Awards, Promotions & Recognition: Summer 2009

Our world-class faculty are renowned scholars, recognized both nationally & internationally for their research achievements. in Summer 2009, many of our faculty and students were recognized for their achievements.



Jordan Gerton

National Science Foundation Early Career Award

This award recognizes efforts made by early-career faculty, not presently funded by the National Science Foundation, seeking a balance between educational outreach and research. The award’s duration is five years and the total amount is about $730,000. “I’m definitely happy and gratified to have received it. It means I can expand my research effort substantially. I also plan to use some of the funds to seed the development of a science teacher training program to improve secondary science education. Sid Rudolph has done a lot of this in the past, as far as I know, and I’m working to get something going, hopefully as early as next summer.”

College Awards Awards from the College of Science given to Physics & Astronomy students:

Thomas J. Parmley Scholarship: Min-A Cho

Kennecott Scholarship: Alec Runyon

Dean’s Scholarship: Elena Deryusheva, Jessica Johnston, Alec Runyon

Research Scholar Award: Cody Holdaway

Crocker Science House Scholar: Jamie Rankin

Brian Saam

Distinguished Teaching Award 2009

The Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes professors who show a steady record of outstanding teaching, an exceptional ability to motivate students, and an involvement in the education and career preparation of students. “It is the one award or recognition that I have received from the University of which I am most proud. I work very hard and devote a significant amount of time to teaching. It is very satisfying to be recognized in this way,” Brian says. “I think the award signifies someone who takes teaching very seriously and I expect it to be of great benefit to me in terms of credibility and accomplishment as I pursue other innovative approaches to teaching and teacher training.“

Outstanding Graduate Student: Josh Holt

Outstanding Teaching Assistants: Rachel Sparks, Eric Twarog, Kip VanSchooten

Outstanding Postdocs: Dane McCamey, Vagharsh Mikhtaryan

Gilbert Prize for Undergraduate Research: Matt Kress

Outstanding Graduating Seniors: Cody Holdaway, Matthew Lindsey

Outstanding Undergraduate: Jessica Johnston Scholarships Nicholas Dana , Matthew Humphries, Jessica Johnston, Alec Runyon, Matthew Shaw, Seren Sumsion First

First Astronomy Minor: Tara Spencer

Z. Valy Vardeny

2009 Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence

Valy Vardeny was the 2009 recipient of the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the university’s most prestigious award. The $40,000 gift is presented annually to a faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, research, and administrative efforts. President Michael K. Young presented the award at the 2009 university commencement ceremony, saying, “This prize is the highest honor the university can bestow on one of its own. As a distinguished professor of physics, Dr. Vardeny’s dedication and accomplishment in teaching are rare to find in an individual who has achieved his level of distinction in research. He is an extraordinarily gifted and dedicated scientist, teacher, and administrator. As a leader, he is both influential and inspiring. As an author, he is legendary for his insight and production.” (Written by Taunya Dressler Coralie Alder)


Rank of Professor: Paolo Gondolo, Brian Saam

Clayton Williams

Fellow of the American Physical Society

Clayton Williams was awarded this fellowship for his pioneering and sustained contributions to the field of Scanning Capacitance Microscopy and to the development of the Scanning Capacitance Microscope for both quantitative two-dimensional carrier and dopant profiling, and for the characterization and failure analysis of semiconductor materials and devices (including VLSI products) on a nanometer scale. Nominated by: Industrial and Applied Physics (FIAP) (From APS Physics website).