Student Prizes & Awards

The Department of Astronomy awards a number of student prizes each year to Undergraduate and Graduate students who possess strong academic records and have demonstrated exceptional involvement in the department and science community. Listed below are recent awards and prizes, descriptions, and recipients. For more information on these awards, please contact Dexter Stewart.


For outstanding scholarly achievement by a graduate student close to finishing his/her dissertation in Astronomy or in Physics with preference to Astronomy.

2014

Charles "Chat" Hull (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Carl Heiles

Dick Plambeck

Chat Hull’s research is focused on polarization measurements of the radio continuum and spectral lines to learn more about star formation in molecular clouds. Before starting as a Jansky Fellow at Harvard, he will be taking a cross-country road trip across the northern U.S. and southern Canada, hoping he will arrive at Harvard when the first snow falls.

Michael McCourt (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Eliot Quataert

Mike’s thesis includes many original contributions to our understanding of the physics of galaxy cluster plasmas. For example, he developed an analytical and numerical understanding of how thermal instabilities regulate the rate at which cold gas flows to small radii, fueling star formation and black hole growth in the centers of clusters. This likely provides a key to understanding why cluster plasmas have the properties they do. Mike will be an ITC postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard.


2013

Jonathan Pober (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Aaron Parsons

Donald Backer

Jonnie initially worked with Professor Don Backer on PAPER: Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization. When Backer passed away in 2010, new faculty member Aaron Parsons essentially became Don’s successor and as a result, became Jonnie’s advisor. Jonnie received a NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship, which he took to the University of Washington. Pober completed his Ph.D. in 2013 and is currently a NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington, Department of Physics.


2012

Andrew Siemion (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Dan Werthimer

Andrew Siemion’s research focused on designing instruments and experiments to detect rare and novel radio phenomena, specifically the detection and analysis of coherent sources of electromagnetic emission. Andrew is heavily involved in developing new computing technology and has organized and taught digital instrumentation workshops at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics in Taiwan, and the National Astronomical Observatories in China. He currently holds a joint research position with UC Berkeley and ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy.

Nicholas McConnell (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Chung-Pei Ma

James Graham

Nicholas McConnell’s research measured stellar motions in the Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) and compared them to models of galaxies to determine the mass of the central supermassive black hole in each galaxy. Working in collaboration with advisors Chung-Pei Ma and James Graham, he discovered two black holes with record-breaking masses of at least 10 billion suns. After completing his Ph.D. at Berkeley, McConnell accepted the Beatrice Watson Parrent Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Hawai’i, where he is continuing his research.


2011

Daniel Perley (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Daniel Perley was selected to receive the 2011 Mary Elizabeth Uhl Prize at commencement ceremonies last May. This annual prize is awarded to a graduate student in Astronomy (or Physics, with a preference in Astronomy) for outstanding scholarly achievement. Perley’s thesis project was based around a six year observing campaign using the Keck telescopes to study the properties of gamma-ray burst host galaxies and their connection with dust-obscured star formation in the early Universe. After completing his Ph.D. at Berkeley, Perley moved to Caltech to begin postdoctoral work as a Hubble Fellow.


2010

Onsi Fakhouri (Astronomy)

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2009

Aaron Robert Parsons (Astronomy)
Brian David Metzger (Physics)

2008

Ruth Murray-Clay (Astronomy)
Ryan Foley (Astronomy)

2007

John Johnson (Astronomy)

2006

Marshall D. Perrin (Astronomy)

2005

Mark Krumholtz (Physics)
Josh Simon (Astronomy)

2004

Alison Coil (Astronomy)

2003

Chao-Lin Kuo (Physics)

2002

Anatoly Spitkovsky (Physics)
Henry Roe (Astronomy)

2001

Evan Scannapieco (Physics)
Jonathan Tan (Astronomy)

2000

Douglas Leonard (Astronomy)
Jeffery Newman (Astronomy)
Tony Wong (Astronomy)

1999

Douglas Paul Finkbeiner (Physics)
Michael C. Liu (Physics)

1998

Nancy Levinson (Astronomy)

1997

Geoffrey Copeland Bower (Astronomy)
Craig Anthony Sosin (Physics)

1996

Rosa Gonzalez (Astronomy)

1995

Wayne Hu (Physics)

1994

Michael Brown (Astronomy)
Luis Ho (Astronomy)

1993

Yves Gallant (Physics)

1992

Michael Richmond

1991

Joseph Shields (Astronomy)
David Mitchell (Astronomy)

1990

Bon Chul Koo (Astronomy)
William Reach (Astronomy)

1989

Frank Bertoldi (Physics)

1988

Michael Strauss (Physics)
Shoba Veeraraghavan (Astronomy)

1987

Fred Adams (Physics)
Albert Stebbins III (Physics)

1986

Mark Hurwitz (Astronomy)
Susana Lizano (Astronomy)

1985

Christopher Martin (Physics)

1984

Stanislav Djorgovski (Astronomy)

1983

Robert Mathieu (Astronomy)
Jean Turner (Astronomy)
For outstanding scholarly achievement by either an upper-level undergraduate student, or an outstanding graduate student early in his/her research career.

