2020 Senior Award Winners

May 06 2020

Prof. Irving Herman presented awards to three outstanding seniors at the 2020 Senior Celebration and Award Ceremony on May 5, 2020. Each winner was selected by the faculty in recognition of their excellent academic achievements.

Marco Andrés Miller - Applied Physics Faculty Award Winner

Marco Andrés Miller is the winner of the Applied Physics Faculty Award. Prof. Irving Herman stated that "Andrés is an exceptional student. In addition to witnessing his extraordinary work in my classes, it has been a pleasure working with him this year as a grader. He has done exceptionally well in class, maintaining a 3.83 GPA, and has been heavily involved in research. At the 61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics, he presented his summer research results in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His presentation, "A machine learning algorithm for the nonlinear Fokker-Planck-Landau collision operator in XGC," which showed how to use machine learning to create a fast and efficient computer simulation of plasma collisions for fusion experiments, was awarded the "Best Undergraduate Poster Award" at this major conference, a truly distinct honor. Andrés also spent a semester abroad working at the ITER experiment in France (the world’s largest fusion experiment). Next year, he will enter the PhD program in Nuclear Science & Engineering at MIT.

Emma Schechter - Applied Math Faculty Award

Emma Schechter is the winner of the Applied Math Faculty Award. She is outstanding in all ways, as exemplified by maintaining a 4.21 GPA, and she is the Columbia Engineering undergraduate valedictorian. Prof. Chris Wiggins, who taught the Applied Math Senior Seminar, stated that Emma's senior project was an incredible, reflective, and multidisciplinary look at gentrification and its impact on the census. She was unafraid to "swim outside” the conventional realm of applied math, into socio-economic and demographic matters that are often left to sociology. Her dream job would be to write and produce accessible narrative works involving sound, art, analog video, and animation. Emma plans on developing creative computing programs/multiple programs that combine coding and art, as well as electrical engineering and art, en route to graduate school.

Mateo Navarro Goldaraz - Materials Science and Engineering Frances B.F. Rhodes Prize

Mateo Navarro Goldaraz is the winner of the Frances B.F. Rhodes Prize which is given to the top materials science senior in the APAM Department. He is a remarkable student who took on a series of challenging courses and new opportunities, all while maintaining a 3.78 GPA. Prof. Irving Herman commented, "Mateo did research in my group on small angle x-ray scattering of nanoparticles using the x-ray light source at Brookhaven National Lab, engaged in how different materials enable improvements in devices for electrochemical energy storage and conversion in the Marbella lab, and spent summers doing internships at Applied Materials." Mateo also engaged in outreach activities, such as teaching visiting students about nanomaterials, and, in his free time, enjoyed participating in the sailing club and excelling in soccer. In August, Mateo will join Applied Materials in Massachusetts full time.