2020 Outstanding Students

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, June 18, 2020

    Each spring, the College of Optical Sciences recognizes incredible students, as nominated by professors and selected by a faculty committee. We would like to congratulate John Mack (Outstanding Senior), Ryan Hamilton (Outstanding Graduate Student TA), Ben Cromey (Outstanding Graduate Student) as the 2019-2020 Outstanding Students of the Year. 

    Outstanding Graduate Student

    The Outstanding Graduate Student award was given to Ben Cromey (nominated by Khanh Kieu). Professor Kieu had to say of Ben:

    Sam Nerenberg was the 2018-2019 Outstanding Graduate Student receipient, nominated by Professor Brian Anderson.

    Ben has just successfully defended his PhD thesis. I don’t have enough words to tell you about the great things that Ben has done in my lab and his numerous outstanding contributions to our College whether it’s the laser fun day, the SOCK management, the teaching engagement with Mike Nofziger, our recent academic program review, etc. Ben has published 10 peer-reviewed journal papers so far and a couple more in preparation/submitted stage. His research has been systematic and very thorough. I can always rely on him and he has been often met or exceed my expectations. Ben is clearly the best student that I have had in my group so far. It has been always a great joy to work with him. He goes along well with everyone in my group and beyond. There were close to 100 people who attended his Zoom PhD defense today. I can go on forever talking about the great things that Ben has done. But I want to be brief here. Ben fully deserves to be one of our outstanding graduate student and I support his nomination strongly. 

    Outstanding Undergraduate Student

    The Outstanding Undergraduate Student award was given to Senior student John Mack (nominated by John Koshel). John was recognized for the following characteristics: 

    Outstanding Undergraduate Student award goes to Adriana Stohn for 2018-2019.

    Not only did John excel in his academics in the B.S. Optical Sciences and Engineering undergraduate program, but he also did a great deal of work outside the formal classroom. In addition to his BSOSE degree, he will be graduating with minors in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering. Doing this additional degree work takes a high level of devotion and passion, which was remarked upon by the faculty of Optical Sciences. Outside the classroom he has been active as a student researcher here and during summer internships. These research explorations have taken him from modeling and fabricating optical systems during an internship at Sandia Laboratories and in the research labs at the University of Arizona, to thermomechanical modeling and thermal effect alleviation in an REU program at Colorado State
    University and in the research labs at the University of Arizona. Simply said, he is interested in all things STEM related because he wants to know the “why.” His curiosity knows no bounds, which many professors in Optical Sciences can attest to through the many challenging questions he asks in the classroom, in the Zoom rooms, and even as one is walking down the hallway.

    Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant

    The Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Assistant award was given to Ryan Hamilton (nominated by Felipe Guzman). Ryan was recognized for the following characteristics:

    Ryan Hamilton, recipient of the 2019-2020 Outstanding Teaching Assistant award from John Koshel

    Ryan has served as the TA of our core sophomore course OPTI-202R Geometrical and Instrumental Optics II during the Spring Semester 2020. As the instructor of this course, serving 33 students, Ryan’s work and assistance has overwhelmingly exceeded my expectations...Ryan has supported my lectures and our students offering office hours 3 times per week...he has provided several review sessions to help students further understand how to apply the concepts I cover in lectures to solving real problems. Ryan prepares for these review sessions very thoroughly and coordinates the contents of every session with me. Moreover, his office hours have been consistently well-attended. Furthermore, I have greatly appreciated Ryan’s proactive approach and continuous communication with me, transmitting his suggestions, concerns, and possible improvements to best serve our students...He continues to provide his regular office hours through ZOOM, which remain well-attended. He has provided invaluable assistance preparing and grading homework, and assisting me in grading and proctoring exams, which we have had to hold through ZOOM as well. Frankly, his performance has been nothing less than outstanding, consistently and continuously exceeding my expectations, particularly under the current challenges we are experiencing with distance learning for sophomores.