Students Honored for Excellence in Physics, Optical Engineering

Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Rose-Hulman students holding awards for physics and optical engineering.

Graduating seniors in physics, optical engineering and engineering physics will be using their STEM skills in industry, research and graduate/doctoral programs. They were recently recognized for their collegiate accomplishments.

The Department of Physics and Optical Engineering has recognized its 12 graduating seniors as well as several underclass students for their scholastic accomplishments, research interests and extracurricular activities during their college careers or 2022-23 academic year.  

Jared Poston received the John W. Rhee Memorial Award as the outstanding graduating physics senior, in the opinion of the department’s faculty and staff members. The award recognizes Rhee, an inspiring teacher and outstanding scholar in physics and astronomy from 1965-77. 

Cody Brelage earned the Jean M. Bennett Award for being the graduating senior who has demonstrated excellence in optics. The Muncie native conducted optics research throughout his college career and designed innovative products that earned top project honors in national optical design competitions. Bennett was a research scientist and Optical Society of America’s first woman president.

Pierce Lonergan was named the outstanding graduating senior in engineering physics for being considered dynamic in academic and laboratory responsibilities, as well as performing meritorious work in an industry or research setting. He had an internship as a thin film process engineer last summer with Texas Instruments and has been active on campus as a sophomore resident tutor and Learning Center tutor.

Other graduating seniors are physics and mathematics double major Elizabeth Canon, physics and biomathematics double major Pierce Ellingson, optical engineering majors Andy June and Andy Krajecki, engineering physics majors Brody Moore and Shawn Troike, optical engineering major Katelynn Myers and Jenna Voticke, and physics major Takezo Kelly. 

These graduates are planning to begin professional careers, graduate school or doctorate programs in optics, physics, electronic data structures, and lasers with Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Technologies Corporation, Cornell University, Wolfspeed Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, the Naval Surface Warfare Center (Crane, Indiana), and University of Minnesota.

Brody Magee, a senior biochemistry and physics major, received the Perry Family Astronomy Award for making significant contributions to the campus’ astronomy program and Oakley Observatory.

Meanwhile, an appreciation in acoustics earned third-year physics and mathematics major Gus Larson the distinguished Wilkison W. Meeks Award. Meeks was a researcher and author who specialized in the field of acoustics, while also being a physics professor at Rose-Hulman for more than 27 years.

Lucas Adams received the C. Leroy Mason Award, given annually since 1977 to the institute’s most outstanding sophomore physics student. Mason was a Rose-Hulman physics professor from 1945-66.

The Sophomore Optical Engineering Award was presented to Julia Norris, based upon high academic credentials and promise in becoming an optical engineer.

Alisha Mastakar received the Lynn Coyle Award as the outstanding sophomore engineering physics student. She is also majoring in optical engineering. Coyle is a 1972 Rose-Hulman physics alumnus who worked in the oil and gas industry. 

Recognized for earning minors within physics, optical engineering or astronomy were graduating seniors John Blessinger, Lane Lawence, and Devin Palmer, all mechanical engineering majors, along with Canon and Kelly.

Jia Webb, a biomedical engineering major, and Troike were recognized for earning minors in medical physics and nanomedicine, while Canon completed requirements for the minor in solid state/materials science.

Students earning certificates in semiconductor materials and devices were Taiwo Arojojoye, Edward Huang, Becca Turner, Lonergan, and Moore.