The department celebrates its 2013 scholars and award recipients at the annual college Awards Reception May 10. 

Refer to our Awards and Recognition page for origins and descriptions.

Dan Black Physics-Business Scholarship

Awarded to physics majors enrolled in the Dan Black Phys-Bus Program, $2,500 each year for four years. Funded through the generous on-going commitments of Mr. Dan Black, one of the department's earliest graduates.

Nousha Afshari is currently a double major in Physics and Business Administration with a 3.79 GPA. She is passionate about physics and using it to advance technology working in a company alongside coworkers with a variety of backgrounds. Nousha has already demonstrated her organizational skills leading team projects with deadline pressure in her business courses.  Her long-term goals are a PhD in physics along with an MBA.

John Kuper has been a Dan Black Phys-Bus Scholar since his freshman year in 2010-11. He is currently a junior physics major establishing a very strong academic record with a 3.84 GPA. As a Phys-Bus Scholar, John has been interning at Real Time Ordering as a programmer and website developer for the company. (Jason Kiefer is the company owner and a notable, former physics major–class of 2008.) John is the fourth member of a big family to major in physics at CSUF (father Tom, sister Kelly, brother Brian all graduated). John's younger brother Kevin is a sophomore physics major in the department, and his younger sister Emily is majoring in math. John is interested in pursuing a PhD in physics in a field such as optics or robotic vision.

Phillipe and friendsPhillipe and friendsPhillipe Rodriguez is a freshman physics major with a keen interest already in a career in business dependent on technology. Phillipe is a member of the both the Physics Club and the Entrepreneur Society. He has volunteered for the past few years with the American Youth Soccer Association coaching and refereeing.



Dan Black Physics Scholarship

Awarded each year to physics majors who show promise for a successful physics-related career, $4,000. Funded through the generous ongoing commitments of Mr. Dan Black.

Paul Ayers is a junior physics student who is an active participant in the Physics Club.  The Dan Black scholarship will help free him from his not-so-popular duties as a campus parking enforcement officer.  After graduation Paul plans to continue his physics studies in graduate school, and he aspires to a future academic career.

James Hasler is a junior physics major currently beginning his upper-division physics studies.  James a fine example of the old adage that persistence pays off! A self-motivated individual who is rarely satisfied with perfunctory answers or partial understandings, James continuously drives himself to achieve excellence in his studies. A highly capable scholar, whether behind the soldering iron in the lab or behind a textbook solving a difficult theory problem, we are pleased to award James a Dan Black Scholarship for 2013.

Sean Hatcher is a junior physics major just beginning upper-division coursework.  Sean has had to struggle to balance a work schedule with the challenges of physics coursework and the demands (and rewards) of being a husband and father to a young daughter.  He is interested in plasma physics, which he credits for inspiring him to pursue a physics major.

Kevin and brother Brian, department alumnus BS and Masters degreesKevin and brother Brian, department alumnus BS and Masters degreesKevin Kuper entered Cal State Fullerton as a declared physics major after compiling a distinguished record of academic achievement in high school.   Kevin is an outstanding student and has earned a 4.0 GPA in physics, and a 3.95 overall.  He works as an intern in a mechanical testing lab and has served in the Youth Ministry program of his church for several years.  In the future he plans on enrolling in a physics doctoral program and would eventually like to find a business position related to optics or lasers.  Kevin follows in the footsteps of his father Tom and two older siblings, Kelly and Brian, who obtained their bachelor's degrees in physics at CSUF.  His brother John is also a physics major and a current Dan Black Phys-Bus Scholar, and his sister Emily a CSUF math major. (There's still time Emily to double major in math and physics!)

Danny Orton is a physics and math double major and is active in both departments.  He has worked in Dr. Khakoo's electron scattering lab and traveled to Brazil for a summer research project where he designed a CSUF electron source for the lab in Brazil.  He is currently working on math research and is a three-time competitor in the Putnam competition.  Danny has earned a perfect 4.00 GPA in his physics coursework and 3.97 overall.  After graduating Danny plans to pursue a PhD in either physics or math.

Titan Shops Textbook Scholarship

Awarded each year to physics majors to recognize their excellent academic achievement and dedication and service to the department and their student colleagues, $300.

