College of Sciences Celebrates Spring 2017 Student Awardees

As the 2016-17 school year winded down, 11 College of Sciences undergraduate students were among those reaping the rewards of consistently applying themselves to their education and taking advantage of the breadth of educational experiences Georgia Tech offers.

Leading these years’ awardees is Charles M. Wang, who is graduating in May with a B.S. in Chemistry and Computer Science, as well as enough credits also for a degree in applied mathematics. Two honors match Wang’s two degrees: The College of Sciences has selected Wang to receive the Robert A. Pierotti Memorial Scholarship, and Georgia Tech has named Wang a co-recipient of the Love Family Foundation Scholarship.

Each year, the Love Family Foundation Scholarship goes to a member of the graduating senior class with the most outstanding scholastic record. The $10,000 scholarship is provided by the Gay and Erskine Love Foundation. Students in all six of Georgia Tech’s colleges are considered for the award. Wang shares the 2017 award with electrical and engineering major George Tzintzarov.

“We take great pleasure in recognizing and nurturing the outstanding, well-rounded students in our care,” says College of Sciences Dean Paul M. Goldbart. “They are the reason we constantly strive to strengthen and diversify the educational experiences and research opportunities we offer.”

Following are the 2017 the award-winning College of Sciences majors who were recognized by Georgia Tech on April 20 and/or by the College of Sciences on April 21.

Aaron T. Aizenman, physics major with business option, is the recipient of the Cynthia L. Bossart and James Efron Scholarship, which recognizes high academic achievement by a College of Sciences major who is a non-Georgia resident. Aizenman conducts research in the Soft Condensed Matter Laboratory, led by Alberto Fernandez-Nieves. He participates in the Georgia Tech Science and Math Research Training (SMaRT) scholarship program.   

Rachel E. Barker and Krishma Singal were selected for the Roger M. Wartell, Ph.D., and Stephen E. Brossette, M.D., Ph.D., Award for Multidisciplinary Studies in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics. The award recognizes undergraduates who are accomplished in research at the interface of biology and either physics or mathematics.

Barker is graduating with a B.S. in Physics. In the Agile Systems Lab of Simon N. Sponberg, she developed a way to record activation signals from the major muscles involved in wing control while tethered moths track an oscillating visual stimulus. She has presented her research in meetings of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Singal is also graduating with a B.S. in Physics. In the CHAOS (Complex Heart Arrhythmias and Other Oscillating Systems) Lab of Flavio H. Fenton, she studied pattern formation by brine shrimp and their dynamics in response to light. She presented research findings in the American Physical Society meeting in March 2016,  where, according to Fenton, Singal won the award for best undergraduate student talk.  

Alexander J. Buser, double major in physics and mathematics, has won the A. Joyce Nickelson and John C. Sutherland Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes excellence at the interface of mathematics and physics. Buser has extensive research experience. In the Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, he worked with Tamara Bogdanovic analyzing the mechanism that leads to pairing of supermassive black hole binaries after galaxies merge. He has started working with Carlos Sa De Melo, exploring theoretical methods to analyze two-band superconductors. He is the president of the Georgia Tech Society of Physics Students.

Carson P. Kirby has received the Metha Phingbodhipakkiya Memorial Scholarship. The award recognizes academic achievement. Kirby is majoring in applied mathematics with a business concentration and a minor in computational data analysis.  He completed training and internships in actuarial science. He used to play first trumpet in Georgia Tech’s marching band and now plays with the jazz band

Michelle S. Kwon and Chloe L. Stanton are the recipients of the College of Sciences’ Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Awards. Recipients are selected on the basis of involvement in long-term research projects, participation in conferences, published research papers, displayed leadership within the research environment, and unique contributions to the field.

Kwon is graduating with a B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in biology. Her research experience includes detection of GMO (genetically modified organisms) in consumer products, exploration of crystallization techniques with lysozyme, and characterization of myocilin mutants for protein stabilization. She worked with Raquel L. Lieberman on the project “Thermal Stabilization of Olfactomedin Domain of Myocilin: Insights into the Evolution of the 5-Bladed Propeller.”

Stanton is graduating with a B.S. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She worked for four years in the lab of Jennifer B. Glass on the biogeochemical cycling of nitrogen in the modern and ancient oceans, with a focus on marine nitrous oxide production during the Proterozoic Era. She placed second for giving the best talk at the 2017 Southeastern Biogeochemistry Symposium and first for presenting the best poster at the 2017 Astrobiology Graduate Conference. She will be presenting posters at the 2017 Astrobiology Science Conference and the First International Geobiology Symposium. In the fall she will start her Ph.D. at the Department of Geosciences at Penn State.

Mary Francis M. McDaniel, a double major in Earth and atmospheric sciences and in environmental engineering, is the recipient of the Rutt Bridges Undergraduate Research Initiative Award. McDaniel works with Ellery D. Ingall analyzing iron aerosols to determine their oxidation states and composition. This research should help advance understanding of ocean fertilization and productivity. In her spare time, McDaniel enjoys horse riding, hiking, and trying new foods. 

Charles M. Wang, graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry and in Computer Science, has received two awards: the Robert A. Pierotti Memorial Scholarship and the Love Family Foundation Scholarship.

Wang has a GPA of 4.0 in both his majors and has done undergraduate research. In the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, he worked in the lab of Jiri “Art” Janata for almost two years. Wang left the lab because mathematics had captured his interest.

Funded by a President’s Undergraduate Research Award, Wang worked with Josephine Yu, an assistant professor in the School of Mathematics. The undergraduate research has yielded two articles co-authored by Wang. “Generalized Permutohedra from Probabilistic Graphical Models” has been posted on and is under review for publication in the SIAM Journal on Discrete Mathematics. Another research article, “Toric h-vectors and Chow Betti Numbers of Dual Hypersimplices,” is in preparation.

Carlin E. Zaprowski is the recipient of the Virginia C. and Herschel V. Clanton Jr. Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding academic achievement of a student planning to continue in the medical field. Formerly majoring in psychology, Zaprowski has shifted to the B.S. in Neuroscience program. In addition to a stellar academic record, Carlin has served as a FASET orientation leader, Wreck Camp crew member, and vice president of Georgia Tech’s Women’s Soccer Team.

“We take great pleasure in recognizing and nurturing the outstanding, well-rounded students in our care,” says College of Sciences Dean Paul M. Goldbart. “They are the reason we constantly strive to strengthen and diversity the educational experiences and research opportunities we offer.”

“I cannot say a more heartfelt thank you to the benefactors of these awards and scholarships,” Goldbart says. “Their generosity marvelously expands our ability to support and retain deserving students.”

Photos by Renay San Miguel/Georgia Tech