Undergraduate Student Awards

Every Spring semester the Department of Astronomy awards one exceptional senior with the Outstanding Senior Award. Candidates for the Outstanding Senior Award excel in their studies, as evidenced by having a GPA of 3.5 or better, are involved in research/internship, and are recognized as a leader within the campus or the larger community. The balance between these different aspects will vary, but every nominee is typically strong in all three areas. The department’s awardee will receive the departmental Outstanding Senior Award at the Spring Awards Ceremony which is held the morning of Reading Day. The College of Science awards committee will then select the College of Science overall outstanding senior from among the departmental outstanding seniors.

The Department of Astronomy also awards one graduating senior with the Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award who has shown outstanding achievement in undergraduate research. In general, the student’s work is a significant contribution and shows originality, creativity, and a level of independence appropriate to the discipline. The College of Science awards committee will select the overall Undergraduate Research Award recipient from the departmental nominees. The overall College winner will also receive a Galileo Circle Scholarship and receive the honor of presenting their research at our Galileo Circle Scholars event in the Spring.

Semester            Outstanding Senior                     Excellence In Undergraduate Research

Fall 2021              Liam David                                     N/A

Spring 2021         Danielle Dickinson                         Maria Galloway-Sprietsma

Spring 2020         Mackenzie James                          Emily Walla

Spring 2019         Massimo Pascale                          Claire Cook

Spring 2018         Jenny Krantz Calahan                   Jenny Krantz Calahan

Spring 2017         Jiani Ding                                       Jiani Ding

Spring 2016         Ryan Anthony Hofmann                 Ryan Anthony Hofmann

Spring 2015         Charles Patrick Mason Griffin        Chi Hanh Nguyen

Spring 2014         Cassendra Lejoly                            Amanda Walker-LaFollette

Spring 2013         Michael Tyler St. Germaine            EmilyBerkson

Spring 2012         Kaylan Burleigh                              Kamber Renea Schwarz

Spring 2011         David Eric Schneck                        Jennifer Marie Sierchio

Spring 2010         Allison Strom                                  Jason Adam Dittmann

Spring 2009         Christopher Limbach                      Melissa Revelle

Spring 2008         David Hernandez                           Mary Anne Peters

Spring 2007         Caitlin Casey                                  Unavailable

Spring 2006         Robert Marcus                               Ryeojin Park

Spring 2005         Jessica Rachel Jones                    Bi Qing For

Spring 2004         Norman Mark Milton                      Norman Mark Milton


Graduate Student Awards

The Department of Astronomy Graduate Student Awards (in Scholarship, Service, and Teaching) are awarded annually. Each selected student will receive a departmental award as well as a nomination for the College Award in that category. In 2021 we also recognized exceptional departmental service contributions as well as the older College and Departmental Awards.


  • Scholarship: Outstanding research publications, presentations at meetings, and scholarship awarded.
  • Service: Attention to broader impacts and involvement in activities outside of academic responsibilities that benefit the department, university and the larger community.  For example, this student may represent graduate student interests on councils or committees, organize graduate student events, assist departmental recruitment, participate in K-12 outreach, etc.
  • Teaching: Teaching or mentoring that goes above and beyond what is required; positive evaluations or other feedback from students, willingness to help junior graduate students, development of new course material or experiments, etc.



Year       Awards

2021      Scholarship: Alex Bixel

              Service: Ryan Keenan

              Teaching: Katrina Litke Marslender

              Group Service: Rachel Amaro, Samantha Scibelli, & Erin Maier (DEI Task Force


              Group Service: Jeremy Dietrich & Ryan Boyden (Prospective Graduate Student Visit/

              Recruitment Organizers)


Past Department Award Winners:

2020      Scholarship:  Rixin Li

              Service:  Juan Nicolas Garavito Camargo

              Teaching:  Carolyn Raithel


2019      Scholarship:  Deborah Schmidt

              Service:  Christine O'Donnell

              Teaching:  Yifan Zhou


2018      Scholarship:  Carolyn Raithel

              Service:  Eckhart Spalding

              Teaching:  Melissa Halford


2017      Scholarship:  Rachel Smullen

              Service:  Eckhart Spalding

              Teaching:  Deborah Schmidt


2016      Scholarship:  Stephanie Sallum

              Service:  Ekta Patel

              Teaching:  Ya-Lin Wu


2015      Scholarship:  Evan Schneider

              Service:  Patrick Sheehan

              Teaching:  Youngmin Seo


2014      Scholarship:  K. Decker French

              Service:  Kate Follette

              Teaching:  Megan Kiminki


2013      Scholarship:  Jordan Stone

              Service:  Justin Spilker

              Teaching:  Brandon Swift

2012      Scholarship:  Ken Wong

              Service:  Megan Reiter

              Teaching:  Vanessa Bailey


2011      Mentor:  Kate Follette

             Scholar:  Andrew Skemer

             Service:  Johanna Teske


2009     Unavailable


2008     Mentor:  Wayne Schlingman

             Scholar:  Jennifer Donley

             Service:  Moire Prescott