Student Achievement Award
2012 to 2013
Cleveland State University to Stony Brook University - Academic Year 2012-2013
Major: Physics and Electrical Engineering
When asked how her life has changed from being on exchange Marie quoted a statement from Eleanor Roosevelt. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Marie's beautiful dream is to be a nuclear physicist, researching the structure of nucleons at a supercollider such as the LHC in Switzerland or the RHIC on Long Island.
Erika Benhardt, her host campus coordinator, stated that "Marie is an exceptional young woman whom I have told on many occasions will someday win a Nobel Prize. She is extremely intelligent, bright, genuine and kind. She exemplifies what it means to take advantage of an NSE exchange!" In the fall 2012 semester Marie enrolled in four upper division physics courses and participated in a physics research project. She also joined Stony Brook's fencing club and presented at various NSE promotional events. She did all this and earned no less than an A- in all of her classes. Her spring semester was spent doing research, participating in all things Stony Brook and again helping with NSE promotional events. Erika said she could always count on Marie to tell students about the benefits of NSE and physics which were always humorous.
Marie's research at Stony Brook revolved around the Ring-Imaging Cherenkov Detector, the next generation of particle identification. Her work involved simulations, construction, and setting up the trigger and data acquisition system. The highlight of the project was taking it to the Stanford Linear Accelerator in California, where the detector was put into an electron beam with the hope of seeing the rings characteristic of the focused Cherenkov light. In the first 70 seconds of calibrated data, the rings were apparent on the pad plane. The detector worked, and the small lab group cheered and jumped around in triumph. She credited her research with giving her valuable tools essential to her nuclear physics career.
Marie indicated that she had ......"expected a lot from this exchange in my career, in my classroom learning, and in my life learning. It was essential to further my career goal of becoming a nuclear physicist to establish a network within the nuclear and particle physics community. I became aware of collaborations and ideas that I'd never before heard of in my pleasure reading. In the creation of this working prototype, my advisor and graduate students became my mentors, and my collaboration became my network. The classes I took at Stony Brook University - upper division courses in particle physics and relativity not offered at my home institution - developed my understanding of my research background and furthered my graduate school preparation. The professors that I've met here in class and at colloquiums have opened my eyes to the potential of my future, showing me all of the research that I could do. My own research project forms the foundation of my career as they teach me to think like a researcher, work independently, engage my new network, and embrace my life."
Marie's exchange allowed her to go beyond the boundaries of what her home campus could offer in physics research and to widen her definition of home as she learned that the world is big and unlimited, and life and opportunities are not limited where you live and go to school. She also learned that failure and lack of understanding eventually lead to a broader understanding of the concept of solving problems one step at a time.
"This exchange gave me the tools and experiences that I need to succeed", Marie said, "not only in graduate school, but in my career as a physicist. This bold claim is substantiated by the physicists I worked with here at Stony Brook, the people I met and colloquia I attended, the research to which I contributed, the life lessons I learned, and the ideas and attitudes I adopted. The exchange allowed me to realize my dreams. I met nuclear physicists, people living my dream; I worked with them. I learned from them. I was taught the tools of my research, the physics it contains, and the math behind it. My own research project forms the foundation of my career as they teach me to think like a researcher, work independently, engage my new network, and embrace my life. And most importantly, I believe in the beauty of my dreams."