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Student Spotlight

Student News

Student Awards:

  • Elizabeth Sizemore and Hope Murphy won best student posters at the Texas section of the American Physical Society meeting.
  • Elizabeth Sizemore and Zhangatay Nurekeyev made the finals of the 3 minute thesis competition.

Student Presentations:

  • Julia O’Connell presented “The Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) Survey: Galactic Neutron Capture Abundance Gradients” at the American Astronomical Society meeting.
  • John Donor presented “The Open Cluster Chemical Abundances and Mapping (OCCAM) Survey: Current Status” at the SDSS-IV Colaboration meeting
  • Lubna Pinky presented “Superinfection and cell regeneration can lead to chronic viral coinfections” at the Texas Applied Mathematics and Engineering Symposium.
  • Hope Murphy presented “Characterizing Efficiency of Doxorubicin in Breast Cancer Treatment” at the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas meeting.

Student Publications:

  • MD Tanvir Hasan is first author on “Optical band gap alteration of graphene oxide via ozone treatment” recently published in Scientific Reports.
  • Lubna Pinky is first author on “The impact of cell regeneration on the dynamics of viral coinfection” recently published in Chaos.

Undergraduate Student Profile

Hana Jaafari

CAM00031-1-1My name is Hana Jaafari and I am a Fort Worth native. I attended a local private high school, Al-Hedayah Academy, and graduated in May 2013. In the late spring semester, I was offered the Newton Gaines scholarship by the Texas Christian University Physics Department, in addition to the Dean’s Scholarship awarded as an academic scholarship. I enrolled at Texas Christian University, and transferred 29 college credit hours from Tarrant County College. Therefore, I entered in August 2013 with a considerable portion of my core completed, so I could pursue almost solely my physics studies. I am currently a freshman within the Honor’s College and intend to graduate in May 2017.

I decided upon attending TCU due to the intimate environment of the classes and the Physics Department, as well as the proximity of the campus to my house. The campus is 15 minutes away and offers many occupational opportunities, so I am able to work and study in the same location. The Physics Department is not an intimidating size and establishes a warm setting for an undergraduate physics major. As a freshman, I was offered opportunities to engage in department activities, and have been consistently encouraged to interact with graduate students and professors. The classes are typically moderately-sized, and the atmosphere welcomes students to engage and actively interact with the instructors. The materials provided are challenging, but push the student to expand and refine their perceptions of the world around them.

While my parents are both scientists, I was initially unsure if I wanted to pursue physics. I have always been interested in being an active and progressive member in society, so I thought becoming an elementary instructor or journalist would be the best choice. However, I progressively understood that I wanted to further understand the mechanics of the world around me, and identify what processes ensured the universe functioned seamlessly. I decided to pursue physics because I wanted to fuse these two desires together by progressing the field as a female, thereby encouraging other young females to explore this beautiful study. Ultimately, I want to break down the barriers that seem to unconsciously be placed before interested females and bring the same diversity observed in chemistry and biology. Currently, I partake in biophysics research with Professor Hana Dobrovolny regarding the mathematical dynamics of cancer growth and intend to further myself in other research projects in the future.

Graduate Student Profile

Pankaj Kumar

DSCF0181Pankaj Kumar is a graduate student and teaching assistant at the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering with Mathematics minor from Texas Christian University in 2011. During his undergraduate career, Kumar worked on several research projects and was involved in various academic and cultural organizations. In 2008-09, he interned for a project funded by the US Army Aberdeen Testing Center (Maryland) during which he devised a digital demodulation algorithm to be used toward detection and analysis of shock profile acquired from a fiber-optic ballistic-shock sensor. He also worked at the Optical Spectroscopy Lab at the Department of Physics & Astronomy (TCU) under Dr. Yuri Strzhemechny in which he studied the effect of rare-earth-metal doping in zinc oxide nanocrystals. His research with Dr. Strzhemechny led him to carry on a summer internship in 2009 with the collaborators at Cochin University of Science and Technology, India. In the summer of 2010, Kumar qualified as one of the RISE (Germany) scholars, which provided him with the opportunity to participate in a summer internship at RWTH Aachen University (Germany). In Germany, Kumar worked on devising a MATLAB-Simulink platform for testing new generation super capacitors to be used in hybrid cars. His undergraduate projects included designing a bioreactor for in-vitro study of pancreatic cells and constructing three-dimensional refractive index profile of intraocular lenses using interferometric optical tomography. Apart from working meticulously on his coursework and several research projects, Kumar also served as the Secretary (2008-09) and Chair (2009-2011) of the IEEE student chapter at TCU. He was also involved with the ISA (International Student Association) and SAICA (Students for Asian Indian Cultural Awareness) during his undergraduate years at TCU.


Currently, Kumar is enrolled in Masters of Science and PhD programs in Physics at TCU with Dr. Bruce Miller as his graduate advisor. Kumar’s research interests include chaos, non-linear dynamics, statistical mechanics, computational physics, and cosmology. His present research focuses on the chaotic dynamics of one-dimensional Coulombic and gravitational systems. For an outstanding presentation of his research at a conference hosted by the Texas Section of American Physical Society, Kumar was awarded the Graduate Student Presentation Award in 2012. As a teaching assistant and adjunct instructor, he teaches experimental general and calculus based physics at the Department of Physics, TCU. He is extremely passionate about teaching and is an experienced tutor in the area of college level physics, engineering, mathematics, and programming. He served as a physics tutor between 2008 and 2012 at the Physics tutoring center of TCU, where he attracted highest number of students to the teaching sessions throughout his involvement as a tutor. Kumar’s hobbies include designing electronic circuits, computer programming, playing video games, cooking, and swimming.