Graduate Awards

Award & Recipient Award Information & Past Recipients

Albert Staats

Apparatus Prize

Awarded to the graduate student(s) who best utilizes the prototype building facility to conduct his/her research.

Albert Staats was the first head of the prototype building facility in the Physics Department. To show his passion for research and teaching, he and his family have endowed the Albert Staats Prize. This is awarded to the graduate student who has best utilized the prototype building facilities to conduct his/her research.

Past recipients are:

  • John Daniel (2019)
  • Alina Escalera (2013)
  • Alex Arjad (2012)
  • Chia-Cheng Change (2009)
  • Ke-Yu Pi (2008)
  • Lauren Boyd (2002)
  • Elizabeth Giesking (1998)
Ben Shen

Memorial Scholarship

Presented for outstanding research by a graduate student in the field of High Energy and Heavy Ion Physics.

Distinguished Professor of Physics, Benjamin C. Shen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1965. He joined UCR in 1969 and devoted 38 years of service at the University of California, Riverside. He was instrumental in the founding of the Experimental High Energy Physics group at UCR and to the building of the UCR Department of Physics (now Physics and Astronomy).

Past recipients are:

  • Anahita Alavi (2013)
  • Jun Xu (2013)
  • Yongjin Lee (2013)
  • Nathaniel Strickley (2012)
  • Adrian Swartz (2011)
  • Astrid Morreale (2008)
Robert T. Poe

Memorial Scholarship

Presented to the Doctor of Philosophy Graduate whose research is judged to be the best in that academic year.

Professor Poe came from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and joined the faculty at UCR in 1964. He was one of the founding members of the Physics Department and initiated the research program in Relativistic Heavy Ion Physics. He was a true public servant who devoted much time to activities outside research and teaching. He had a passion for energy conservation. During the energy crisis of the 1970's he helped the City of Riverside and even countries such as Taiwan plan for the future. He was also involved in the construction of the first synchrotron and the setting up of an Atomic Physics research group at National Taiwan University. It was on a trip to Taiwan that he sadly passed away due to a heart attack. National Taiwan University honored him with a building, The Robert T. Poe Memorial Lecture Hall. The City of Riverside honored him with the naming of the Robert T. Poe Substation which is in downtown Riverside. His family and friends have endowed the Poe Memorial Award for outstanding Graduate Research.

Past recipients are:

  • Ferdinando Giordano (2013)
  • Hang Zhang (2013)
  • Jairo Velesco (2012)
  • Hsiang-Ku Lin (2011)
  • Daniel Masters (2011)
  • Ke-Yu Pi (2010)
  • Nathaniel Strickley (2010)
  • Feng Miao (2009)
  • Peter Hunana (2008)
  • Guangzhi Liu (2007)
  • Steve Foulkes (2006)
  • Philip Perea (2005)
  • A. Jason McNary (2005)
  • Simone Campana (2004)
  • Ye Yang (2004)
  • Feng Chen (2003)
  • Timothy Kelley (2002)
  • Michelle Harin-Dirac (2001)
  • Siping Roger Qiu (2000)
  • Gregory Wood (2000)
  • Yu-Chang Chen (1999)
Anne Kernan

Graduate Scholarship

Presented for outstanding research by a graduate student in the field of Condensed Matter.

Anne Kernan graduated from University College, Dublin, Ireland with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1957. She joined the faculty of the Physics Department at UCR in 1967 and was a founding member of the Experimental High Energy Physics Research group. She rose to leadership positions in the American Physical Society serving as a Divisional Councelor for the Division of Particles and Fields, and on campus she served as Chair of the Department and later as vice Chancellor of Research. After a very successful career, including the discoveries of the W and Z bosons at CERN in 1983 and the discovery of the top quark at Fermilab in 1995, she retired from actrive research in 1995.

Past recipients are:

  • Sean Fraser (2013)
  • Mostafa Khezri (2013)
  • Atchara Punya (2009)
  • Zhiyong Wang (2009)
  • Jonathan Wyrick (2009
  • Gian Guzman-Verri (2008)
  • Guangzhi Liu (2007)
Michael Devirian

Graduate Scholarship

Presented for outstanding academic achievement by a First Year Graduate student in the Physics Graduate program.

Michael Devirian was a member of the UCR class of 1966 when he graduated with a B.S. in Physics. After graduation, he joined NASA/JPL in Pasadena and worked on the testing of the software used to process the data from the Surveyor spacecraft, which was the first to land on the Moon. From there, he went on to other jobs in the operations of planetry spacecraft, including serving as Director of Flight Operations for the Voyager project, which flew by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1981. After nine years in Washington, D.C. as detailee to NASA Headquarters, he returned to JPL, where he worked on the Wide Field/Planetry Camera II project for the Hubble Space Telescope. Michael received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service for his work on Voyager and the Hubble Telsecope in 1994. He became manager of the Space Science and Microgravity Flight Experiments in 1996, then manager of the Origins and Fundamentals Program in 2000, and is currently manager of the Navigator Program, which includes more than 10 space missions focused on the search for Earthlike planets and extrasterrestrial life. Michael Devirian has operated at the highest levels of NASA, even though he never received a Ph.D.

Past recipients are:

  • Chi Tang (2013)
  • Graham Krahn (2012)
  • Zhiyong Wang (2011)
  • Mariana Lazarova (2008)
  • Kathleen Michelle McCreary (2007)

Outstanding Teaching Assistant

Presented to the Teaching Assistant(s) who have the most significant contributions to teaching in that academic year. Candidates are selected based on both student assessment and faculty recommendation.

Past recipients are:


Tae-Moon Kwon 
David F. Register


Carl Yao


John C. Hayward
Gerald P. Kiernan


Michael Towne


Stephen W. Jensen
Richard C. Ward


Kris German
Chris Lietzke


Morris Toporek
Dana R. Beavis


Warren Eldredge
Mou Roy
Chuck Strickland


Richard Gaupsas


Jason Yang
Grant McAuley


Donald Lee


Wendy Char
Shih-Hui Chang 
Daniel MacDonald


Garry Noe 
Dennis Gilliam


Andrew Jason McNary


Konrad Stein 
Chris Hodges


James Cheney
Ben Harris


Jeffrey Ransdell
Baldev Patyal


Rostislav Rokitski


Yiming Liu 
Roy Mann
Lisa Gula


Raymond Gelhaus


Stefan Schmitz


Johnny Metelsky
Gilberto Rodriguez


Mohammad Aryafar


Torafumi Miyagi
Philip Perea


Harold Cooper


Gilberto Rodriguez
Chia-Hei Yang


Jorge Talamantes


Ken James
Kelly Corriea


Howard Lukefahr


Victoria Winters
Koji Yokoyama
Jeannie Anderson


Michael Schulkins
Martin Johnston


Hulya Atmacan
Christopher Prokop
Bradley Hughes


Varujan Cakaroglu
Jeffrey Hammond


Charity Jean Heman
Monica Philana Lopez 
Mayra Tovar


William Strossman
Barbara Rimando-Reyes


Harold Nguyen
Mariana Lazarova



Gian Guzman-Verri
Ziaoziao He
Corinna Jobe
Michael Maroun


MIchael Beaumier
BehnamDarvish Sarvestani
David Drummond
Reuben Gann
Daniel Wegman


Laura Green
John Muse
Graham Krahn
Lingchao Zhu
Chen-Yen Lau


David Black
Gonca Erdemci Tandogan
Hooshang Nayyeri
Cheng Pan
Yeming Zhu




Andrew DeGroot
Ryan Folz
Mostafa Kherzi
Oleg Popov
Oleg Martynov