Honoring Excellence: College of Sciences Students, Teaching Assistants, Future Faculty Earn Top Annual Awards

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

This school year, dozens of College of Sciences undergraduate students have been recognized across Georgia Tech and beyond for significant academic achievements and excellence, including several honored during Tech’s Student Honors Celebration, held on April 21 at the Academy of Medicine.

College of Sciences graduate students and researchers have also been recognized with Georgia Tech Teaching Assistant Awards and special certificates during the Institute’s Teaching Assistant (TA) and Future Faculty Award ceremonies, held on April 20 at the Bill Moore Student Success Center.

Please join us in congratulating these special recipients across our community:


Love Family Foundation Award

Yashvardhan Tomar, a double major in the School of Physics and the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, is the recipient of one of the highest academic honors given to a Georgia Tech graduating senior, the Love Family Foundation Award

The accolade is made possible by a generous grant from the Gay and Erskine Love Foundation, and recognizes the undergraduate student with the most outstanding scholastic record of all members of the class. 

Each of Georgia Tech’s six colleges nominates its top graduating student, and the winner is ultimately selected by the academic associate deans in coordination with the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE). 

“I find myself at a loss for words to truly convey how grateful I feel to the institute for selecting me for this really high honor,” Tomar says.

“I still remember my first day as a freshman at Tech—a young boy beyond-eager to learn so many new things and get involved in so much exciting research—an excitement that has stayed with me since," he shares.

"The news of this award comes as a strong boost of encouragement and appreciation to propel with me strengthened promise towards the fulfillment of my aspirations. I express my most heartfelt thanks to everyone who invested their belief in my candidature for this highly prestigious award.”


Roger M. Wartell and Stephen E. Brossette Award for Multidisciplinary Studies in Biology, Physics, and Mathematics

This award is presented to an undergraduate student with demonstrated accomplishments at the interface of biology with either physics or mathematics. The award was established by a generous donation from alumnus Stephen E. Brossette in recognition of the many contributions of Roger M. Wartell to the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The 2022 winner, Lila Nassar, is a physics major with a concentration in the physics of living systems. Nassar has a broad set of research experiences with faculty Martin Mourigal and Jennifer Curtis in the School of Physics. Nassar has also served as the secretary and president of the Georgia Tech Society of Women in Physics.

“Lila has broad interests and lots of ambition,” says Curtis. “She brings both an intensity that is useful for driving forward progress and dealing with setbacks. She brings that same fire and energy to her role as president of the Society of Women in Physics.”

In summer 2021, Nassar also participated in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Vanderbilt University.


A. Joyce Nickelson and John C. Sutherland Undergraduate Research Award 

This award was created by the endowment gift of Joyce E. Nickelson and John C. Sutherland to honor Joyce’s late mother, alumna A. Joyce Nickelson, and Sutherland. The scholarship, which recognizes excellence at the interface of mathematics and physics, is awarded to an undergraduate student who has jointly studied mathematics and physics, and who has engaged in scientific research.

Nickelson-Sutherland award winner Sarah Eisenstadt is completing majors in physics and mathematics, and also studies applied languages and intercultural studies.

Eisenstadt has completed research with Michael Loss in the School of Mathematics on mathematical physics and the development of an energy functional to describe superconductivity, and with Stephanie Boulard on the artist Marc Chagall. She has also served as a teaching assistant for linear algebra and multivariable calculus. 


Cynthia L. Bossart and James Efron Scholarship 

This honor was created by alumna Cindy Bossart to recognize high academic achievement by a student in the College of Sciences who is a non-Georgia resident. 

The 2022-3 recipient of this award, Sena Ghobadi, is a resident of Florida who graduated from American Heritage School in Broward County. Ghobadi has made a strong start as a first-year as a physics major at Georgia Tech: she has already begun work as a teaching assistant for Physics 2211. 


Metha Phingbodhipakkiya Memorial Scholarship 

This honor was established by Maranee Phingbodhipakkiya to honor her father, his love for physics, and the sacrifices he made to assure that she would have the finest education. This award is made to a junior or senior in the College of Sciences based on academic merit.

The recipient of this award, Nabojeet Das, is a graduate of Tucker High School and is a candidate for the Bachelor of Science in Biology with the Research Option designation and Biologically Inspired Design certificate.

Das has served as a teaching assistant for the introductory Organismal Biology course, and as a resident assistant for Georgia Tech Housing. His research with Aniruddh Sarkar, an assistant professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, focuses on the creation of small and portable biosensors for Covid-19 and other diseases.