2015

Brianna Michelle Grado-White

2014

Caleb Levy (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Caleb will be graduating in Fall 2014 and will apply to graduate school for Mathematics–functional analysis. Caleb is a double major in Astrophysics and Applied Math. He’s currently engaged in research with Phillip Marcus, a professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering. Last summer he worked on a project to figure out how energy flows in protoplanetary disks using ray tracing.

Rea Kolbl (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Geoff Marcy

Rea will be attending Stanford University in the fall for Applied Physics, researching condensed matter. Rea is a double major in Astrophysics and Physics, and is engaged in research with Geoff Marcy. Rea has created a sophisticated spectroscopic technique that detects unseen neighboring stars near a much brighter primary star. She discovered over 60 binary stars in the Kepler database.


2013

Andrew Vanderburg (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Andrew was recipient of the 2013 Dorothea Klumpke Roberts prize. As an astronomy student at Berkeley, Vanderburg’s research ranged from improving the precision of radial velocity measurements taken at Keck to using externally dispersed interferometry to measure high resolution infrared spectra. Andrew is currently a graduate student at Harvard University.


2012

Pierre Christian (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Pierre Christian was the 2012 recipient of the Dorothea Klumpke Roberts Prize for outstanding scholarly achievement by an upper-level undergraduate student. As an astronomy student at Berkeley, Christian studied the early-time infrared afterglow of GRBs using PAIRITEL, a robotic telescope located at Mt. Hopkins, AZ, and also conducted research on the cosmic microwave background. Christian is currently a graduate student at Harvard University.


2011

Marin Anderson (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

In May 2011, Marin Anderson was chosen to receive the Dorothea Klumpke Award for outstanding scholarly achievement by an upper-level undergraduate student. She received this honor to recognize her research in the electrostatic discharge on Mars. Marin explains, “The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) at the Hat Creek Observatory in California was used to monitor Mars over a period of approximately 3 months for radio emissions indicative of lightning discharge caused by Martian dust storms.” The results of this research were published in The Astrophysical Journal (“The Allen Telescope Array Search for Electrostatic Discharges on Mars”, ApJ, 744, 15,). Anderson worked on this project under the supervision of Astronomy professor Geoff Bower and Department Chair Imke de Pater, and alongside SETI Chief Scientist Dan Werthimer, and Graduate student Andrew Siemion. According to Bower, “Marin performed a very thorough analysis of a complex data set using a sophisticated array of analytical tools and then wrote a clear and engaging article presenting the results. This is one of the most impressive undergraduate research projects I have seen.”

More recently, Marin teamed up again with Bower to search for slow transients with archival ‘Very Large Array’ (VLA) data. Marin graduated in December 2011 with a double major in Astrophysics and Physics. She is continuing her research at Berkeley through the spring and summer of 2012 and hopes to attend graduate school in the fall.


2010

Erik Petigura (Graduate) (Astronomy)

2009

Katherine Michele Deck (Undergraduate)

2008

Megan Reiter (Undergraduate)
Andrew Siemion (Undergraduate)

2007

Sarah Ballard (Undergraduate)

2006

Matthew Alan Ferry (Undergraduate)

2005

Charlie Conroy (Undergraduate)
Mohan Ganeshalingam (Undergraduate)

2004

Dana Weinstein (Undergraduate)

2003

Amy Jordan (Undergraduate)
Eric Nielson (Undergraduate)
Lindsey Pollack (Undergraduate)

2002

Shinae Park (Undergraduate)

2001

Lindley Winslow (Undergraduate)

2000

Kevin Bundy (Undergraduate)
Megan Eckart (Undergraduate)
Maryam Modjaz (Undergraduate)

1999

Grigoriy Ushomirsky (Graduate)

1998

Tim Robishaw (Undergraduate)
Eli Sokolov (Undergraduate)

1997

Nathan Eric Lundblad (Undergraduate)

1996

Aaron Barth (Graduate)

1995

Robyn Millan (Undergraduate)
Amber Miller (Undergraduate)
Chien Peng (Undergraduate)

