SAS Undergraduate Student Awards

Given to junior or senior undergraduate students for outstanding research in spectroscopy


Nicole Miller

Recognizing work in laser induced breakdown spectroscopy of complex mineral samples and application of plasmas to cancer research including as a possible alternative to chemotherapy.

My name is Nicole Miller. I graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in May 2020. My bachelors was completed in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Global Engineering. My research has focused on integrating machine learning with Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy using various sample types such as soil, geological, and metal. I have also worked on a project for an alternative to chemotherapy combining electroporation and cold plasma in lung cancer cells. Currently, I am living in Minnesota and hoping to find work with thermal/fluid systems.  

Sofia Pozsonyiov

Recognizing the application of statistics, machine learning, and visualization to a LIBS project began in 2017 when she was a high school student.

Sofia Pozsonyiova is an applied mathematics and statistics student who just finished her last year of undergraduate studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Her primary research focus is on integrating machine learning and statistical methods to improve the interpretation and classification of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) data. Sofia began working with Dr. Prasoon Diwakar back in 2017 at Frost Science Museum where she was first introduced to the field and subject of LIBS. From there she has continued to work with Dr. Diwakar, pioneering new algorithms and tools to better handle data generated via laser spectroscopy. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Sofia will be pursuing a higher degree in applied mathematics so that she could continue evolving her knowledge and passion for the field! 

Michaela Ann Sullivan

Recognizing research in microplastics and a passion for the environment via a collaboration with the Marine Biology department at University of New Haven, and an internship at Horiba doing microspectroscopic analysis of plastics in Connecticut harbors to identify the materials and ideally determine if these materials can be traced to their sources.

Michaela Sullivan is an undergraduate student at the University of New Haven, majoring in forensic science with a chemistry concentration and a minor in environmental science. Michaela’s main professional interests pair her love for chemistry and natural sciences with environmental conservancy and criminal law enforcement. Her current research involves the examination and identification of microplastics in aquatic and terrestrial systems using micro Raman spectroscopy. Michaela hopes that her current and future research in this topic will prompt further study into the evidentiary value of anthropogenic materials in terrestrial systems and how spectroscopic methods may be employed in the distinction between actual evidence from a crime scene from accumulated microplastics and other materials deposited into the environment in the form of pollution. After she graduates from the University of New Haven, Michaela hopes to pursue a masters degree in analytical chemistry and eventually work for the Criminal Enforcement sector of the US EPA. In her free time, Michaela enjoys playing guitar and bass, playing video games, reading, and gardening during her summers home in New Jersey.