Two Physics Graduate Students Win Third Prize at TcSUH Student Research Symposium

Winners Selected for Originality and Quality of Research, Quality of Presentation, and Skillful Use of Visual Aids

Fengjiao Pan and Xin Shi received third prize awards at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at University of Houston’s 58th Student Research Symposium. Both are fourth-year Ph.D. students in physics.

Fourteen graduate students presented their research at the juried competition. The symposium provides students with a formal venue to enhance their presentation skills, interact with other students and faculty from various disciplines, and compete for cash prizes. Winning students are eligible to apply for TcSUH Travel Awards, which help defray expenses to present their work at conferences and workshops.

The IEEE Council on Superconductivity is offering each prizewinner a free, one-year IEEE student membership. Once they are an IEEE student member, the students are eligible to join the Council, where there are opportunities to apply for student fellowships, receive assistance for attending conferences, and engage in leadership activities for young professionals.

Zhifeng Ren, M.D. Anderson Chair Professor of Physics and director of TcSUH, said the quality of all 14 presentations was outstanding, which made it difficult to narrow down the selections. He commended all students for their efforts before announcing the judges’ results.

Fengjiao Pan – Third Prize

Fengjiao Pan

Presentation: “Observation of Persistent Hot Carrier Diffusion in Boron Arsenide Single Crystals Synthesized by Chemical Vapor Transport Method”

Pan is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in physics under the supervision of Zhifeng Ren. Her research focuses on the synthesis of cubic boron arsenide crystals using the chemical vapor transport method. She also serves as co-chair of the TcSUH Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar Series. Pan obtained her master's degree in power engineering from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China.

Xin Shi – Third Prize

Xin Shi

Presentation: “Physical Origins of the Distinct Transport Behavior among Thermoelectric AMg2Sb2 Compounds (A = Ca, Sr, Sm, Yb, and Mg)”

Shi is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in physics. His advisor is Zhifeng Ren. His current research interests focus on designing high-performance thermoelectric materials and understanding their intrinsic physical properties. He received his B.S. in materials science and engineering and his M.S. in materials science from Northeastern University in China.

Three TcSUH-affiliated faculty members served as judges: Jiming Bao (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Audrius Brazdeikis (Physics), and Arnold Guloy (Chemistry). The prizewinners were selected based on originality of research (25%), quality of research (25%), quality of presentation (25%), and skillful use of visual aids (25%).

Chairs for the three sessions held throughout the day were James Meen and Vassiliy Lubchenko (Chemistry), and Lihong Zhao (postdoctoral fellow).

- Susan Butler, TcSUH Public Affairs