Graduate Student Awards

Andrew Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowships

Awarded competitively by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The department elects to use this competition for their outstanding, advanced graduate students who are nominated by their research advisors and ranked by a department fellowship committee.

2024 Ashod Khederlarian
2024 Chunchun Wu
2024 Amritesh Sharma
2024 Sayanwita Biswas
2024 Wenjie Huang
2023 Shuyang Cao
2023 Motasem Elgamel
2022 Biprateep Dey
2022 Qian Song
2021 Atreyie Ghosh
2021 Iris Leung
2021 Mudit Rai
2020 Kuan Wang
2020 Harsh Vashistha

Department of Energy (DOE) SCGSR

The goal of the Office of Science Graduate Student Research program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.  This program provides supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to pursue part of their thesis research at a DOE laboratory/facility in areas that address scientific challenges central to the Office. U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency is required for eligibility.

2020 Logan Rice

Dietrich School of A&S Pre-Doctoral Fellowships (A&SF)*

These fellowships, awarded to outstanding “incoming graduate students”, allows students maximum flexibility in determining the direction of his or her research path.

Note:  Qualified applicants will be recommended by the departmental Graduate Admission Committee for consideration of the following awards by the Graduate Dean of Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences during the admission process.

*In the event that A&SF's remain following the recruitment admission process, current, advanced graduate students will be invited in June to apply for one of these for the coming academic year.

Year Awardee
2022-23 Mohamed Ismail
2022-23 Girish Kumbhar
2022-23 Chi Ho Lam
2022-23 Jackson Wallace
2020-21 Swapnil Dutta
2020-21 Ashod Khederlarian
2020-21 Rui Xue
2019-20 Travis Court
2019-20 Louis A. Gonzalez
2019-20 Marcell Howard
2019-20 Ryan Kaufman
2019-20 Param Patel
2019-20 Amy Sanderson
2019-20 Mingkang Xia
2018-19 Erin Fierro
2018-19 Maksim Gomanko
2018-19 Megan Splettstoesser
2018-19 Tianyi Wang
2018-19 Zehua Wang
2018-19 Tianping Gu
2018-19 Qian Song
2018-19 Yuze Zhang
2017-18 Daniel Doucette
2017-18 Atreyie Ghosh
2017-18 Jared Hand
2017-18 Malcolm Jardine
2017-18 Shu Liu
2017-18 Maria Mucci
2017-18 Nicholas Suarez
2017-18 Muqing Yu
2017-18 Yike Zhang
2016-17 Yilun Guan
2016-17 Chi Wing Ng
2016-17 Hezi Zhang
2016-17 Peijun Zhang
2015-16 Aditi Nethwewala
2015-16 Erin Sutton
2015-16 James Magnum
2015-16 Pineli Lu
2015-16 Brian Pardo
2015-16 Xinyi Wu
2014-15 Rudrajit Banerjee
2014-15 Hang Su
2013-14 Fan Gao
2013-14 Zhi Li
2013-14 Shouvik Mukherjee
2013-14 Yun-Yi Pai
2103-14 Risinie Perera
2013-14 Jonathan Beaumariage
2012-13 Andrew Hanlon
2012-13 Cameron Majoney
2012-13 Luther Rinehart
2011-12 Michlle Tomczyk
2011-12 Walter Klahold
2011-12 Benjamin Messerly
2011-12 David Myers
2011-12 Kara Ponder
2011-12 Ryan Sayer
2010-11 Joesph Blair
2010-11 Jerod Caligiuri
2010-11 Megan Kirkendall
2010-11 Stefan Schader Kell
2010-11 Michelle Tomczyk
2009-10 Andrew Balko
2009-10 Frank Davis
2009-10 Seth De Vore
2009-10 Jacob Fennick
2009-10 Travis Hurst
2009-10 Louis Lello
2009-10 Hunter Mehrens
2009-10 Joseph Meyers
2009-10 Justin Solinsky
2008-09 Joesph Meyers
2008-09 Christopher Irwin
2008-09 Kevin O'Connell

Dietrich School of A&S Summer Research Pre-doctoral Fellowship

Five fellowships are offered and awarded to entering graduate students who will help meet the Dietrich School’s diversity goals.

