MCS Students Earn Education and Research Awards-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

MCS Students Earn Education and Research Awards

Photo of 2011 Student Award Winners

From left: Huifeng Qian, Michael Klipper, Kellie Kravarik and Jane Herriman

The Mellon College of Science (MCS) presented its awards for education and research during the college's annual faculty meeting on Monday, May 2. Winners included Colin DeGraf, Jane Herriman, Michael Klipper, Kellie Kravarik, WenWen Li and Huifeng Qian.

Jane Herriman and Kellie Kravarik received the Dr. J. Paul Fugassi and Linda E. Monteverde Award, which is presented to a graduating female senior with the greatest academic achievement and professional promise.

Herriman, a Science and Humanities Scholar, will earn a B.S. in chemistry with an additional major in French and francophone studies at this spring’s commencement. According to her academic advisor, Karen Stump, Herriman has “excelled at the highest level in a widely diverse set of courses ranging from organic chemistry and quantum mechanics to French culture and modern dance.” During the spring of her sophomore year, Herriman studied at the Institut Catholique de Paris. After graduation, she will spend a year as a Fulbright Scholar at Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), where she will work in the laboratory of Anna Fontcuberta i Morral, who designs solar cell technology using nanowires. Herriman hopes to pursue this type of research when she begins graduate school in materials science at Caltech following her year as a Fulbright Scholar. At Carnegie Mellon, Herriman conducted research with Lisa Porter, professor of materials science and engineering, and completed two summer internships at Dow Corning in Midland, Michigan.

Kravarik will graduate with a B.S. in biological sciences later this month, with degree options in genetics and developmental biology, and an additional degree in decision science. During her first semester on campus, she joined the laboratory of Brooke McCartney, and in the past four years has studied the loss of the tumor suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) on the morphology of the developing fruit fly wing. She has given six poster presentations, including two at the annual Drosophila Research Conference, and is first author on a soon-to-be-submitted manuscript. Kravarik participated in the HHMI Summer Research Institute and was an Amgen Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Her additional major in decision science keeps Kravarik informed on social issues and how the public processes information about complex problems, including scientific ones. “In the future, I can certainly imagine Kellie being a powerful spokesperson for science in the United States,” said McCartney. Kravarik will begin graduate school at MIT this fall.

Michael Klipper, a graduate student in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, received the Hugh D. Young Graduate Teaching Award, which recognizes effective teaching by graduate students. Klipper has been a teaching assistant for a wide variety of courses and has taught several of his own. Both students and faculty rave about his excellence in the classroom, which Klipper has channeled into writing a textbook — a requirement for the doctor of arts degree he is pursuing. His calculus textbook not only includes sections on definitions, theorems and proofs but also features sections on motivation, context and strategy. The strategy sections are quite novel, according to Professor John Mackey, because they help beginning mathematicians understand the difference between coming up with a strategy for giving a proof and actually writing a proof, and therefore delve into the inner workings of how one thinks mathematically. Klipper’s students agree. “In writing his own textbook … he has provided me — a freshman with no prior background in mathematical proof techniques — with access to the most understandable math textbook I have ever owned.”

The Guy C. Berry Graduate Research Award was presented to Huifeng Qian to recognize his efforts to develop methods for producing well-defined gold nanoparticles. Qian’s process allows him to precisely control the number of atoms in each gold nanoparticle, resulting in uniformly sized nanoparticles instead of the mixture of sizes typically created during nanoparticle preparation. Because the nanoparticles are of uniform size and shape, Qian can grow them into high-quality crystals, which allows him to use single crystal X-ray crystallography to reveal their structure and further study their properties. “Huifeng has successfully made a number of nanoparticles of distinct sizes, and his ingenious work on controlling gold nanoparticles with atomic precision is expected to significantly advance the fundamental science of precious metal nanoparticles,” said Rongchao Jin, Qian’s research advisor. Although only in his third year of graduate school, Qian has already published nine first-author papers in top-ranked journals.

Graduate students Colin DeGraf and WenWen Li were recognized for receiving the Astrid and Bruce McWilliams Graduate Fellowship. To read more about DeGraf and Li, please visit: http://www.cmu.edu/mcs/news/pressreleases/2011/0429-mcwilliams-fellows.html

By: Amy Pavlak