2021 Student Awards in Physics and Astronomy
Jared Parker, a senior with majors in Physics and Mathematical Economics with a concentration in Actuarial Science, receives the Page Award for Excellence in Scholarship based upon his outstanding academic record while a student at WKU. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Jared has been very active in research. Jared’s recent work, under the direction of Dr. Ali Er, involved studying three-dimensional shock wave imprinting on shape memory alloys and artificial bone growth using nanosecond pulsed laser deposition. Jared has served as a learning assistant in the University Physics Laboratory and is a member of the WKU chapter of the national honor society for physics Sigma Pi Sigma.
Alexandra Driehaus, a dual physics and mathematics major, works with Dr. Ivan Novikov as an undergraduate research assistant at the WKU Applied Physics Institute. Alexandra receives this award for her work on a project that focuses on the creation of a machine learning algorithm to categorize the scents of chemicals based on their gas chromatography signals. Alexandra has presented her research at the Kentucky Academy of Science and the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society meetings. Alexandra has accepted a research experiences for undergraduates internship this summer at Alabama A&M.
Lars Hebenstiel, a dual physics and mathematics major and graduate of the WKU Gatton Academy of Science and Mathematics, receives this award for his research with Dr. Ivan Novikov involving an experimental and numerical study of stochastic resonance in the Duffing Oscillator. Stochastic resonance is a form of resonance which can occur in bistable systems due to external noise. Lars has obtained funding from the Kentucky Academy of Science to support his research and has presented findings from his work at the Kentucky Academy of Science and the Southeastern Section of the American Physics Society meetings. Lars has accepted a summer research position at the University of Kentucky.
Colin Loxley wins the Dr. Douglas Humphrey Award for Outstanding Service, awarded to the junior or senior student with a record of service within the department and to science outreach to the community. Colin has helped organize and run many student-centered learning and social activities in the department during a very challenging academic year as treasurer of the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students. He has designed games and other activities, supplied socially distanced snacks for SPS-hosted movies, handled event communications, and tutored university physics students.
Alexandra Driehaus wins the Dr. Douglas Humphrey Award for Outstanding Service, awarded to the junior or senior student with a record of service within the department and to science outreach to the community. Alexandra has led many student-centered learning and social activities in the department during a very challenging academic year as president of the WKU Chapter of the Society of Physics Students. She has run regular meetings and hosted games and other social events with full safety protocols, created educational demonstrations of physics principles, and tutored university physics students.