Year Awardee
2019 Melanie Dieterlen
2019 Marcell Howard
2018 Erin Fierro
2018 Alysa "Ly" Malespina
2018 Raphael Monroy
2018 Jacory Parker
2017 Maria Mucci
2017 Nicholas Suarez
2017 Orlando Warren
2016 Christine Mazzola
2016 Erin Sutton
2014 Brian Flores
2014 Olivia Lanes

Dietrich School of A&S Summer Fellowships 

These pre-doctoral fellowships are awarded for summer research are to top first-year graduate students in good academic standing.

Elizabeth U. Baranger Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

This predoctoral fellowship honors Professor Elizabeth U. Baranger, who in 2004 retired as the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies. Dr. Baranger’s distinguished career at Pitt began in 1955. She served as a professor of physics and Dean of Graduate Studies for the School of Arts and Sciences for 16 years before becoming Vice Provost. Dr. Baranger spent much of her career at Pitt working toward improving the status of women at the University and in STEM fields. Incoming PhD students of any gender in STEM fields who support the mission of Dr. Baranger to improve the status of women at the University of Pittsburgh and in STEM fields are eligible for this award. The recipient of the award is chosen by the Office of the Provost with input from the deans of participating schools.  The recipient is selected on the basis of academic achievement, potential to contribute significant research to their field, and commitment to Dr. Baranger’s mission. The award provides a 12-month stipend, a full tuition scholarship and health insurance.

Year Awardee
2019 Emily Biermann

Elizabeth U. Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award

This award acknowledges excellence in graduate student teaching.  It is sponsored annually by the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Student Organization, two awards are announced.

K.Leroy Irvis Fellowship 

In 1994, the University of Pittsburgh established the K. Leroy Irvis Fellowships to enhance the academic excellence and diversity of the Pitt's graduate student body and prepare doctoral students for academic and research careers. Each year, schools select distinguished doctoral applicants who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement to participate in this prestigious program, which provides a non-duty bearing fellowship for the student’s first year of doctoral study as well academic guidance and cohort-based mentoring throughout the student’s doctoral studies.

Year Awardee
2021 Amelia Camino
2018 Jacory Parker
2018 Raphael Monroy
2017 Orlando Warren
2017 Nicholas Suarez
2015 Daniel Perrefort
2012 Richard Ruiz

Mary E. Warga Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

This is a Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) fellowship offered to entering female graduate students in physics and astronomy, and chemistry. It was funded by alumna and former faculty member Mary E. Warga, a renowned optical spectroscopist.

Year Awardee
2022 Kimika Arai
2021 Lucia Kapitánová
2019 Sanchayeta Ranajit Mudi
2019 Tasnum Reza
2018 Si Wang
2017 Sze Ching Leung
2017 Amrita Purkayastha
2016 Hezi Zhang
2015 Kuan Wang
2014 Catherine Fielder
2014 Zixin Yang
2013 Zhuoni Qian
2012 Zhuoni Qian
2011 Michelle Tomczyk
2010 Emily Marshman
2010 Ren Lu
2009 Jing He
2008 Heng Shu
2007 Shanti Wendler
2006 Vanita Srinivasa
2005 Shanti Wendler
2004 Sushmita Biswas
2003 Emily Chapman
2003 Suchetana Chatterjee
2002 Olga Lakhina
2002 Emily Chapman
2001 Ummi Abbas
1996 Ileana Hancu

Myron P. Garfunkel Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

This award is given in recognition of outstanding work in conducting recitation sections in the introductory courses.

Year Awardee
2024 William Musk
2024 Fargol Seifollahi
2023 Raees Khan
2023 Monica Leys
2022 Ryan Koester
2022 Wenjie Huang
2021 Raphael Monroy
2020 Nathan Michael Herring
2020 Alysa "Ly" Malespina
2019 Daniel Doucette
2019 Malcolm Jardine
2019 David Setton
2018 Melanie Good
2018 Kyle Whitcomb
2017 Jonathan Beaumariage
2017 Paul Justice
2016 Christian Farina
2015 Fernando Salviatto Zago
2014 Simone Aiola
2013 Emily Marshman
2012 Bryan Nelson
2011 Rory Cerbus
2010 Michael Beran and Jeff Wuenschell
2009 Anja Weyant
2008 Brandon Eberly and Michael Opferman
2007 Brandon Eberly and Michael Opferman
2006 Zeynep Isvan and Cameron McBride
2005 Stephen Pellathy and Jonathan D. Gaffney
2004 Kiplin Perkins
2003 SanbdeepTyagi
2002 William O. Love and Rukmini Kumar
2001 Jon (Rob) Cressman and Yohannes Shiferaw
2000 Thomas Kling and Peush Upadhya
1999 Daniel Nestor
1998 Eric Hildebrand and Anandhan Jayaraman
1997 Matthew Posh
1996 Scott Peltier
1995 Simonetta Frittelli
1994 Cetin Savkli
1993 David Madio
1992 Thomas Vrana
1991 Savitri Venkateswaran
1990 Chris Burak
1988 Chris Burak
1987 Gang Zhu
1986 John Ivancovich
1985 Mark Clemen
1984 Pat Millard

