2017 Outstanding Students

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Each spring, the College of Optical Sciences recognizes incredible students, as nominated by professors and selected by faculty committee. We would like to congratulate Emma Landsiedel, Wenbo Gao and David Sommitz as the 2016-2017 Outstanding Students of the Year. All three were publicly recognized during the Welcome Back Event on Aug. 21, and awarded plaques by Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Programs, R. John Koshel.

    Outstanding Graduate Student

    The Outstanding Graduate Student was awarded to Wenbo Gao, as nominated by Professor Milorad Cvijetic. Professor Cvijetic says of Wenbo:

    Wenbo Gao receives the 1016-2017 Oustanding Graduate Student Award from John KoshelIt is my pleasure to submit this nomination letter for outstanding graduate student award for Mr. Wenbo Gao, who is currently a Ph.D. student conducting research in my lab, and to affirm his outstanding academic, research, and outreach achievements.  

    I can confirm that Mr. Gao has been one of the best students (top one percent) attending these classes. He has been a hardworking individual with excellent problem solving skills and highly promising research potential.

    After admission to the Ph.D. program, Mr. Gao has successfully completed all academic requirements/credits with a maximum 4.0 GPA. He has also successfully passed both oral and written exams with high marks.

    Outstanding Undergraduate Student

    The Outstanding Undergraduate Student award goes to senior Emma Landsiedel, nominated by Professor Mike Nofziger. Professor Nofziger says of Emma:

    Emma Landsiedel Receives the 2016-2017 Undergraduate Award from John KoshelEmma is a fourth-year senior, majoring in Optical Sciences and Engineering, with a double minor in Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics. Academically, Emma has a 4.0 and has made the Dean’s List with Distinction for the past five semesters.

    Emma has a true passion for engineering, and loves to share her enthusiasm with others. As her resume shows, Emma has been an Engineering Ambassador since May 2015, was a counselor for the Summer Engineering Academy (2015), and worked at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory last summer (2016).  Emma is always quick to help her fellow students with their academic studies, both in the classrooms and in their labs. 

    Most notable to me is the extent to which Emma has been involved in all of our optics outreach. Quite literally, if we have had an outreach event, Emma has been a part of it! The list of events includes Laser Fun Day and numerous visits to local schools, some of our most important public outreach. Emma has an outgoing, dynamic personality, and is wonderful in her interactions with the public. She is able to explain technical concepts to the 'non-science' person, in ways that makes STEM come alive! Her public outreach has been vital in our efforts to promote the importance of optical engineering in people's everyday lives.

    Outstanding Teaching Assistant

    The Outstanding Teaching Assistant goes to M.S. student David Sommitz. David was nominated by Professor Hong Hua, who says:

    Outstanding Teaching Assistant for 2016-2017 goes to David SommitzI have to say David is one of the best TAs I have had over the last 13 years. David is an outstanding TA in all aspects and he did a superb job in assisting my teaching of OPTI 471B in the spring 2016. So far he has been as outstanding as what he did in last year. 

    He demonstrated excellent understanding of lecture material and outstanding lab skills, which were instrumental to make the lab experiments run smoothly with limited resources. He devoted his time very enthusiastically to help students solving problems and alignment difficulties. Not only just being there for the students when they needed, often times he encouraged his students' creative thinking and helping them to better understand the lab theory. 

    Overall, David is very patient with students and tried his best to help students in the lab. He is very reliable in all aspects of the work I assigned to him. Most importantly, David is very enthusiastic about teaching and he is willing to make extra efforts to address problems reported by students or requested by the instructor. He spent time helping students improving their video presentations and homework. I am very impressed by his passion for teaching.

    Congratulations to all of you from OSC. Your dedication to optics education will not be forgotten.