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Fellowships & Awards

Physics Department Fellowships: Incoming Students

The Physics Department has significant fellowships available through the generous gifts and endowments of friends and donors. These fellowships provide supplemental funds for first year students so they enjoy a teaching assistant appointment with this reduced effort. This provides students more time to identify research opportunities with physics faculty and researchers and secure funding through Graduate Student Research Assistantships (GSRA). The department also offers a small number of highly selective graduate fellowships for incoming students. 

Norman E. and Mary E. Barnett Fellowship

This fellowship is granted every other year to an outstanding incoming student in the Graduate Program in the Department of Physics. The recipient will be selected on the basis of established excellence in the field of physics research that has important potential for technological development, or a student who is pursuing research that has the potential for application over a broad spectrum of fields. Such fields include but are not limited to experiential condensed matter physics; experimental atomic, molecular, or optical physics; biophysics; nuclear physics and medical physics. 

The next award cycle for the Barnett Fellowship is the Fall 2021 cohort. 

Colegrove Fellowship

The Colegrove Fellowship for graduate study is sponsored by funding from Barbara Colegrove. It provides full stipend, tuition, fees, and health insurance for one academic year.

H. Richard Crane Fellowship

H. Richard Crane served as a faculty member in the Physics Department from 1934 to 1978, serving as department chairman from 1964 to 1972. Professor Crane established himself as one of the most distinguished experimental physicists of the twentieth century. His work on nuclear physics and the physics of accelerators led to the invention of the Race Track Synchrotron. He was a pioneer in such things as the measurements on the gyro-magnetic ratio of the free electron and his analyses of helical structures in molecules contributed significantly to genetic research. Professor Crane expressed a sincere interest and dedication to physics pedagogy and training future educators of physics. 

The Physics Department honors his memory by providing the H.R. Crane Fellowship to five first-year students. This fellowship provides funds to incoming students that are above and beyond the traditional funding package to conduct research and study the summer before matriculation, as well as their first summer in the program. Students chosen for this award are done so based off of their identified potential to make great improvements or contributions to physics. Students are notified of the award via a letter from the department at the time of admission.   

Physics Department Awards: Current Student Application

The Physics Department offers a number of awards and fellowships for students in the program. These awards are all supported through gifts to the department. They are described in the following. 

Parkinson Travel Funds

Award Criteria: Awards are available to Physics Ph.D. students who are presenting either a paper or poster at a conference. Students must be studying experimental physics. Additionally, awards cannot be in experimental high energy physics. To be considered for funds, a student must:

1) Complete the application.
2) Attach a copy of the program or letter of invitation (e-mail acceptable) with the applicant's name clearly stated verifying participation in the conference.

Award Amount: A student may receive only one domestic or international travel grant award per fiscal year (July 1- June 30).

1) Domestic- up to $400 for travel in the continental United States, and up to $600 for transcontinental travel, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
2) International- up to $600 for conferences in Canada, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Europe, and up to $900 for conferences in Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.

Number Awarded: 10-20 per year

Deadline: Applications must be received at least three weeks prior to the conference. Applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.

Notification: Applicants will be notified of the results in writing. All awards are taxable; international students will have taxes withheld prior to receiving funds so actual award amount will be less than indicated above.

Important Notes: No application will be considered for funding retroactively. Funding is limited and may expire without notice. All awards are taxable; international students will have taxes withheld prior to receiving funds so actual award amount will be less than indicated above.


Kent M. Terwilliger Memorial Thesis Prize

A member of the Michigan physics faculty for more than three decades, Kent Terwilliger was internationally recognized for his leadership and achievements in particle physics. This annual award is given to a graduate student for the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis in physics.

Award Criteria: The selection criteria for this prize are the scholarship and importance of the research and its presentation in the doctoral dissertation. The timely completion of graduate studies is an important consideration as well. In addition:

1) The doctoral chair or co-chair must be a faculty member of the Physics Department
2) The doctoral degree must be either in Physics or in a joint program that includes Physics
3) The oral thesis must be defended by the end of the current winter term
4) The thesis must have been completed and submitted the previous year

Award Amount: $4,000

Number Awarded: One student per year 

To Apply: Students must submit a copy of their theis and have at least one letter of support from a faculty member. 

Deadline: Submit materials to the Physics Student Services Office ( by the fourth Monday in March. This prize is awarded by a faculty committee each April.


  • 2021 - Dr. Andrei Klishin
  • 2020 - Dr. Rachel Hyneman 
  • 2019 - Dr. Jessie Muir
  • 2018 - Dr. Benjamin Lawson and Dr. Zhengkang Zhang
  • 2017 - Dr. Stephanie Miller
  • 2016 - Dr. Steven Wolgast
  • 2015 - Dr. Dong-Ling Deng
  • 2014 - Dr. Yifan Zhang
  • 2013 - Dr. Christian G. Fink 
  • 2012 - Dr. Xuhuai Zhang
  • 2011 - Dr. Kelly C. Younge
  • 2010 - Dr. Fang Yuan

Marcellus L. Wiedenbeck Teaching Award

The family of Marcellus Lee "Marc" Wiedenbeck established this award to honor Marc Wiedenbeck's 40 years of service on the Michigan faculty. The Wiedenbeck Award is presented to a graduate student that exemplifies outstanding teaching abilities.