NSF's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)

The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports individuals early in their graduate training in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Interested undergraduate seniors and graduate students in their first- or second-year should consult with their institution for guidance, workshops, and are encouraged to refer to the NSF website for eligibility, deadlines, and details. 

Year Awardee
2022 Mesits, Boris
2017 Sutton Sheriden, Erin

Peter F.M. Koehler Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

The Koehler Fellowship is awarded to a full-time graduate student in good academic standing, irrespective of their area of research specialization, who has shown exceptional promise for accomplishments in research and a commitment to quality teaching.

Year Awardee
2024 Marcell Howard
2023 Alysa "Ly" Malespina
2019 Christine Mazzola
2018 Corey Dominick
2018 Rongpu Zhou
2017 Kevin Wilk
2016 Hector Martinez Rodriguez
2015 Kara Ponder
2014 Simone Aiola
2013 Gendith Sardane
2012 Gendith Sardane
2011 Anja Weyant
2010 Andrew Hearin
2009 Chengdong Li
2008 Benjamin Brown
2008 Jun Wu
2007 Suschetana Chatterjee
2006 Lorenzo Rimoldini
2006 M. Belfort-Mihalyi
2005 Lorenzo Rimoldini
2004 Chiu Man Ho
2003 Daniel Nestor
2002 Samuel Schmidt
2001 Alessandro Sozzetti
2001 Ching-Wa Yip
2000 Patrick Clevenger
1999 Daniel Nestor
1999 Thomas Kling
1998 Joseph Busche
1997 Kyu-Hyun Chae
1996 Eric Monier
1995 Eric Monier
1994 Eric Monier
1993 Ertu Sorar
1992 Sandya Rao
1992 Chris Sirola
1992 Ertu Sorar

Thomas-Lain Fund Essay Contest

This award is issued to undergraduate or graduate students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The awardees are chosen by a committe evaluating essays the applicants supply. These essays are written based on a topic chosen for the contest each year.

