Student Achievements

Recent Scholarship Awardees

Outstanding Undergraduate Award
Dillon Buskirk – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emily Sutherland – Fall 2018/Spring 2019
Maria White – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

Academic Achievements
Michael Moon – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

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
Dallas Summers – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

The Alva and Dixon Callihan Scholarship/John Marshall Scholarship
Emily Sutherland – Fall 2017/Spring 2018
Emily Sutherland – Fall 2018/Spring 2019
Michael Moon – 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
Jon Keaton – Fall 2018/Spring 2019
Rae Stanley – Fall 2018/Spring 2019

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


Ellie White earns prestigious Goldwater Scholarship!

Marshall University Physics Department Student earns prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Congratulations Ellie! Ellie is one of the 2 Marshall students who have ever earned the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
“Marshall University student Maria “Ellie” White has been named one of 396 college students to receive a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship.
The scholarship, a partnership between the Department of Defense National Defense Education Program and the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, is one of the highest honors undergraduates in STEM fields can receive.
The award offers a $7,500 scholarship for the junior and senior years of college. White is only the second Marshall University winner of the scholarship, and the first recipient in 20 years. She was the only student from West Virginia selected in the competition. A physics major, she plans to earn her Ph.D. in astrophysics studying astrobiology, radio astronomy instrumentation, and SETI. She aspires to work as a staff scientist at an observatory.”

Also, visit Ellie White’s blog page.

TEDxMarshallU – Ellie White

Ellie White is a second-year physics student at Marshall University. Her goal is to pursue a PhD in astrophysics and work toward a career as a radio astronomer. She is co-director of a program called Open Source Radio Telescopes, which aims to introduce students to STEM topics by providing open-source software and instructions on how to build simple radio telescopes for citizen science. In addition, she has worked on a number of research and instrumentation projects with the Green Bank Observatory and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Central Development Laboratory. She is particularly fascinated by the fields of astrobiology and SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and enjoys communicating her love of science with others and interacting with students. ~

Marshall graduate student works to connect research with a younger generation

Congratulations to Marshall graduate student Ryan Vincent on his outstanding research and efforts to share his love of science with the region’s high school students this past semester. Thank you for representing the Department of Physics and College of Science so well!
See article for more.

Distinguished Society of Physics Student Chapter for the 18-19 Academic year

Congratulations to the Society of Physics Students for being once again nationally recognized as a Distinguished SPS Chapter! This is a an honor the group has held consecutively since fall 2017. A sincere thank you is in order for all your hard work and dedication to the SPS group, to the Physics Department, and to the University for helping to promote Physics and Marshall University through all your actions!

Society of Physics Students Distinguished Chapter award given to Marshall University chapter for 2018-2019

Distinguished Society of Physics Student Chapter for the 17-18 Academic year

As the semester starts up, when you see a student member of the Society of Physics Students, make sure to congratulate them on earning the title of a Distinguished Society of Physics Student Chapter for the 17-18 Academic year (during that time Emily Sutherland was SPS President and Dr. Sean P. McBride was the Faculty Advisor)! This designation was recently given by the National SPS Office. “We at the SPS National Office want to take this opportunity to commend and applaud you for your tireless efforts to enrich the SPS community. It is because of your dedication and commitment to the SPS mission and vision that we are able to foster such a strong SPS community” – Brad R. Conrad, Ph.D., Director, Society of Physics Students & Sigma Pi Sigma (ΣΠΣ).​
Society of Physics Students Distinguished Chapter award given to Marshall University chapter for 2017-2018

Photo of Rae Stanley in front of research poster

Spring 2019Rae Stanley, our Physics student, presented her poster at the 233rd annual winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The title of her poster was “A Spectroscopic Study of Narrow-Line, Radio-Loud Seyfert 1 Galaxies”. This research came from her time observing at the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope in Safford, Arizona in January 2018. This project has been funded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and by MURC as part of the Creative Discovery and Undergraduate Research Award.

Photo of Emily Sutherland

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.

Photo of Rae Stanley

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.

Photo of Emma G. P. Lockyer

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.

Photo of Rae Stanley pointing to a readout on a computer monitor

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.”
Two people working on mechanical systems at the observatory

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.

Outside the observatory in a wintry scene

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.

Photo of Drake Cox

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.

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 (