10th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards

10th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards

The Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory was pleased to honor the following students as recipients of the 2017 College of Science Graduate Student Awards. Each student received $100 and recognition at a reception held on April 26.

Outstanding Scholarship: Tad Komacek

Tad Komacek, the 2017 LPL Kuiper Award recipient, was also named as Outstanding Scholar for the College of Science graduate student awards. Tad is a fourth-year student working with Professor Adam Showman. His research interests include magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), the atmospheric dynamics of hot Jupiters, the interior evolution of giant planets, and long-term surface-atmosphere climate feedbacks that control the climate and oceans of terrestrial planets; Tad has published 4 peer-reviewed papers on these topics. His scholarship has previously been recognized with the Carson Fellowship, 2 Galileo Circle Scholarships, and a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship. Tad plans to graduate in 2018.

Outstanding Service and Outreach: Margaret Landis

Margaret Landis is this year's recipient of the LPL award for service and  outreach, which includes attention to broader impacts and involvement in activities outside of academic responsibilities that benefit the department, university and the larger community. In her 4 years as a graduate student, she has continually participated in activities that have benefited the department and, more importantly, the larger community as a whole. She has made outreach part of her work as a NSF Graduate Research Fellow.
Within the department, Margaret's service includes 4 terms as a member of the Lunar and Planetary Lab Conference organization team and volunteer work with The Art of Planetary Science, Summer Science Saturday, and the LPL table at the Tucson Festival of Books. She is very active in STEM outreach to a variety of communities and is a popular speaker and tour leader, skilled at presenting complicated concepts on topics like climate change through entertaining and interactive presentations to groups like the staff of Lucasfilm/Industrial Light and Magic and Space Drafts/Astronomy on Tap Tucson. Margaret developed a geology-oriented kit for other graduate student volunteers to use at outreach events. She has served for 2 years as a Virtual Mentor for the Washington Aerospace Program of the Museum of Flight in Seattle, meeting online weekly with several high school juniors for whom she serves as a mentor. She has also been a regular participant in community programs like Career Shadowing Day (working with Tucson middle school students who might not have considered STEM as a potential career) and Nightwings (Pima Air and Space Museum). Margaret's dedication to service and outreach makes her most deserving of this honor; as one of her nominees writes, '"her passion about her research makes her a wonderful role model."

Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring: Chet Maleszewski

Chet Maleszewski earned the LPL Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Award for Spring 2016 and is the 2017 department recipient of the College of Science Teaching and Mentoring award. Chet earned the LPL GTA award for his work as a GTA with Assistant Professor Vishnu Reddy in the PTYS/ASTR 170B2 class, which is a General Education Natural Sciences Tier I  course. Chet's previous experience as a General Education GTA was especially useful not only to the students in the class, but to Dr. Reddy, for whom this was his first large-classroom teaching experience and first general education class. Chet was nominated for his efforts in involving the undergraduate students with the course material and helping them to succeed. For example, Chet organized and proctored several class review sessions and hosted extended office hours; he worked closely with students who were enrolled with the Disabilities Resource Center. He also posted study guides for each lecture and posted them to the course D2L site.