Year Awardee
"Similar to the cosmic microwave background, it has been predicted that there may be a background of gravitational waves in the universe. Recent experiments that analyze the timing of rotating neutron stars indicate that this stochastic background may have been found. Please discuss the measurement technique and possible implications for cosmology."
2024 Francis Burk
2024 Victoria Bonidie
2024 Swapnil Dutta
2024 Ashod Khederlarian
2024 Monica Leys
"Quantum computing is in the news! What is it? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What issues remain to be overcome?"
2023 Cullen Abelson
2023 Motasem Elgamel
2023 Mihir Khanna
2023 Maria Mucci
"Fusion. As the ITER reactor nears completion, earthly fusion is coming closer to reality. Explain the physics underpinning the concept, the challenges to be overcome, social impact, and future prospects."
2022 Sayanwita Biswas
2022 Jared Hand
2022 Zhuan Li
2022 Elizabeth Meador
2022 Boris Mesits
2022 Juliana Sebolt
2022 Nicholas Suarez
2022 Pubudu Wijesinghe
"Explain how the Hubble constant is measured and describe the controversy therein."
2021 Hassan Alnatah
2021 Ali Beheshti
2021 Travis Court
2021 Louis Gonzalez
2021 David Gorski
2021 Yang Ma
2021 Sanchayeta Mudi
2021 David Setton
"Explain the ‘measurement problem’ in quantum mechanics and interpretations of its meaning."
2020 Alan Pearl
2020 Yasha Kaushal
"One half of the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for developing a method for generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses. Describe the physics, significance, and applications of this technology."
2019 Runyu Bi
2019 Namitha James
2019 Pineli Lu
2019 Shouvik Mukherjee
2019 Xinyi Wu
2019 Qi Yao
“Majorana particles have recently been observed in condensed matter systems. Explain the significance of the observation and discuss any possible relationships to elementary particles.”
2018 Lin Dai
2018 Danny Doucetter
2018 Brian Pardo
2018 Binbin Tian
"Describe the physics of coalescing black holes as related to the LIGO discovery of gravitational waves.""In their 1935 paper Einstein, Podolski, and Rosen (Phys. Rev. 47, 777 (1935)) argued that quantum mechanics gices an incomplete description of physical reality. Do their arguments still look convincing in view of later theoretical and experimental developments?"
2017 Amro E.B. AbdelRahim
2017 Yilun Guan
2017 Hector Martinez Rodriguez
2017 Erin Sutton
2017 Zixin Yang
"In their 1935 paper Einstein, Podolski, and Rosen (Phys. Rev. 47, 777 (1935)) argued that quantum mechanics gices an incomplete description of physical reality. Do their arguments still look convincing in view of later theoretical and experimental developments?"
2016 Sumit Sarbadhicary
2016 Zhouni Qian
2016  Sebastian Merkt
2016 Christian Farina
2016 Olivia Lanes
2016 Rudrajit Banerjee
"Describe the basic physics and applications for highly efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as a light source."
2015 Walter Klahold
2015 David Myers
"How do ultra-precise atomic clocks work and what are their current and future applications?"
2014 Wei Hu
2014 Zhen Liu
"Explain the difference between the phase velocity, the group velocity, and the signal velocity of an electromagneic wave."
2013 Louis Lello
2013 Wai Kin Lai
2013 Zhaoen Su
"Summarize the physical processes that are described well by quantum mechanics and discuss the conceptual weaknesses that this theory still has."
2012 Rory Cerbus
2012 Jen-Feng Hsu
2012 Elliott Jenner
2012 Timothy Licquia
"What area of science do you plan to explore upon post-graduation, with your degree in Physics and/or Astronomy, and why is it important?"
2011 Shonali Dhingra
2011 Anja Weyant
"What area of science do you plan to explore upon post-graduation, with your degree in Physics and/or Astronomy, and why is it important?"
2010 Kevin Sapp
2010 Mark Steger
"Write a paper on what you consider to be the three or four most important unsolved problems in Physics/Astrophysics and why."
2008 Jun Wu
"Briefly discuss an area of research actively being pursued by faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh."
2007 Shanti Wendler
2007 Suchetana Chatterjee

Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI) Award

This award is given in recognition of outstanding poster presentation at PQI Week. 

Year Awardee
2022 Mihir Khanna
2020 Dengyu Yang
2019 Erin Sutton Sheridan
2018 Lucy Chen
2018 Tzu-Chiao Chien
2018 Megan Briggeman
2017 Megan Briggeman

Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI) Graduate Award

Visit HERE for additional PQI awards and awardees.

This award is given in recognition of outstanding research trajectory in the area of quantum science and engineering. 

Year Awardee
2022 Hasan Alnatah
2022 Melanie Dieterlen
2022 Atreyie Ghosh
2019 Tzu-Chiao Chien
2019 Zhi Li
2018 Chenxu Liu
2018 Shouvik Mukherjee
2018 Azarin Zarassi
2017 Lucy Chen
2017 Yanan Dai
2017 Jianan (Arthur) Li
2017 Li Zhi

Zaccheus Daniel Fellowships

This fellowship is for an outstanding advanced graduate student with research in either astrophysics, cosmology, or astrometry.

Year Awardee
2022 David Setton
2019 Brian Flores
2018 Rongpu Zhou
2017 Hector Martinez Rodriguez
2015 Kara Ponder
2014 Simone Aiola
2013 Gendith Sardane
2012 Gendith Sardane
2011 Anja Weyant
2010 Andrew Hearin
2009 Chengdong Li
recipients prior to 2009 Awardee
  Benjamin Brown
  Jun Wu
  Suschetana Chatterjee
  Lorenzo Rimoldini
  Michelle Belfort-Mihalyi
  Chiu Man Ho
  Daniel Nestor
  Samuel Schmidt
  Alessandro Sozetti
  Ching-Wa Yip
  Patrick Clevenger
  Thomas Kling
  Joseph Busche
  Kyu-Hyun Chae
  Eric Monier
  Ertu Sorar
  Sandhya Rao
  Chris Sirola