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Category: Student Profiles

Michael Veit, who graduated summa cum laude in 2014 with degrees in both Physics and Mathematics, has been named the winner of the 2014 Leroy Apker Award by the American Physical Society. Veit will receive a $5,000 prize in recognition of research that formed the basis of his Honors Thesis. The University of Minnesota's School of Physics will also receive $5,000 to further support undergraduate research here at the University.

"The Apker is the most distinguished award recognizing excellence in undergraduate research in physics in this country," said Serge Rudaz, director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Physics. "We are all incredibly proud of Michael's achievement, which reflects brightly on the University, its School of Physics, and its Honors Program."

Veit entered the University Honors Program as a sophomore, motivated by UHP's emphasis on research. "I think the research component of the Honors Program had the most profound impact on my undergraduate career," he says. He credits UHP as a a major influence on his success and current career path: "My experience with research has been the biggest factor in choosing to continue studying physics in graduate school. Without UHP, I'm not sure I would have started conducting research as early as I did, and I would have missed out on some incredible experiences that shaped my career plans."

Veit is now pursuing a PhD in Applied Physics at Stanford University. "Michael's interests spanned many disciplines in science and engineering," explains Andrea Beloy, Michael's Honors Advisor. "When he found his fit in Physics, he really took off. I enjoyed working with him and am excited to follow his research career."

Interested students can learn more about faculty-directed research here on the UHP website.

About Michael's Research

My Honors Thesis was a study of transport measurements in the cuprate superconductor HgBa2CuO4+d. The cuprates are a class of superconductors which have a high superconducting transition temperature. This means that the cuprates do not have to be cooled as much as more conventional superconductors to become superconducting.

A full understanding of the cuprates remains elusive due to the observation of a number of anomalous properties which have been taken to be strong indicators that the physics of the cuprates cannot be described by the conventional model for simple metals, known as Fermi-liquid theory. However, I measured the resistivity, Hall effect, magnetoresistance, and Seebeck coefficient of the cuprate HgBa2CuO4+d, and I remarkably found that it behaves as it should in the Fermi-liquid theory. Such transport measurements are often among the first experiments to be performed on a new material. However, they are typically the least understood. My work has shown that there some aspects of these complex materials are rather conventional, and that there is still much to be learned from such measurements in the cuprates.

More about the Apker Award

The Leroy Apker Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics by undergraduate students, and thereby provides encouragement to young physicists who have demonstrated great potential for future scientific accomplishment. Two awards may be presented each year, one to a student from a PhD granting institution and one to a student from a non-PhD granting institution. More information is available on the American Physical Society website.

Many congratulations to Miss Minnesota 2012, Siri Freeh. Freeh, who will be a senior in the University Honors Program this fall, will now have the honor of representing her state in the Miss America Pageant. You can follow Siri's journey on her blog.

Click photograph to expand. Courtesy of Sarah Morreim Photography.


About Siri Freeh

Siri Freeh is a representative on the Nursing College Board, a Co-host for the Women's Only Cardiac Support Group at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, President of the Global Health and Transcultural Group, an advocate for the American Heart Association, and a volunteer for Camp Odayin. She's currently conducting research in cardiovascular disease and women's heart issues as part of her undergraduate experience in the University Honors Program, and plans to pursue a doctorate in a related area.

About the Miss Minnesota Pageant

The Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant is a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to outstanding young women to help advance them academically and professionally. Participants have gone on to achieve major success in diverse fields including medicine, law, business, broadcast journalism, theater, politics, literature and more.

Yefei Jin - Student Profile

November 3, 2009

Headshot of Yefei Jin Theatre Arts, Asian Languages & Literatures
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Class of 2012

Why did you choose the U of M?

I have always wanted to live in a big city. I enjoy the downtown skyline, the nightlife, and just the presence of people in general.

What do you like about being an Honors student?

I love the resources offered through the Honors Program. My Honors advisor is very helpful in giving me a clear picture of where my interests can lead me, not only at the University, but also after I graduate.

What was the best part of living in Honors Housing?

Living in the Honors community in Middlebrook Hall provided me with the opportunity to meet so many people. After graduating from a high school class of just over 100 students, I felt right at home at a school of over 50,000.

What has been your favorite Honors course?

Introduction to Theatre was a very exciting experience for me. I remember the first day, the instructor referred to the class as the Politics of Theatre. From that day on, I began to see theatre being performed everywhere, on the streets, in restaurants, even in my calculus class. Before I took the class, I had a very narrow perception of what theatre meant to me. I gave little thought to the different kinds of theatre, let alone its purpose and the impact it can play in people's lives.

Yefei's research interests:

Lauren Stoneberg

August 6, 2009

Lauren at the Roman Amphitheater in Verona, Italy.Hometown: Hastings, MN
Major: Management
Class of 2012

Lauren studied abroad in Milan, Italy during the spring semester of 2009.

Why did you choose the U of M?

"I grew up near the Twin Cities, took many trips to campus and most likely knew the Minnesota Rouser before I could write my full name. However, when it came time for me to choose a university for myself...so I spent a great deal of time looking elsewhere and considering my options. I am proud of that time and thoughtfulness put in, because I know that across the board - in terms of academics, opportunities for personal and professional development, location, atmosphere, and pride - I made the best decision for myself in attending the University of Minnesota. "

What's the best part of being an Honors student?

"I appreciate the opportunity to look at my collective course work as a whole, and consider how the individual pieces fit together. It's very rewarding to have made it to a point in my academic career where I actively use information I've received in my classes to complement or better understand what I am currently learning. Additionally, I've enjoyed meeting and working with a network of students and advisors that I frequently connect with at the University."

What was your study abroad experience in Italy like?

"I attended class four days a week and enjoy the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling on the weekends, as it was certainly an influencing factor in my decision to study overseas. One of the aspects of this program that I value most is that it is truly an international experience. I spend a great deal of time with other exchange students who find their homes all over the world...This has allowed me to build friendships and networks that will continue to make this a rewarding experience long after my return to the United States."

How has this experience contributed to your education?

"I've long considered a study abroad experience to be an extremely valuable tool in both learning and character development. My travels have brought to light many lessons in both achieving independence and relying on available resources, which I would consider to be highly transferrable skills in any occupation or industry. For as much as I've found study abroad to be introspective and about learning outside the classroom, it wasn't until I got into the classroom that I realized how much this opportunity will benefit my experience and perspective in my career. Participating in discussions with people coming from such varying backgrounds has been really enlightening in terms of how others see the world and their role in it. I've been fortunate enough to engage in conversations that have broadened my perspectives to a global scale through a scope that not just any group of peers could provide."