Honors and awards

Each year, Illinois Physics recognizes student excellence at a special awards banquet. In 2019, the Fortieth Physics-on-the-Campus Luncheon was held at the Illini Union on Wednesday, April 24. Many of the awards are made possible through the generous support of our alumni.

Group of people getting food from a buffet table
Faculty, staff, students, and students’ families enjoy a buffet lunch at the Illini Union prior to the student recognition Ceremony on April 25, 2019. All photos by Darrell Hoemann.
Man in suit speaking at podium
Head of Department and Professor Matthias Grosse Perdekamp welcomes honorees and their families to the luncheon and awards ceremony.
Group of teaching assistants posing with award certificates
Teaching Assistants voted outstanding by their students are recognized during the ceremony. This is a small representation of our TAs ranked 'excellent teachers' each semester.
group of students holding award certificates
The 2018/19 Society of Physics Students officers are recognized for their service to the physics student body at Illinois. Pictured left to right are local chapter Secretary Iain Carpenter, Treasurer Jamie Milota, Vice President Anil Radhakrishnan, President Jacquelyn Schmidt, Internal Affairs Officer Andi Mankolli, and Charity Officer Peyton Pielet.
Young man in suit posing with his parents at banquet table
Imran Sultan and his parents pose for a photo before the luncheon. Graduating senior Sultan was recognized for finishing in the top 3 percent of his class, qualifying him to have his name engraved on the 2019 University Honors Bronze Tablet displayed in the Main Library.

Related news

  • Accolades
  • Student News

The BPS Art of Science Image Contest took place again this year, during the 63rd Annual Meeting in Baltimore. The image that won first place was submitted by Angela Barragan, PhD Candidate at the Beckman Institute UIUC. Barragan took some time to provide information about the image and the science it represents.

  • Accolades

Illinois Physics Senior Academic Advisor Merissa Jones was selected for the 2019 Engineering Council Outstanding Advising Award. This award is presented annually to the top 10 percent of advisers in the College of Engineering. Recipients are nominated and selected by engineering undergraduate students. This is the second year running Jones has received this honor.

“I am genuinely honored to have been nominated for this award. I love what I do and enjoy working with our students. As an advisor, my goal is to help each student to my fullest ability and to enrich their journey through our superb undergraduate programs.”

Illinois Physics Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs and Professor Brian DeMarco comments, “This recognition is well deserved. Merissa plays a central role in our undergraduate programs as our senior (and only) advisor. For her caseload of over 650 physics students, Merissa provides high-quality and compassionate advising on academic and life issues. Her expertise and her master’s degree in educational policies with a concentration in diversity and equity issues are especially valuable to our students. Merissa is also a superstar recruiter who meets with many prospective students and their families. And, she has provided terrific leadership. For example, Merissa developed and manages our peer mentoring program.”

  • Accolades

Dashawnique Long, office manager for the Illinois Physics Undergraduate Office, has been selected for the 2019 Chancellor’s Distinguished Staff Award. The Award recognized exceptional accomplishments and service to the university. Long shares this honor with only seven other 2019 recipients across campus. The award will be presented at a special ceremony taking place on May 1, 2019.

There is a saying among the Undergraduate Office staff: “All roads lead back to the Undergraduate Office.” As office manager, Long is often the first point of contact for students and teaching assistants needing information or having special requests. She helps students switch courses, provides materials and information, and when appropriate, coordinates with the campus’s Disability Resources & Educational Services, assisting students with letters of accommodation.

Long also handles about 15,000 undergraduate physics exams per semester and recently implemented a new procedure that shrank final-exam processing time from one week to 24 hours. Additionally, she created and manages a pool of physics-exam proctors. She also helps with room reservations for the department, including for special events and office hours, working as a liaison to Facility Management and Scheduling in the Office of the Registrar.

  • Accolades
  • Alumni News

Illinois Physics alumnus Richard Ahrenkiel has been selected for the College of Engineering Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. The citation reads, “For his seminal contributions to materials research, development, and device characterization for semiconductor and photovoltaic technologies, including the development of a unique technique to measure excess carrier lifetimes in materials, resonance-coupled photoconductive decay.”

Ahrenkiel and six other alumni from the College of Engineering will be presented with the award at a special ceremony at the I Hotel and Conference Center on Friday, April 12.