1994

Keivan Stassun (Undergraduate)

1993

Margaret Meixner (Graduate)

1992

Sean Bohaty
Peter Louch

1991

Eve Ostriker (Graduate)
David Wilner (Graduate)

1990

Teresa Rae Ho (Undergraduate)

1989

Julian Cummings (Undergraduate)

1988

David Edelsohn (Undergraduate)

1987

John Carlstrom (Graduate)
Patrick McCarthy (Graduate)

1986

Gary Fuller (Graduate)

1985

Richard Rand (Undergraduate)

1984

Joshua Roth (Undergraduate)

1983

Michael Strauss (Undergraduate)

1981

John Stauffer

1980

Alexander Markevich

1979

Nuria Calvet-Cuni
Gustavo Ramon Bruzual-Alfonzo

1978

Leslie Hunt
In memory of Daniel Edward Wark, for undergraduates in Astronomy.

2013

Rea Kolbl

2012

Patrick Fitzpatrick
Angelo Ricarte

2010

Jieun Choi
Io Kleiser

2009

Anna Rosen

2008

Jordan Stone
Roger Griffith

2006

Richard Kirian

2004

Javiera Guedes

2002

Hope Feldman

2001

Melissa Enoch
Created by alumni Martha Stahr Carpenter (M.A. 1943;Ph.D. 1945) in honor of her thesis advisor, the late Robert J. Trumpler. The Berkeley Trumpler Award will be given to one or more high-achieving graduate students per year in recognition of academic excellence and outstanding record of involvement in the department or wider astronomical community.

2014

James Gold McBride (Graduate) (Astronomy)

James McBride is fascinated by galactic evolution and structure. He has worked on the observational effect of magnetic fields in galaxy and star formation, the starburst phenomenon, AGN and angular momentum transport therein, cooling flows in clusters of galaxies, and the interaction of radio jets with the intercluster medium. He studies these through a variety of observations including full-Stokes VLBI mapping of OH megamasers.

Garrett "Karto" Keating (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Karto’s thesis research involves intensity mapping of CO at high redshifts (z ~ 5), with CARMA. He is using over a 1000 hrs on the Hubble Deep ‘Goods-North’ field, achieving sensitivities that are of interest for current cosmological models. This research involves not only astronomy–but also a very high level of statistical and instrumental analysis.


2013

Charles "Chat" Hull (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Carl Heiles

Dick Plambeck

Chat was an observational astronomer whose research focused on polarization from protostellar disks. He completed his Ph.D. in 2014.


2012

Michael McCourt (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Eliot Quataert

Michael McCourt, a 5th-year graduate student at Berkeley, worked with his advisor, Eliot Quataert, to understand the hot, tenuous gas filling clusters of galaxies. He led a number of studies on the physics of this gas, how it cools to form galaxies and fuel black hole growth, and how measurements of the gas can be used to infer the mass of the underlying dark matter halo. Michael is expected to graduate in spring 2014.

Jonathan Pober (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Aaron Parsons

Donald Backer

“Jonathan Pober lost his original research advisor, Don Backer, midway through his graduate student career, but surmounted adversity to become a leading expert in the science and techniques of 21cm cosmology” according to Aaron Parsons, Pober’s current advisor. He played a key role in presenting the PAPER (Precision Array for Probing the Epoch of Reionization) experiment to the NSF, helping secure funding for the project. He adapted techniques pioneered by the PAPER project to a new science application, seeking to measure the accelerating expansion of the universe, presumably as the result of mysterious Dark Energy. Pober expects to complete his Ph.D. in 2013.


2011

Statia Luszcz-Cook (Graduate) (Astronomy)

Advisor: Imke de Pater

The first student chosen to receive the prestigious Berkeley Trumpler Award, Statia Luszcz-Cook, was announced as a recipient for her work in what could essentially be called a "double-thesis". Luszcz-Cook observed Neptune in the near-IR with the integral-field spectrograph OSIRIS on Keck (at these wavelengths, the planet is observed in reflected sunlight) and subsequently observed Neptune’s thermal emission with CARMA at mm wavelengths, in particular the CO and HCN lines. She not only conducted the observations at these very different wavelengths, but also developed radiative transfer programs to analyze both sets of data.

For outstanding scholarship by a graduating senior with major in Astrophysics or joint major in Physics and Astrophysics.

2015

Han Soe Aung (Undergraduate)

2014

Kevin Yu (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Kevin is a double major with Astrophysics and Physics. His research has involves a comparison of the relationship between stellar and dynamical masses of simulated galaxies to observations. He will begin work as a Software Engineer at FiveStars Loyalty Inc., in SF.


