Physics graduate students earn CLAS excellence awards

The department is pleased to announce that two physics graduate students have received awards of excellence from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS).  Jaqulin Wallace has been awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Excellence in Teaching Award for 2019, and Matthew Parent has been awarded the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Excellence in Research and/or Creative Activity Award for 2019. Both Wallace and Parent are students in the laboratory of Sam Hess.

Jaqi Wallace is being honored for being consistently excellent in her teaching across introductory physics and astronomy courses ranging from general education to the calculus-based course for engineers and physical scientists, informal education opportunities and professional presentations.  As a TA, her supervising instructors for PHY 121, MacKenzie Stetzer and Saima Farooq, noted her extensive commitment and consistency and her thoughtful contributions to the course and the students.  Student comments in multiple physics and astronomy courses emphasized Jaqi’s enthusiasm in particular, as well as her knowledge of the content and her technique in the classroom.  One student wrote that Jaqi “allows students to think for themselves,” which is particularly gratifying to the faculty: this is exactly what the TAs are prepared to do pedagogically, but it is difficult to achieve in practice.  The threads through all of the comments from students, faculty, and staff emphasize Jaqi’s command of the content, her enthusiasm in the classroom, and her desire to help the learning process. These themes arise in all her teaching assignments as well as her public and professional presentations as well.

Mat Parent is being recognized for his productivity, for the significance of his work, and for his selflessness.  Mat’s dissertation research is leading to 6 publications (published papers, submitted manuscripts, and manuscripts in preparation).  His work in super-resolution microscopy, membrane cell biology, virology, signal transduction, and muscular dystrophy has been described by Sam Hess as “consistently excellent.”  “Mat is the one I go to when I need something to work. My collaborators ask for him specifically, too.”  Hess recognized Mat for his willingness to share his expertise with past and present lab members: “Everyone in the lab knows they can approach Mat with questions about almost anything, and he will help them. This virtue goes far above my expectations for even a senior graduate student.”

Jaqi and Mat are being recognized at the CLAS Awards Ceremony, which will be held on April 29, starting at 4:00, in the McIntire Room of the Buchanan Alumni House.