Award Criteria:

1) Teaching evaluation scores
2) Student comments on teaching evaluations
3) Feedback from faculty supervisors
4) Feedback from lab supervisors
5) Portfolio submitted by student containing: a) class materials (handouts, quizzes etc.) developed by student b) a brief overview written by the student of the instructional materials used in the course c) any additional material the student wishes to submit

Award Amount: $1,500

To Apply: Students must submit a portfolio to Student Services (1440 Randall Lab) containing:

a) class materials (handouts, quizzes etc.) developed by student 
b) a brief overview written by the student of the instructional materials used in the course 
c) any additional material the student wishes to submit.

Deadline: Students can self-nominate by emailing the Physics Student Services Office,, by the fourth Monday in March. The faculty committee will review the cases of all nominated students. They will narrow the field to between 3 and 5 candidates. Each finalist will be asked to discuss his/her portfolio in a 20-minute interview with the committee. A winner will be selected following these presentations. 


  • 2021 - Alisher Duspayev, Eric Gonzalez, Emery Trott
  • 2020 - Grace Kerber
  • 2019 - Shruti Paranjape
  • 2018 - Adam Katcher
  • 2017 - Ojan Khatib-Damavandi and Samuel Roland
  • 2016 - Yun Suk Eo
  • 2015 - Wen Guo
  • 2014 - Daniel Shafer
  • 2013 - Mallory Traxler
  • 2012 - Tim Saucer
  • 2011 - Brandon Erickson
  • 2010 - Cameron Gibelyou

Wirt & Mary Cornwell Prize

Funded by a bequest from the Cornwell family, the Wirt and Mary Cornwell Prize is awarded solely on the basis of merit. The Prize is distributed to a uniquely qualified graduate student who, during the four previous years, shall have demonstrated the greatest intellectual curiosity [and] given most promise of original study and creative work in one of six disciplines - one being physics.

Award Amount: $10,000

Award Criteria: Eligible students shall be drawn from the pool of those who have passed the Qualifying Examination.

Other factors include:

  1. Grades in graduate courses
  2. Independent study
  3. Research experience and accomplishments
  4. Demonstrations of intellectual initiative and originality
  5. Any other evidence of creative activity and potential shall be a factor, such as reports or papers written, apparatus designed or constructed, experiments carried out, and other notable citations received or academic competitions won.

To Apply: Students must submit a copy of their CV and have at least one letter of support from a faculty member. 

Deadline: CVs and letters of support may be submitted to Student Services Office,, by the fourth Monday in March. The prize is awarded in the month of April.


  • 2021 - Johnathon Jordan
  • 2020 - Elizabeth Drueke
  • 2019 - Callum Jones
  • 2018 - Jessie Muir
  • 2017 - Alex Page and Zhengkang (Kevin) Zhang
  • 2016 - Shengtao Wang
  • 2015 - Alex Burgers
  • 2014 - Hang Chi
  • 2013 - Aaron Armbruster 
  • 2012 - Ryo Saotome 
  • 2011 - David A. Adams 
  • 2010 - Brian Karrer

Physics Department Awards: Nominations

Community Engagement Award

The Physics Department seeks to annually recognize the efforts of its students in building a better environment for its members through the Community Engagement Award. Those nominated must be Physics graduate students who have proactively worked during the year to improve the overall department community (on either a large or small scale) and sought to incoporate diversity, equity, and inclusion ideals within their interactions and efforts. Students can be nominated by faculty, staff, other students, and/or members of the community. We ask that nominations are accompanied by a short explanation of why the student should be considered for the award. Up to three recipients will be selected by the faculty on the DEI Committee and recognized at the end of year Graduate Student Awards and Graduation Ceremony.. Recipients also receive a $600 monetary prize. 

Nominations are due to by the fourth Monday in March. Decisions on the awardees will be made by mid-April. 


  • 2021 - Huy Nguyen, Cynthia Nunez, Michael Viray
  • 2020 - Chelsea Hendrus, Rachel Owen, Alexa Rakoski Mihaliov
  • 2019 - Elizabeth Drueke, Riley Sechrist
  • 2018 - Xiyu Du, Midhat Farooq, Jessie Muir, Veronica Policht, and Bryan Ramson

Peter Franken Award

Peter Franken was a leading member of the Michigan physics faculty for two decades whose contributions include pioneering discoveries in non-linear optics, novel developments in spectroscopy, and detailed studies of physical symmetries.

Award Criteria: The Franken Award is presented every year to honor outstanding work by a first- or second-year Physics graduate student. Selection factors will include grades in graduate courses, involvement in research, and a letter of support from the student's advisor.

Award Amount: $2,000

To Apply: The student’s faculty advisor must submit a letter of nomination and support which includes the student’s involvement in research.

Deadline: Materials must be submitted to the Student Services Office,, by the fourth Monday in March. This prize is awarded by a faculty committee each April.


  • 2021 - Xiaoyu Guo
  • 2020 - Aidan Herdeschee
  • 2019 - Xiangpeng Luo
  • 2018 - Sangmin Choi
  • 2017 - George Cantwell, Rachel Hyneman, Andrei Klishin
  • 2016 - Trevor Bailey
  • 2015 - Jessie Muir
  • 2014 - Zhengkang Zhang
  • 2013 - Benjamin Lawson 
  • 2012 - Jack Kearney
  • 2011 - Daniel Wilcox 
  • 2010 - Benjamin Norman 

Frank Sevcik Award

The Frank Sevcik Award is awarded to a committed physics student who enhances the international environment of the University and plans to contribute to academic, government, or corporate research communities based in the United States.


  • 2021 - Jem Guhit
  • 2020 - Ceren Dag
  • 2019 - Andrei Klishin
  • 2018 - Chrisy Xiyu Du, Eva Kraegeloh
  • 2017 - Shruti Paranjape


For more information on any of these awards, please contact the Physics Student Services Office at