Undergraduate Program in the News
Kayla Leonard Wins Freshman Prize for Excellence 2013
Kayla Leonard was selected as this year's recipient of the Astronomy Freshman Prize for Excellence. Before entering the University of Texas, Kayla attended NASA's Advanced Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama and did a summer internship at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the Particle Physics Division.
Annual Departmental Award Winners - 2013
Arina Rostopchina (top)
and Miquela Stein
Arina Rostopchina was selected by faculty vote as the 2013 winner of the annual Karl Henize Memorial Scholarship. The award is made each year to a junior or senior who intends to pursue a graduate career in Astronomy. Arina is currently serving as co-president of the Astronomy Students Association (ASA), and has worked on research projects with Michel Breger as well as the Winget/Montgomery White Dwarf group.
Miquela Stein submitted this year's winning essay for the Board of Visitors (BoV) Undergraduate Scholarship. The award is given annually to an astronomy student for excellent overall performance. Miquela is currently serving as co-president of the ASA, and is an active member of the Winget/Montgomery White Dwarf FRI stream.
Kevin Luecke Wins 2013 Astronomy Department's Outstanding Senior Award
Under the supervision of Drs Winget and Montgomery, Kevin has been instrumental in the development of the Astronomy White Dwarf FRI stream. In addition to mentoring FRI students, he has also written code to interface with a new CCD camera recently purchased by the White Dwarf group, and uses the Antares 3D hydrodynamics code to run simulations of convection in white dwarfs on TACC supercomputers. Currently, he is re-writing one of the analysis codes to take advantage of the massive parallelism that PC graphics cards (GPUs) have to offer. Dr. Montgomery writes, "Kevin has the rare combination of keen physical insight and superb computing skills, and his work is of a uniformly high quality." He has personally taken observations on the 36-inch and 82-inch telescopes at McDonald Observatory, and has led groups of FRI students on observing runs at McDonald Observatory and Meyer Observatory. Kevin is a double major in Astronomy and Computer Science, and is writing his senior thesis under the guidance of Drs. Winget and Montgomery. Kevin was also recently honored with a campus-wide award for "Student Employee of the Year".
Kevin Luecke Wins UT Student Employee of the Year
Kevin Luecke was recently awarded UT Austin's Student Employee of the Year Award. The Student Employee of the Year program recognizes student employees who excel in five areas: reliability, quality of work, initiative, professionalism, and uniqueness of contribution to the University. Kevin is currently working as a mentor for the White Dwarf FRI stream with Drs. Winget and Montgomery. He helped design the labs for the course, guides students in their research, and leads annual FRI trips to McDonald and CTAS observatories for hands-on observation assignments. Kevin will be recognized at an event sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs on April 8, 2013 in association with National Student Employee Appreciation Week.
James Diekmann Wins Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award
James Diekmann, III
James Diekmann won a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award at the January 2013 AAS meeting in Long Beach, CA. These awards are given to recognize exemplary research by undergraduate students who present at one of the poster sessions at the AAS. James' presentation, "The Morphology of Double-peaked Active Galactic Nuclei," analyzes spectra at the core of massive galaxies to distinguish true binary black holes from similar signatures produced by outflows or disk rotation of singular AGN, and correlates candidates with galaxy morphology, to be verified by x-ray or radio observations.