Focus on APAM Egleston Scholars & Award Winners

Congratulations to our outstanding student award winners!

Graduate Student Award & Fellowship Winners:

Melissa Abler (Plasma Physics) - Provost’s Diversity Fellowship
Soham Banerjee (Materials Science and Engineering) - DOD NDSEG Fellow
Eric Isaacs (Solid State Physics) - DOE CSGF Fellow
Michael Jenkinson (Applied Mathematics) - NSF IGERT Fellow
Mordechai Kornbluth (Solid State Physics) - Presidential Fellow
Dennis Wang (Solid State Physics) - NSF IGERT Fellow

APAM Department Undergraduate Egleston Scholars:

The Egleston Scholars Program is a comprehensive four-year program designed to support and enrich the undergraduate experience of the most highly accomplished students through select access to resources within Columbia Engineering, the University at large, New York City, and throughout the world. The Program makes available a stipend to support each scholar’s academic and professional goals, numerous research opportunities, faculty mentorship, enhanced team advising, as well as the opportunity to participate in the larger community of the Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program.

Haris Durani (pictured above), Applied Physics '15, was featured in the article “Meet the Future - Bold & Dynamic Students of SEAS” in Columbia Engineering by Elaine Rooney

Sean Ballinger, Applied Physics '16, is minoring in Computer Science. He graduated from Phillips Academy where he studied subjects ranging from fluid mechanics to complex analysis. His research interests include aerodynamics and nuclear fusion.

While in high school, Sean conducted research on a nanoparticle catalyst for hydrogen fuel cells at SBU, where he was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search competition. He has also worked as a software intern at the German Aerospace Center in Gottingen, implementing pressure-sensitive paint for aerodynamics testing.

Sean has been involved in the High-Beta Tokamak fusion experiment at the Plasma Physics Lab, where he helped with the construction of a new coil and is writing code to calculate plasma currents. As an intern at the Advanced Supercomputing Division of NASA’s Ames Research Center last summer, he ran simulations of the D8 “Double Bubble” aircraft concept on the Pleiades supercomputer. The results validated the new Launch Ascent and Vehicle Aerodynamics flow solver against wind tunnel testing.

He serves as an associate editor for the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal, is a founding member of the Euler Friends computational math circle, and recently received the “Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Presentation Award” from the APS Division of Plasma Physics during the 56th Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

Antón Baleato Lizancos, Applied Mathematics '16, was born and raised in Galicia, Spain. He spent 2 years before coming to Columbia living and studying at Lester B. Pearson United World College near Victoria, BC. There, he was part of a high school community of 160 people from over 90 different countries, all of them on full scholarship, living under the premises of international understanding, celebration of difference, sustainability and change through action. This experience deeply inspired him and shaped the way he sees the world today.

At Columbia, Antón has been able to satisfy his scientific curiosity through the study of Applied Physics with a minor in Applied Math. He is a research assistant at the Columbia Experimental Cosmology Lab, where he has joined efforts in the development of new detectors to observe the Cosmic Microwave Background. He is currently working on a project concerning unique, high-resolution, stratospheric observations of polar mesospheric clouds.

He hopes to have a career in Astrophysics or Cosmology, where he can harness the elegant tools offered by mathematics to probe the inner workings of the universe. His interest in Astrophysics was strengthened during the summer of 2014, when he interned at the department of Physics at Oxford University, searching for Supernova remnants in very low radio frequency data from the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) under the supervision of Dr. Anderson and Dr. Broderick.

Neel Rakholia, Applied Mathematics '16, is an international student from Rajkot, India. He is majoring in Applied Mathematics with minors in Computer Science and Operations Research.

Last Spring he worked with Dr. Tess Russo at the Columbia Water Center (CWC) to analyze and model changes in groundwater levels in a region in India. He worked to representing data, how it changed over time, and how it could be modeled.

On campus he is involved with the Columbia chapter of Nourish International. He is also a part of Residential Incubator a program intended to foster entrepreneurial spirit in college students.

Neel has also represented India at several events including the International Junior Science Olympiad in 2009, World Robot Olympiad the following year, and International Conference for Sustainable Energy in Israel.

Aside from academics, he loves to play volleyball and swim. His passion for hiking has taken him on two school trips to the Himalayas during the past two years. And his passion for tennis and football knows no bounds—especially when Rafa and Barcelona win.

Ari Turkiewicz, Applied Physics '15, from Plainview, NY, focuses on solid-state physics and organometallic chemistry. He hopes to unite these fields by using synthetic chemistry to build functionality into bulk materials. During his first two years at Columbia, he worked in the lab of Prof. Colin Nuckolls, studying the electronics of single molecular clusters. Since then, he has worked with Prof. Xavier Roy, synthesizing electromagnetically active, solid-state materials using clusters as building blocks, and recently published his research in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Ari is currently a contributor and content reviewer for the Columbia Science Review, as well as a member of the Columbia Ski Club.

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