On May 14th the Department of Physics celebrated eleven graduates in the class of 2016: Brian Alden, Alejandro Barazza-Valdez, Erin Britt, Michael Helton, Max Levinson, Jacob Maibach, Sri Murthy, Zoe Pierce, James Ranfone, Cynthia Trinh, and Zach West.
The accomplishments of these excellent students were highlighted in a department party in which many family members, other students, and faculty members participated (more than 50 people in total). Everybody enjoyed some light snacks and drinks, and many very proud parents, grandparents, family, and friends, heard Prof. Briscoe, the Department Chair, praise the graduates for their achievements. He also presented departmental awards to several undergraduate and graduate students: the Professor Emeritus J. Roger Peverley Prize for Undergraduate Research in Physics to the graduating Brian Alden; the Berman Prize for Excellence in Experimental Physics to the graduating Sri Murthy; and the W. Parke Prize for Excellence in Theoretical Physics to the graduate students Dehua Guo and Bin Hu.
The department was very pleased to award Special Departmental Honors to three students this year: Brian Alden, Sri Murthy, and Jacob Maibach. All three students had a GPA of over 3.5, both overall and in physics, and did a two-semester, in-depth research project of significant depth. Brian Alden did his research on “Searching the Universe for Radio Transients with LOFAR” with Prof. van der Horst, and will go to University of Colorado Boulder for graduate school in astrophysics. Jacob Maibach did his research on “Theoretical Foundations for Cutoff-Clustering in Analysis of Transcription Factor Distributions” with Prof. Peng, and will study for a Masters in Data Science at GW. Sri Murthy did her research on “Analysis of Cisterns and Projection Neuron to Kenyon Cell Specificity in the Full Adult Fly Brain” at Janelia Farm Research Campus, and will go to medical school at GW.
At the end of the award presentation, all the graduating students received two gifts that will remind them of their time at GW for years or decades to come: a GW Department of Physics mug; and a wooden pyramid puzzle, similar to the one they all used to entertain themselves with at the Physics front office. After donning the robes, the faculty and students participating in the Columbian College celebration had a photo shoot on the Corcoran building steps.
The department is very proud of this year’s graduating class. Congratulations to the graduating students, and we wish them every success in the future!