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Student Achievement Award

2012 to 2013

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Campus Profiles

Marie Blatnik
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."

Honorable Mention

Calle Treppiedi
University of New Mexico to Northern Arizona University - Academic Year 2012-2013
Major: Music Education

Carolyn Christianer at NAU said of Calle that she is very dedicated in her efforts to the NAU School of Music. You can see this from her contributions to our campus and the way she has flourished during her time at NAU. Rob Burford, her NSE coordinator at UNM, said that she has a very strong passion for music and felt that having a diverse background in the way music was taught at the collegiate level would assist her with her career goal of teaching music. Her involvement in the Music Program impacted not just her, but numerous others at NAU. The experience will have a significant impact on her life and those that she has assisted at NAU.

"I was motivated to participate in NSE because I wanted to expand my educational experiences outside of New Mexico ", said Calle. "The year I spent at NAU was one of the most educational and enlightening experiences of my life. While there, I was given opportunities to strive for excellence in both leadership and performance. One opportunity included helping the Associate Director of Bands reintroduce the color guard for the 2013 Marching Band season. I was able to demonstrate how restarting the color guard would not only visually enhance the marching band, but also create more opportunities for students who do not play an instrument to get involved."

During my fall semester at NAU, she participated in the marching band where she played piccolo, an instrument she had not previously played. After auditioning, she also became a member of the NAU Wind Symphony, where she played oboe, her primary instrument. Wind Symphony, is the top band ensemble at NAU and was afforded the honor of performing at the Gala Opening for NAU's newly renovated auditorium.

She traveled twice to Phoenix to be in featured performances; once for a performance at the Arizona Music Educators Association's (AMEA) annual convention and the other at the Tempe Center of the Arts with the Arizona Wind Symphony. She also participated in a small ensemble that consisted of flute, oboe, and piano.

One of her proudest achievements was helping to plan the first ever NAU School of Music Spring Banquet with 100 attendees consisting of student, staff, and faculty featuring various performances from all the different fields within the school of music. This event was so well received that it is already in the plans to continue.

Calle was voted into the Gamma Kappa chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national band service fraternity, and was elected to the office of Vice President of Service.

"My life has changed drastically since I participated in NSE", she stated. "The experiences has shown me that I have much more potential in performance and leadership than I ever thought possible. I personally have also noticed that I am more confident in my skills and with who I am as a person. I look forward to taking these achievements and experiences from the National Student experience at Northern Arizona University to further advance my education and continue to strive for excellence."

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