2013

Peter Blanchard (Undergraduate) (Astronomy)

Peter had a superb academic record as a double major in astronomy and physics. He began working with Professor Alex Filippenko in searching for supernovae using KAIT, was upgraded to using the Nickel 1-meter telescope at Lick Observatory remotely from Evans Hall and ultimately was allowed to work on the 3-meter Shane telescope at Lick Observatory. He is currently attending Harvard University to get his graduate degree.


2010

Joel Leja

2009

James D. McBride

2008

Robert Da Silva

2007

Jeff Yen

2006

Richard Adam Kirian

2005

Maureen Teyssier

2004

Michael Fogel

2003

Kate Marvel

2002

Erik Shirokoff

2001

Melissa Enoch

2000

Ki Won Yoon

1999

N/A

1998

Nathan Lundblad

1997

Francesco Krattiger

1996

Cindy Hancox

1988

Julian Clark Cummings

1983

Michael Abram Strauss

1978

Alan David Minsk

1977

Richard Glenn Spencer

1975

Sten Felix Odenwald, Jr.

1970

David Wayne Wingert

1968

Jean Anne Eilek

1967

Robert Campbell Gilman

2015

Shengkai Alwin Mao (Undergraduate)

2014

Skylar Kerzner

Skylar was a double major in Astrophysics and Physics and will start grad school this fall at UC San Diego, where he will pursue his interests in Artificial Intelligence and Brain-Computer interfaces through a PhD program in Cognitive Science.

2013

Peter Blanchard

double major and has since gone on to Harvard where he is pursuing his graduate degree.

2011

Carly Chubak

2010

Joel Leja

2009

Robin Eileen Mostardi

2008

Tom Watts

2007

Matthew Rocklin

2006

David Joseph Yeaton Massey

2015

Daniel Abraham Goldstein (Graduate)
Carina Cheng (Graduate)

2014

Drummond Fielding (Graduate) (Astronomy)
Lauren Weiss (Graduate) (Astronomy)
Sedona Price (Graduate) (Astronomy)

2013

Katherine de Kleer (Graduate) (Astronomy)
Ryan Turner (Graduate)

2009

Shuleen Chau Martin
Joshua Hajime Shiode

2008

Anna Treaster
Nicholas McConnell

2007

Jeffrey Michael Silverman
Mohan Ganeshalingam

2006

Onsi Joe Fakhouri
Daniel Alan Perley

2005

Joseph Mitchell Converse
Julia Marie Comerford
Kathryn Mary Peek

2004

Ryan Foley
Louis Desroches

2003

Julia Kregenow
Adam Leroy

2002

Bryan Mendez
John Johnson

2001

Nate McCrady
Jason Wright
Erik Rosolowsky

2000

Steven Dawson
Jonathan Swift

1999

Henry Garfitt Roe
Andrea Lommen Somer

1998

Joseph Andrew Barranco

1997

Frances Patrick Wilken
Tony Hao Wong

1995

Douglas Leonard

1994

Luis Ho
Thomas Matheson

1993

Young Paik

1992

Joshua Zucker

1991

Mario Tafella
Douglas Johnstone

1990

Frank Summers

1988

Julian Cummings
The Teaching Effectiveness Award for GSIs honors a small number of GSIs who devise solutions to teaching or learning problems they have identified in their classes and write them up in a one-page essay. These essays are published on the GSI Center Website for future use and reference. The title of each winner's essay is listed alongside their name.

2013

Ryan Turner

Seeing for Yourself


2012

Francesca Fornasini

“Is This Right?” Building Confidence in Scientific Reasoning


2010

Aaron Lee

Bringing Astronomy Down to Earth: A Teaching Strategy That Helps Develop Intuition


2006

Daniel Alan Perley

Solar System on a Laptop: Visualizing the Dynamic Universe

Julia Marie Comerford

Teaching by Bad Example


2005

Kathryn Mary Peek

Lessons from a Lesson on Stellar Evolution


2004

Louis-Benoit Desroches

Undergraduate Astronomy Journal Club


2002

John Asher Johnson

TALC: Individualized Assistance through Collaborative Learning


2000

Steven Dawson

Kinesthesis in Science: Where Red Rover Meets Quantum Mechanics

2004

Mike Fogel

2003

Kate Marvel

2002

Shinae Park

2001

Melissa Enoch

2000

Maryam Modjaz

1999

N/A

1997

Raghuveer Parthasarathy

1996

Cindy Hancox

1990

Teresa Rae Ho