Student Achievements

If you have any news such as publications, awards, departmental news, or anything else you want to share,
please email Dr. Sachiko McBride (

Recent Scholarship Awardees

Outstanding Undergraduate Award
Dillon Buskirk – Fall 2017/Spring 2018

Dr. Thomas J. and Mary A. Manakkil Memorial Scholarship
Dillon Buskirk – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emma Lockyer – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Rae Stanley – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

The Alva and Dixon Callihan Scholarship/John Marshall Scholarship
Emily Suthurland – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emily Suthurland – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

A. Dixon Callihan, Donald C. Martin and Ralph P. Hron Memorial Physics Scholarship
Dillon Buskirk – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emma Lockyer – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emily Sutherland- Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Jayden Leonard – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Jason Holland – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emma Lockyer – Fall 2018/Spring 2019
Jayden Leonard – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

Sigma Pi Sigma Inductions
Rae Stanley Fall 2018
Emma Lockyer Fall 2018
Emily Sutherland Fall 2018
Noah Wigton Fall 2018

Spring 2019Emily Sutherland, one of our applied physics students, has been selected as a recipient of the NASA Student Fellowship and awarded the University Undergraduate Creative Discovery and Research Award; both in recognition of her research “Hybrid Exciton in Semiconductor Nanorod Coated by an Organic Shell”. This is a theoretical research project studying the electronic structure, wavefunctions, and energies of excitons, which are a type of quasiparticle, formed from dipole-dipole interactions of an electron and a hole at the surface between a semiconductor and a coating of organic material. Emily is mentored by Dr. Nguyen and will present her findings at the 2019 March Meeting of the American Physical Society.

Fall 2018Rae Stanley, our Physics student, has been awarded the Fall 2018 Marshall University Undergraduate Creative Discovery and Research Award for her research project “Spectroscopic Analysis of Narrow-Line Radio-Loud Seyfert-1 Galaxies”. Rae will analyze long-slit optical spectra of 5 Seyfert-1 Galaxies that was obtained last January at the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT). Rae will be presenting her finished work as a poster presentation at the 2019 winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle in January. 


Spring 2018Emma G. P. Lockyer, our Applied Physics student, has been awarded the Spring 2018 Marshall University Undergraduate Creative Discovery and Research Award for her project “Search for Extra Dimensions in Gravitational Waves”. Emma is mentored by Dr. Maria Babiuc Hamilton, and she explores ways to use the gravitational wave data detected by LIGO, in order to determine whether or not extra dimensions can be observed in the signals discovered until now. She and Dr. Hamilton are collaborating for this project with Dr. Jonah Kanner, of LIGO Caltech, a native of WV.


Spring 2018 – Senior undergraduate Physics major, Rae Stanley, had a unique opportunity to use the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT), at the Mount Graham International Observatory (MGIO) in southeastern Arizona. Rae stayed at the Vatican Observatory’s housing complex where she was able to meet, discuss, and socialize with professional astronomers and Vatican Observatory Foundation officials. Overall, Rae describes her trip as a “was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, an incredible honor, and a life changing experience that will open doors for me as a scientist.” She states, “If you do what you love, your work won’t feel like work. As it happens, staying up until 5am using a fancy telescope seems to be a lot more fun than work.”

Most of Rae’s time spent on the telescope was using the spectrograph. The telescope was more sensitive and had a further range of view than expected, allowing them to observe several specific galaxies, despite their faintness and their positions in the sky. Overall, Rae was able to observe 5 galaxies. One galaxy in particular is thought to be a Seyfert 1 galaxy, but it is not confirmed because the Hβ spectral line had not before been measured. As a result of this trip, Rae and company will be able to get a measurement of the Hβ line, so they will be able to officially classify this particular galaxy.

Special thanks are given to: Jan Taylor at the West Virginia Board of higher education, who thought funding this project through the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was worthwhile and made it possible for Rae to go on this trip, Dr. Jon Saken, who without his support and expertise none of this would have ever happened, Dr. Tim Hamilton for accompanying Rae on this fantastic trip, and Chris Corbally for allowing Rae and company to use his telescope (and for giving them an extra 2 nights for free). Without all the people involved, none of this would have been possible, and Rae would not have been given this amazing opportunity, and for that she will always be thankful. Click here to read the full Article in University Communications.


Fall 2017Drake Cox, Applied Physics student, has been awarded a NASA Fellowship which is being funded by the NASA Space Grant Advisory Committee. Drake will be researching the thermoelectric effect, more specifically the Seebeck effect, which describes the process of applying heat to a metal in order to generate an electrical current. Working under the supervision of Dr. Xiaojuan Fan, Associate Professor of Physics, Drake will be investigating and synthesizing different metals and ultimately measuring the efficiency of each sample’s heat-to-electricity conversion. For more on the NASA Fellowship refer to this link:


Contact Dr. Sachiko McBride ( if you have trouble accessing the Physics Department website or experience errors. Questions about the content can be addressed to Dr. Sean McBride (