George Balch has been doing very well with his junior level coursework and has participated this year in the department's Supplemental Instruction program and has worked several hours per week in our tutoring center. George has also worked in Dr. Khakoo's lab and is coauthor on a paper published by the group.

Awards 2013 10Abhishek Desai is a first-year master's student and has earned A+'s so far in all of his physics courses. He is planning to work next year with Dr. Cheng on a master's project in astronomy and hopes to pursue a PhD in astrophysics.

Daniel and momDaniel and momDaniel Vander-Hyde is a promising sophomore physics major and active physics club member. He is an excellent and inquisitive learner who has thus far earned a 3.93 GPA. He conducts optical scattering research with Dr. Smith. This coming summer Daniel will be traveling to Pisa, Italy to work on the gravitational-wave research project "Characterization studies of the Advanced Virgo interferometer noise environment." Daniel's academic goal is a graduate degree in physics.


Cooperman Award

Awarded each year to a deserving physics major based on need and academic achievement to honor the memory of former physics Professor Ed Cooperman, $600.

Cris and friendCris and friendCristian Navarro is a junior who has been very active in designing and building lecture demos with Shovit Bhari, the department's lecture-demo curator. Cris is one of the leaders in the Physics Club and has been working in Dr. Khakoo's electron-scattering lab. Last fall Cris designed and built with Shovit a Ruben's Tube that demonstrates interference properties of sound by modulating gas flow to a line of gas flames along the tube. Cris and Shovit continue to work to add more demos to our collection.


Eiker-Adams Creativity Award

Ahmad and his momAhmad and his momAwarded each year to physics majors who design with faculty supervision an experiment for use as a lecture demo or in a department teaching laboratory, $2,000. Funded through the generous endowment of former distinguished professor and department founder Ray Adams in memory of Constance B. Eiker.

Ahmad Sakaamini has improved the classic Einstein photoelectric experiment to obtain better values for the fundamental quantum Planck constant. His work has helped to improve one of our lower-division introductory modern physics labs.


Norman Nitzberg Award

Awarded each year to a physics major for excellence in experimental physics and use of the machine shop, $300. Funded through a generous donation from the family of the late Norman Nitzberg, former depart-ment machinist.

Brandon Grisanti has worked in the machine shop using the lathe and mill building parts for experiments in Dr. Kha-koo's lab. Last summer, Brandon traveled to Brazil for six weeks of collaborative research between Kha-koo's group and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora. He will be working this summer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an Undergraduate Research Fellow and will be starting a PhD in Physics at the University of Nevada Reno in the fall.

Daniel Vander-Hyde is a promising young experimental physicist who is working in the lab of Dr. Josh Smith. His current research project involves characterizing optical scatter in support of Dr. Smith's gravitational-wave re-search. Daniel will be traveling to Italy this summer to put his experimental skills to work on the VIRGO gravitational-wave detector.

Robert W. Kedzie Award

Joan KedzieJoan KedzieAwarded each year to junior or senior physics majors who have shown recent improvement in their courses, $1,000. Funded through the generous and ongoing gifts of the family of the late Dr. Robert W. Kedzie, retired engineer and dedicated volunteer and popular tutor in the department.

Heather Chilton started as a Geology major and added Physics to pursue her passion for planetary science, which lies at the boundary of astrophysics and geology. In addition to the double major, she led the local organ-ization of our Society of Physics Students (SPS) by encouraging membership in the society among our ma-jors while serving as liaison to the National SPS. Heather also completed a research project at the SETI Institute analyzing data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter last summer, and she helped organize the Physics entry to the annual Pumpkin Launch last November. She plans to continue her studies in planetary science in graduate school.

Cinthia and parentsCinthia and parentsCinthia Padilla is a graduating senior who has been an excellent researcher, student, and peer mentor for our de-partment. She has conducted gravitational-wave research with Dr. Smith since 2010, completed summer REUs in Seoul, South Korea, and at SRI in the Bay Area. Cinthia has also served as president of the Physics Club and a peer mentor for the STEM2 program. She plans to attend graduate school in engineering.

