Alyx Stevens Wins Astronomy Outstanding Senior Award
13 June 2011
Alyx Stevens has been selected as this year's recipient of the Astronomy
Outstanding Senior Award. This award is given annually to a graduating
senior for outstanding overall performance (grades, research, service).
Per Dr. Shields, "What really distinguishes Alyx is her strong
contribution both in research and in service. Alyx began research on
quasars with my group in January of her first year. She is co-author
of a submitted ApJ paper on binary quasars
(http://arxiv.org/abs/1108.0383) that recently received a favorable
referee report and should be accepted in a few weeks. A second
co-authored ApJ paper on quasar accretion disks should be submitted
within two months. Alyx has presented her results at the May 2010 and
January 2012 meetings of the AAS and at a recent talk to the Kiwanis
Club of Austin.
Alyx's contributions to the binary quasar project include spectral
measurements and Monte Carlo simulations to test the statistical
significance of the results. Alyx's main project is a comparison of
observed quasar spectra with predictions based on accretion disk theory.
Alyx quickly grasped the scientific ideas and excelled at measuring
emission-line intensities and analyzing the results, along with running
a program to compute a series of synthetic disk spectra, and computing
photoionization models with the CLOUDY program.
Alyx has an extraordinary record of service to UT and the wider
community. In her first two years at UT, Alyx was a member of the
Senate of College Councils, holding the office of Undergraduate Research
Chair. This involved a major role in promoting undergraduate research
awareness and organizing the annual CNS Research Week, administering
scholarships, and working closely with the Office of Undergraduate
Research. Alyx also is a member of Orange Jackets, a highly selective
UT service organization with a demanding schedule of activities on and
off campus, and a member of the Texas Spirit and Traditions Council.
This spring she served on the CNS Dean Selection Committee as well."