He has presented his research at a meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Das is a member of DramaTech, the Minority Association of Premed Students, and Buzz Mobile Health. 


Virginia C. and Herschel V. Clanton Jr. Scholarship 

This scholarship was established by alumnus Herschel V. Clanton Jr. to honor his wife, Virginia. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student in the College of Sciences who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

The 2022 recipient of the Clanton Scholarship, Griffin Wagner, is a graduate of Vero Beach High School in Florida and is currently a biology major.

Wagner’s research with Jennette Yen in the School of Biological Sciences, with collaborators at the Carter Center, the University of Georgia, Texas A&M, and the African country of Chad, focuses on inhibiting the transmission of African guinea worm disease.

He has completed an internship at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at Georgia Tech. Wagner presented his research at the 2022 Ocean Sciences meeting. 


Robert A. Pierotti Memorial Scholarship

The College of Sciences presents this scholarship in honor of Robert “Bob” Pierotti, past dean of the College and founder of the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC). The award is made to top graduating seniors in the College who have excelled both academically and in research.

The two recipients of the 2022 Pierotti Award are Holly McCann and Soham Kulkarni.

McCann is a biology major who is completing the Biomolecular Technology certificate. She is a researcher with Loren Williams in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, working on the prediction and visualization of the structure of RNA. McCann’s work led to the publication of a paper in the journal Nucleic Acids Research. She has also participated in the BeeSnap Vertically Integrated Project with Jennifer Leavey. McCann has also completed internships with Syngenta and Fidelity Investments.

“Holly is remarkable,” says Williams. “She is highly intelligent, creative, motivated, functional and productive. She is destined to be an extremely successful scientist.”

Kulkarni, a graduate of Chattahoochee High School, is a biochemistry major who will also complete the Health and Medical Sciences and Computational Data Analysis minors.

He has conducted research with Cassie S. Mitchell in the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia laboratory. He is a coauthor of a paper in the journal Pharmaceutics and has presented his research at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference. He also serves as an Undergraduate Research Ambassador.


Larry O’Hara Graduate Scholarship

This honor is provided by an endowment bequeathed by alumnus Larry O’Hara. It is presented to outstanding graduate students in the College of Sciences. 

All of the 2022 winners have established a strong record of research with multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as multiple conference presentations:

Yoo is currently studying graph theory with Xingxing Xu and holds a prestigious NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship to support her doctoral studies.

Márquez-Zacarias’ doctoral research with William Ratcliff focuses on developing theories to understand how multicellular organisms became more complex, and how microbial populations are structured in space.

Tsukahara, who is studying cognition and brain science with Randall Engle, focuses on investigating the nature of attention control with the use of pupillometry and mind-wandering reports. 


Herbert P. Haley Fellowship

This graduate fellowship recognizes significant accomplishments and outstanding academic achievements for students at Georgia Tech.

The 2022 winners are:


Teaching Assistant Awards

The College of Science had four winners among the 2022 Georgia Tech Teaching Assistant Awardees, with three hailing from the School of Mathematics. The awards are presented annually by the Center for Teaching and Learning to celebrate the contributions to teaching excellence at Georgia Tech made by graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants:

  • Undergraduate Teaching Assistant of the Year:
    Bryan Clark, Mathematics 

  • Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year:
    Tao Yu, Mathematics

  • Graduate Student Instructor of the Year:
    Elizabeth (Liz) Jones, Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • Online Head Teaching Assistant of the Year:
    Jaewoo Jung, Mathematics


Tech to Teaching Certificates

Tech to Teaching Certificates are designed to prepare Georgia Tech graduate and postdoctoral associates for college teaching positions.

Through this certificate program, participants will develop a thorough understanding of the scholarship of teaching and learning, and will demonstrate their ability to apply these skills in the classroom.

The following College of Sciences students were awarded Tech to Teaching Certificates:


Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL) Certificates

As a member institution in the CIRTL national network, Georgia Tech joins with 37 other universities on a mission to improve undergraduate education through the preparation of future faculty.

Participants in these certificate programs learn about how students learn, how differences among students affect their learning, evidence-based teaching and assessment practices, and teaching with technology.

Participants who complete these foundation-level learning outcomes through a combination of coursework, workshops, or online learning, receive the CIRTL Associate certificate.   

The following College of Sciences students were awarded CIRTL Certificates:


Media Contact: 

Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II
College of Sciences

Contact: Jess Hunt-Ralston
Director of Communications
College of Sciences