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Emma BlanchetteFourth-year physic s major Emma Blanchette won the 2020 Lucjan Krause Scholarship.

Physics celebrating star students

The Department of Physics is celebrating two of its brightest scholars with the announcement of fourth-year undergraduate Emma Blanchette as the recipient of the 2020 Lucjan Krause Scholarship, and doctoral candidate Aaron Bondy as the winner of the Tom & Mylo Drake Physics Research Prize.

Blanchette, an Outstanding Scholar, takes the Lucjan Krause award and $1,000 for her consistent record of academic achievement, her outstanding service to the department and the University, and three years researching bacterial pathogen detection using laser induced breakdown spectroscopy with her supervisor, Steven Rehse, head of the Department of Physics. She says Dr. Rehse’s exemplary dedication to mentoring his students is not only encouraging, but inspires her to succeed.

“I was very excited about winning the Lucjan Krause scholarship,” says Blanchette. “It is extremely encouraging to receive a scholarship in recognition of the academic and departmental work I’ve done, and it has certainly motivated me to reach even further.”

Blanchette was also a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Undergraduate Research Awards 2020 summer student. She presented her lab group’s research on developing a nearly real-time medical test for the diagnosis of pathogenic bacteria with their poster, Signal Optimization and Chemometric Analysis of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Bacterial Spectra to Quantify Detection Limits and Improve Classification Accuracy, online during the Canadian Association of Physicists annual Congress, June 2020.

Aaron BondyBondy will receive $1,200 as the third student to win the Tom & Mylo Drake Physics Research, a prize created by university professor emeritus Gordon Drake ­to recognize and celebrate excellence in physics research achievements, in honour of his family.

The doctoral candidate specializes in theoretical atomic physics research where he computes and analyzes the effects of atomic processes such as radioactive beta decay, where one atom changes into another. He says this probes for fundamental new physics beyond what we currently know, to reveal genuine differences between theory and experiment.

“The award means a lot to me. I thoroughly enjoy the research I do, and it is nice to be recognized for it,” says Bondy. “This award bears the name of my supervisor, Dr. Drake, and is named after his parents — this adds tremendous value to the award as Dr. Drake has been a great mentor to me and I am very grateful for this.”

Bondy was selected for his exceptional record of research achievement that has been recognized nationally and internationally. He won an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship - Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement; studied for a semester at Drake University in Iowa; won first place in the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Canada’s (DAMOPC) Divisional Oral Presentation Competition; and ranked third in the overall Oral Presentation Competition of the 2020 Canadian Association of Physicist's Congress.

Rehse says Blanchette and Bondy truly demonstrate students’ commitment to service within the Faculty of Science and the University, and bring recognition and honour to the Department of Physics.

“These scholarships provide an exceptional and supportive learning experience for high-achieving students, emphasizing depth and breadth of research-based academic inquiry, strong and ongoing faculty-student mentorship, effective communication of research achievement, and achievement of external recognition of academic excellence,” says Rehse.

Lucjan Krause headed the Department of Physics through the formative decades of the 1960s and ’70s. His family established the scholarship to recognize deserving undergraduate students in any physics program who bring recognition and honour to the University of Windsor’s Department of Physics through their academic and scientific endeavors.

—Sara Elliott

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