Wada Scholarship for Undergraduate Physics Major
Galen Bergsten

Diversity Award
Flo Doval
Neda Lotfizadeh
Elom Amematsro

Irvin and Norma Swigart Scholarship
Megha Agarwal
Rajesh Malla
Ye Tian

Outstanding Graduate Student Award
Xiaojie Liu
Zhuxi Luo

Outstanding Graduate TA Award
Nathan Gundlach
Jason May

Outstanding Post-Doctoral Research Award
Hao Liang Liu

Students’ Choice Award for Undergraduate Seminar
Rich Ingebretsen
Christoph Boehme

Kyle Ahn
Matthew Bernstein
Joseph Blanton Isaac Buckland
Taylor Buckway
Haili Campbell
Benjamin Cantera
Tyler Crum
Elijah Forbes
Timothy Gannon
Glen Hamblin
Mark Hayward
Tyson Howes
Kamal Ibrahim
Isaac Johnson
Nels Jorgensen
Tyler Kaiser
Konstan Karpos
Sterling Leduc
Charles Lucas
Sean Martinson
Shalin Patel
Connor Pearrow
Joshua Peterson
Karli Rees
Robbie Robinson
Jeffrey Rodgers
Gregory Rutledge
Deric Session
James Skowronek
Shaun Snow
Mahdi Sofla
Sabastion Sorensen
Gregory Spencer
Cole Takasugi
Jesse Warner
Caleb Webb
Matthew Wilkinson
Sandip Aryal
Mykola Peshyn
Julia Russ
Xiatong Zheng
Christopher Ahn
Douglas Baird
Sangita Baniya
Thapa  Bijaya
Nathan Gundlach
Shirin Jamali
Gajadhar Joshi
Jon Paul Lundquist
Dieu Duc Nguyen
Lei Shan
Haojie Xu


Commencement & Convocation Information 2018

Commencement & Convocation Information 2018

From the Office of the Registrar & the College of Science


University Commencement will be held on Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 6:30pm in the Jon M. Huntsman Center (Map). Candidates for graduation in the summer 2017, fall 2017, spring 2018, or summer 2018 terms may attend.

Commencement is open to the public and free to attend. No tickets or RSVP required. This year's commencement speaker will be Ben Nemtin, star of MTV's "The Buried Life" and New York Time's best-selling author. Barbara Tanner and Raymond Uno will receive honorary doctorate degrees, the highest honor give by the university. Those who are unable to attend commencement can watch it streamed live on

For those of you attending or participating in graduation ceremonies this spring, here's some important information.


(For the entire campus where the VIPs speak)
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Jon M. Huntsman Center (Map)

  • 5:00 pm - Graduates assemble in the Parking Terrace west of the Huntsman Center dressed in cap and gown
  • 5:30 pm - Guests should be seated
  • 5:45 pm - Procession begins
  • 6:30 pm - Commencement ceremony begins


(Where your name is called and you walk across the stage)
College of Science (Click here for other colleges' date, time and location)
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Jon M. Huntsman Center (Map)
More info

  • 7:15 - 7:45 am - Graduates assemble outside Jon M. Huntsman Center (see the link above for additional details)
  • 9:00 am - Convocation ceremony begins
  • 11:00 am College of Science Reception - location TBA


Following the Convocation, graduates and their guests are invited to a reception for the College of Science Class of 2018. Details to be provided soon.


Convocation will also be streamed live online so forward these links to family and friends who want to view it, but can't attend:
On-demand streaming of the College of Science Convocation will be available here.
The live stream link will be available here.


Campus parking lots may be used at no charge during commencement and convocation ceremonies. Please see the commencement parking map for parking locations as well as shuttle and TRAX stops. Additionally, since campus parking is limited, we encourage the use of UTA TRAX on these days. The use of TRAX while on campus is free both days, but fare is still required for any off campus travel.

Shuttle Services

As campus parking is limited, graduates and their guests are encouraged to use the free campus shuttle service to travel between commencement events. Shuttles run throughout campus and are scheduled every 10 minutes. Track the current location of any campus shuttle using the Live Shuttle Tracker.

Accessible Parking

For a map to all accessible parking options on campus, visit the campus map and select the "Accessible" option from the Map Features drop-down menu.

Construction Alerts

For a map with notifications regarding all parking lots effected by campus construction, view the campus map and select the "Construction" option from the Map Features drop-down menu.

Commuter Services

For more information about transportation and parking options, visit the Commuter Services website.

To learn more, please visit the Commencement Ceremony Parking & Transportation page.



Presented by the Motley Wandering Minstrels, "Copenhagen", a play by Michael Frayn, opens on Thursday, April 12 and will close Saturday, April 21.
The show will be held on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 7 p.m. in room 102 of the James Fletcher Building on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City!

A play by Michael Frayn, about the secret meeting of Niels Bohr & Werner Heisenberg in 1941.

Click to enlarge

From the Daily Utah Chronicle:

Winner of the 1999-2000 Tony Award for Best Play.

"In 1941, Werner Heisenberg, one of [Niels] Bohr’s top students, went to visit him in Copenhagen for a private meeting,
'and what happened at that meeting has been a topic of discussion ever since,' according to director Beth Bruner.
In this play, Bohr and Heisenberg meet in the afterlife and try to work out what exactly they did at that meeting and why they did it."



With a cast of members from the University of Utah community, including pre-med student Jesse Peery as Werner Heisenberg and theatre professor Richard Scharine as Niels Bohr.

Dates & Time:

  • Thursday, April 12 @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 13 @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 14 @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 19 @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, April 20 @ 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, April 21 @ 7:00 p.m.

Location: Room 102 of the James Fletcher Building at the University of Utah. (Click link to view map)

Tickets & More Information. Copenhagen is open to everyone. Tickets are $5 for the general public, and free for students with their ID. You can pay or show your ID at the door, but seating is limited, so email the Motley Wandering Minstrels at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for reservations.

Click here to learn more and read the article by the Daily Utah Chronicle.


Frontiers of Science with Dr. Ryan J. Watts

Thursday, April 12, 2018 @ 6:00 p.m. - Frontiers of Science with Dr. Ryan J. Watts! "Charting New Territory in Neurodegeneration" in room 220 of the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building (ASB) on the U of U Campus!


with Dr. Ryan J. Watts,
Ryan J. Watts, PhD, CEO, Denali Therapeutics

Date & Time: Thursday, April 12, 2018  at 6:00pm

Location: 220 Aline Skaggs Building at the University of Utah
View Map

Neurodegeneration is one of the largest medical challenges of our time. Recent human genetic and cell biological insights into the causes and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases is offering new territory for the discovery and development of effective medicines. At Denali Therapeutics, Dr. Watts is leading a team of scientists and clinicians focused on inventing disease-modifying therapies to halt neurodegeneration. Denali is elucidating the biological mechanisms of four pathways with direct links to neurodegeneration. Understanding these pathways is leading to the discovery of biomarkers and therapies to treat disease. Nevertheless, a major barrier to developing neurological disease medicines has been the body’s own defense mechanism, known as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which has evolved to protect the brain from toxins. In addition to pursing new targets, Denali is engineering medicines to cross the BBB and access disease targets in the brain.

Frontiers of Science is free and open to the public. The Frontiers lecture series features eminent scientists and researchers from across the country who are exploring the latest frontiers in their fields. All lectures are free and open to the public, although tickets are required and seating is limited. Click here to learn more about the Frontiers of Science lecture series.


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