College of Science seniors honored at annual luncheon

Author: Stephanie Healey

The top graduating seniors in the College of Science were honored at the annual Dean’s Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 15 in the Jordan Hall of Science. Gregory Crawford, William K. Warren Dean of the College of Science, presented the Dean’s Award and Dean’s Research Award and the chairs of each department recognized the top students in each of their majors.  In addition, Anthony Hyder, professor of physics, was awarded the Shilts/Leonard Teaching Award.

Dean’s Award

The Dean’s Award was established in 1980 and is presented to a graduating senior in the College of Science in recognition of exemplary personal character, leadership, service, and outstanding scholarship. This year’s Dean’s Award was given to Jeffrey Hansen and Anna Kottkamp.

Jeffrey Hansen

Jeff Hansen
Jeff Hansen

Biological sciences major Jeffrey Hansen had an impressive record of leadership in the College of Science and Department of Biological Sciences during his time at Notre Dame.

Hansen co-founded a program called Dinners for Increased Scholarly Communication (DISC). The dinners, typically targeted towards freshman science intents, provide the opportunity for students to interact with professors and upperclassmen. The goal of the dinners is to increase communication and engagement in the sciences.  

Hansen was also one of four members in the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program. Sponsored by Epicenter and directed by Stanford University, the UIF program aims to empower students leaders across the country to increase engagement with entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking, and venture creation at their home universities. Hansen and his team hosted several events throughout the academic year to discuss their ideas, including Mobile miNDspace, a moveable whiteboard that would travel around campus and encourage collaborative responses to innovative questions, and the Council for Academic Leadership and Innovation, a team of students and faculty who would collaborate to break down barriers to interdisciplinary education and promote a culture of innovation.

In addition to creating new programing on campus, Jeff had extensive research experience working with Beth Archie, the Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences. Off campus, Hansen spent his summers conducting research at the National Institutes of Health, Indiana University School of Medicine, and the University of Virginia.

Hansen will enter the M.D./Ph.D. program at  Washington University in St. Louis in the fall.

Anna Kottkamp

Anna Kottkamp, 2015 University of Notre Dame Valedictorian
Anna Kottkamp

Anna Kottkamp, an environmental sciences major, international development studies minor, and member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, maintained a perfect grade point average at Notre Dame.

Kottkamp was an undergraduate researcher with Jennifer Tank, Ludmilla F., Stephen J., and Robert T. Galla Professor of Biological Sciences, and participated in a watershed scale study about the impact of cover crops on agricultural streams. Her work has been accepted for presentation at the Society of Freshwater Sciences annual conference in June.

In addition, Kottkamp had extensive international experience and spent two summers abroad in South America. During the summer of 2013, she traveled to Peru for a nine-week internship at the Manu Biosphere Reserve where she helped design an environmental education curriculum. Last summer, she received an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grant to conduct a case study on an organization that works with small-scale farmers in Bolivia.

Kottkamp was also a member of the varsity women’s rowing team. She joined the team as a walk-on with no competitive rowing experience and went on to earn a full athletic scholarship.  She will pursue a year of postgraduate service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Oregon and plans to enroll in an environmental sciences graduate program.

In addition to the earning the Dean’s Award, Kottkamp was named the University’s 2015 Valedictorian. View her valedictory address.

Dean’s Research Award

The Dean’s Research Award is presented in recognition of exceptional research within and across the traditional boundaries of scholarly disciplines to a graduating senior who embraces, facilitates, and fosters an environment of scientific inquiry. Sienna Durbin and Anna Stephenson earned this year’s Dean’s Research Award.

Sienna Durbin
Sienna Durbin

Sienna Durbin

Biological sciences major and Latino studies minor Sienna Durbin was an active researcher during her time at Notre Dame. During the fall of her sophomore year, Durbin began working with Zachary Schafer, Coleman Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, examining the role of antioxidant enzymes in mediating the survival of breast cancer cells.

Durbin is a co-author on a paper that was published in Cancer Research, a top peer-reviewed journal, and is a co-author on another manuscript that is being in preparation for publication.  Durbin plans to pursue a year of postgraduate service in Boston and then attend medical school.

Anna Stephenson

Anna Stephenson
Anna Stephenson

Anna Stephenson was an honors track physics major with advanced physics and applied physics concentrations. She began research her freshman year and has worked with Kenjiro Gomes, the Freimann Assistant Professor of Physics and Jacek Furdyna, the Aurora and Thomas Marquez Professor of Information Theory and Computer Technology, in the area of semiconductor nanowires.

In addition to her research on campus, Stephenson spent the summer after her sophomore year at Stanford, working with scanning tunneling microscopy. In the summer of 2014, she worked at the Rowland Institute at Harvard on the subject of microfluidics.

Stephenson’s work has resulted in five conference presentations and two manuscripts that are in preparation for publication.  She received a very prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and will attend graduate school next fall at Harvard University.

Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics

Outstanding Applied and Computational Mathematics Major Award

  • Madeline Bender, Madison, Alabama

Department of Biological Sciences

Outstanding Biology Student Leader Award 

  • Elena Brindley, Downingtown, Pennsylvania 
  • Jonathan Jou, Chicago, Illinois

Mr. and Mrs. Frank McDonald Undergraduate Research Award

  • Rachel Miceli, Queens, New York

Outstanding Environmental Scientist Award

  • Julia Hart, Mundelein, Illinois 

Outstanding Biological Scientist Award

  • Sienna Durbin, Newton, Massachusetts
  • Eric Donahue, Brentwood, Tennessee
  • Mary Olivia Balmert, San Diego, California

Robert Braco, M.D., Honors Research Award

  • Samantha Piekos, Naperville, Illinois

Paul F. Ware, M.D., Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award

  • Jeffrey Hansen, Vienna, Virginia

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Outstanding Biochemist Award

  • Evan Merryman, South Bend, Indiana

Outstanding Biochemistry Research Award

  • Travis Marshall-Roth, Charlottesville, Virginia

Outstanding Chemist Award

  • Michael Ahlers, Le Mars, Iowa

Outstanding Chemistry Research Award

  • Daniel Kwasnieski, Middletown, Delaware

William R. Wischerath Outstanding Major Award

  • Kathleen Anthony, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Department of Mathematics

Robert P. Balles Notre Dame Mathematics Scholar

  • Andrew Baglini, Cumberland, Rhode Island

Robert P. Balles Notre Dame Mathematics Scholar – Honors

  • Jacob Haley, Mufreesboro, Tennessee

Geroge Kolettis Award in Mathematics

  • Jack Burkhart, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

General Electric Prize for Honors Mathematics Majors

  • Jack Burkhart, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Jacob Haley, Mufreesboro, Tennessee
  • Xiao Luciena Xiao, Tianjin, China

General Electric Prize for Mathematics Majors

  • Eric Celeste, Syracuse New York
  • Eric Krakowiak, Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • William Patrick McCormack, Los Angeles, California
  • William Raaf, Naperville, Illinois
  • Ningzhou Shen, Jiaxing, China

John Thomas Montgomery Scholarship in Mathematics

  • Xiao Luciena Xiao, Tianjin, China

Norman and Beatrice Haaser Scholarship in Mathematics

  • Andrew Baglini, Cumberland, Rhode Island
  • Jack Burkhart, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Jacob Haley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Eric Krakowiak, Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Ningzhou Shen, Jiaxing China
  • Xiao Luciena Xiao, Tianjin, China

Department of Physics

Outstanding Senior Physics Major Award

  • William Patrick McCormack, Los Angeles, California
  • Anna Stephenson, Guymon, Oklahoma

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award

  • Mitch McNanna, Hinckley, Illinois
  • Alexa Rakoski, Camas, Washington 

Paul Chagnon Award for Service to the Department 

  • Katrina Magno, Marlborough, Massachusetts

Preprofessional Studies

Lawrence H. Baldinger Award

  • Gabriella T. Gonzales, Florence, Kentucky
  • Matthew N. Metzinger, Youngstown, Ohio
  • Adam Z. Stepanovic, Munster, Indiana

Rev. Joseph L. Walter, C.S.C Award

  • Jason C. Hoard, Carmel, Indiana
  • Rachel E. Hughes, Salem, South Carolina

Samuel J. Chmell M.D. Award

  • Liam T. Kane, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
  • Christopher J. Tricarico, Merrick, New York

Patrick J. Niland, M.D. Award

  • Michael Cosiano, Findlay, Ohio
  • Michael D. Bass, Fort Worth, Texas

Science-Business Award

  • William Alex Cantrell, West Bloomfield, Michigan

Glynn Family Honors Program Science Graduates

2015 Glynn Family Honors Program
Glynn Family Honors Program Science Graduates

  • Kathleen Anthony, Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Stephen Bowen, Avon, Ohio
  • Claire  Brady, Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Sarah  Burbank, Orlando, Florida
  • Madelynn Conlin, Arlington Heights, Illinois
  • Alexander Dang, Columbus, Ohio
  • Nicholas, Deason, Beltsville, Maryland
  • Margaret, Dickson, Naperville, Illinois       
  • Eric Donahue, Brentwood, Tennessee
  • Sienna Durbin, Newton, Massachusetts
  • Lauren Firanek, Villa Park, Illinois
  • Stephany Fournier, North Port, Florida
  • Marissa Guo, Plainsboro, New Jersey
  • Katherine Hayman, Marblehead, Massachusetts
  • Elizabeth Heilmann, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Vijay Higgins, Springfield, Ohio
  • Amy Johnson, St. Charles, Illinois
  • Jonathan Jou, Chicago, Illinois
  • Liam Kane, Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania
  • Benjamin Kass, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Edward Kielb, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Anna Kottkamp, Wenatchee, Washington
  • David Lenz, Evanston, Illinois
  • Wenxin Liu, Okemos, Michigan
  • Megan Marshalla, Lake Zurich, Illinois       
  • Matthew Mattera, Exton, Pennsylvania
  • Mitch McNanna, Hinckley, Illinois
  • Weston Niermeyer, Columbus, Ohio
  • Rebecca Noble, Needham, Massachusetts
  • Jennifer Noyola, Weston, Florida
  • Alexa   Rakoski, Camas, Washington
  • Anna Katya Simon, Chicago, Illinois
  • Herbert Parker Stride, Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Weston Terrasse, Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Stephanie Wachs, Marietta, Georgia
  • Katherine Wood, Dallas, Texas
  • Daniel Wright, Pleasanton, California

Congratulations to the 2015 College of Science awardees!

Originally published by Stephanie Healey at on May 19, 2015.