Gaby, Heather, Professor ReadGaby, Heather, Professor Read


Gabriela (Gaby) Serna is a graduating senior who has been very active in research and service projects. She was an LSAMP scholar and a leader in the Physics Club. She has participated in three different research projects at CSUF, working with Drs. Khakoo, Hargreaves, Smith, and Loverude, and has been an author on two publications and several presentations at national meetings. Last summer she did research at the Uni-versity of Arizona through the CAMPARE program at Cal Poly Pomona. Gaby is planning to pursue a graduate degree in astronomy.


Wolfram Mathematica Award

Awarded each year to a graduating senior from the college who has demonstrated exceptional programming skills with Mathematica, a lifetime license to Mathematica. Based on nominations and input from faculty across the college and funded through a generous annual donation from Wolfram Research.

Matthew Giesler is an outstanding physics senior who has excelled in both classroom and research based computa-tional tasks. In 2012 Matthew was the top student in the departments Computational Physics class, with an overall score of A+ and 100% on each of his exams. Matthew then went on to complete a research pro-ject in atomic and molecular physics with Leigh Hargreaves, creating computer models of scattering dy-namics in electron-water systems, with the results currently submitted for publication in Physical Review A.

Outstanding Masters Candidate Award

Professor Tifrea and KyleProfessor Tifrea and KyleAwarded each year to recognize graduating masters candidates for outstanding scholarship in their physics coursework, $300.

Kyle Shigekuni received his physics undergraduate degree from UCLA. After graduation he pursued briefly a masters degree in engineering but kept a keen interest in physics and soon switched into our masters program. Kyle has been an excellent student and an outstanding teaching assistant in our program. He worked hard in all his classes and joined our condensed matter theoretical research group working with Dr. Tifrea. Last summer, Kyle thus had the opportunity to spend one month at the University of Iowa where he worked to simulate numerically semiconductor nanostructures. Currently, Kyle is working on a social enterprise to redirect apparel company revenues to fund healthier food alternatives for schools and improve child nutrition.

Outstanding Scholarship Award

Awarded each year to recognize graduating physics majors for outstanding scholarship in their physics coursework, $300.

Matthew Giesler will graduate in physics with a 4.0 GPA and his second bachelor's degree in less than three years. After completing a computer-modeling project involving atomic and molecular collisions with Dr. Har-greaves, Matt joined Dr. Lovelace's research group, where he is currently generating and analyzing results from numerical simulations of merging black holes. Matt has been accepted to several physics graduate programs and will begin his PhD at Caltech this fall.

Brandon Grisanti has been a very motivated and successful student. This past summer, he traveled to Brazil and the Federal University of Juiz de Fora as part a joint research program organized by Dr. Khakoo and CSUF, Caltech and Brazil and funded by NSF. Brandon has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellow-ship to work at Jet Propulsion Laboratory this coming summer and in the fall will start a PhD in Physics at University of Nevada Reno.

Danny Orton has been a top student double majoring in both Physics and Math. He has achieved a GPA of 3.97 overall and 4.0 in Physics. He has worked in Dr. Khakoo's lab on experiments involving electron-driven re-actions in biomolecules, which the group intends to publish. Danny traveled to Brazil in 2011 for summer research as part of Dr. Khakoo's ongoing joint research program between CSUF, Caltech and Brazil and funded by NSF.

Outstanding Service Award

Awarded each year to recognize physics majors for outstanding service to the department, $300.

Awards 2013 3Brandon Grisanti is currently president of the Physics Club and a tireless leader in organizing meetings and events, and recruiting new members and majors. Alongside his coursework, Brandon conducts electron scattering research with Drs. Khakoo and Hargreaves. This summer he'll be working on an experimental physics pro-ject called 'Electron Impact Studies of Molecules Relevant to Planetary Atmospheres'' at NASA's Jet Propul-sion Laboratory (JPL).

Awards 2013 2Bobby Wright has worked a great deal this past year with the department's Supplemental Instruction program and our introductory physics courses. He has coordinated with faculty to help plan the support sessions, and organize classroom visitations for his fellow student instructors as well as to maintain a shared database of program notes. Bobby has also been active in the Physics Club helping to organize events, and especially with new-student recruitment, is serving as the Physics Club rep on ICC and its editor for Dimensions. Bobby has been working in Dr. Smith's lab on developing optical systems relevant to gravitational-wave detection and spent two weeks last summer at Syracuse in another gravitational-wave lab there.


Thanks for all the photos Shovit!Thanks for all the photos Shovit!