Undergraduate Student Awards
Hilliard Awards for Seniors

In 2007, the department created awards in honor of Professor John Hilliard that recognize outstanding achievements by our undergraduate students.

These awards are presented to graduating seniors in two categories: 

  • Undergraduate Research and Design
  • Leadership, Scholarship and Service


Undergraduate Research and Design

Kyle Bushick, for his project “High-throughput exploration of quaternary oxypnictides” Faculty Advisors: Christopher Wolverton

Kyle will pursue his interests in computational materials in the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan in fall 2018. 

Undergraduate Leadership, Scholarship and Service

Yakira Mirabito has been an active member and leader in several campus organizations. As co-president of the Northwestern Questbridge Scholars Network, she helped build community and advocate for low-income and first-generation college students at Northwestern. She is an active skier and served as captain of the Northwestern Ski and Snowboard team. She was a board member of the McCormick School of Engineering Office of Professional Development and a member of several professional engineering organizations, including Material Advantage, the Society of Women Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Her future plans are to conduct research in materials and design of sports equipment for safety and injury prevention.


Undergraduate Research and Design

Jake Song, for his project “Dynamics, Mechanics, and Multi-scale Modeling of Polymer Nanostructures”

Faculty Advisors: Sinan Keten and Kenneth Shull.
Jake is a co-author on seven manuscripts (three published).  He will pursue his studies of polymers and soft matter as part of the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering at MIT in fall 2017.  Jake is also the recipient of the McCormick 2017 Harold B. Gotaas Undergraduate Research Award.

Undergraduate Leadership, Scholarship and Service

Lauren Kearney a member of the SpaceICE team in the Dunand group worked on the design for the team’s freeze-casting instrumentation that will launch in a NASA mission next year and completed a senior project, “Microstructural Characterization of Ceramic Slurries for Freeze-Casting.” Kearney also traveled to Nicaragua for an alternative spring break to work on water and engineering with public health brigades; she served as the vice president of the MatSci Club and chapter vice president of the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Society. Most notably, Kearney chose Northwestern for its NROTC (Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps) program, through which she has won national awards and valuable leadership experience. After graduation, when she will also be commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy, Kearny will be stationed in Japan. She hopes to attend Naval Nuclear Power School and work on a nuclear aircraft carrier.


Undergraduate Research and Design

Theo Gao, for his project “Graphene-Nitrocelluose Inks for Printed Electronics” Faculty Advisor: Mark Hersam.
Theo plans to enter the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford in fall 2016.

Undergraduate Leadership, Scholarship and Service

Norman Luu served as on the board (as secretary) of the Material Advantage Chapter for two years.  He has been an active participant in many outreach activities, acting as liaison between Material Advantage and the Materials Research Center, helping to recruit volunteers and coordinate events, as well as running demos.  He serves as an advocate to younger students of science and engineering careers at-large and Materials Science and Engineering in particular.  He also devotes time to helping his (former) high school debate team.  An outstanding researcher, he worked with the Hersam group on the development of graphene-functionalized cathode and anode materials for lithium ion battery applications.  He is completing a BS/MS at NU and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in sustainability and energy-related materials science research.

Past Awardees