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Rodney McCormick Award

The Rodney I. McCormick Award recognizes the outstanding research accomplishments of a physics undergraduate student. Beginning in 2011, the McCormick Award has been reserved for a graduating senior. Prior to 2011 the department also presented a Senior Research Award.

2017 • Ephraim Bililign
    Stressed Out: Measuring Forces in Granular Media

2016 • Mia de los Reyes
    The Evolution of Global Galaxy Properties at Intermediate Redshifts

2015 • Aaron Mahler
    Reduced Reaction Approximation Nucleosynthesis: A Case Study

2014 • Alex Mauney
    The Effect of Particle Shape on the Acoustic Modes of Granular Materials

2013 • Mark Schillaci
    Capillary Fracture of Ultrasoft Gels

2012 • Anne Watson
    Morphology and Performance of Spin-Cast Organic Thin-Film Transistors

2011 • Lewis Guignard
    Diffusion: Paving the Way to a Better Plastic Solar Cell

2010 • Melissa Fender
    Universal shapes formed by interacting cracks

2009 • Guilhem Ribeill
    Ultracold Neutron Production in Solid Deuterium and Oxygen

2008 • Ryan Neely
    Deep Ultraviolet Resonance Raman Spectroscopy: from NSOM to LIDAR but Not Between

2007 • Amit Lakhani
    Investigation of Chiral Thin Films of Tartaric Acid on Ag(111)

2006 • Casey de Deugd
    Growth and Characterization of Mixed Silane Monolayers

2005 • Justin Brockman
    Supernova Neutrino Oscillations

2004 • David Ennis
    Spin Coating Multilayer Thin Films of Polymers with Similar Cohesive Energy Densities

2003 • Jennifer Huening
    Measurement of Nanostructure Stresses in Semiconducting Materials Using Raman Spectroscopy

2002 • Lucas Wagner
    Magic Sizes, Doping, and Optical Transitions in Silicon Nanocrystals

2001 • David Wood
    Formation of Cobalt Disilicide Films on (3X3) 6H-SiC(000-1)

2000 • Chad Mitchell
    Light-Front Analysis of Quantum Chromodynamic Exclusive Processes

1999 • Kjersten Bunker
    High-Resolution Radio Astronomy: Galaxies to Planetary Nebulae

1998 • Michael Binger
    Aspects of QCD and Non-perturbative Vacuum Condensation

1997 • David Picciotto
    Fabrication and Testing of Organic Light Emitting Diodes

1996 • William J. Lyerly
    Model X-Ray Spectra from Young Supernova Remnants


Dr. Rod McCormick was born in Charleston, W VA. He graduated from St. Albans High School in 1964 and in 1968 magna cum laude from West Virginia State College. As an active member of ROTC, he participated in Pershing Rifles and Scabbard and Blade. His senior year he was the commander of the Corps of Cadets. In 1993, West Virginia State College honored Rod with his induction into the ROTC Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, Rod was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field of Artillery. Highlights of his 20 year Army career include service in Germany, Battery Commands in Vietnam and Fort Sill, service on the faculty of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY, and positions as a Battalion Executive Officer, and Deputy Division Inspector General, with the 82nd Airborne Division. Rod was the chief of the Technical Support Office, Army Research Office, RTP, NC. During this assignment, Rod returned to Duke University where he had received a Master's degree in 1973, to pursue doctoral studies. He was awarded the Ph.D. in Physics in 1987. Among his decorations and awards are the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (one Oak leaf cluster), Ranger Tab and Senior Parachutist Badge.

Upon retirement from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1988, Rod accepted a position as the Associate Director, Free Electron Laser Laboratory at Duke University. Subsequently, he accepted a position as Director, Physical Science Projects at Ohio State University. In 1992, Rod accepted the position he held at the time of his death, Special Assistant for Project Development, North Carolina State University, where he worked to develop the NC STAR project. He was also a driving force behind the successful proposal to the DoD's Technology Reinvestment Program for establishing "A Regional Technology Alliance for High Aspect Ratio MEMS" led by MCNC.

Rod was a member of the Chapel Hill, NC Church of Christ, where he served in various capacities, most recently as chair of long-range planning. Rod met his wife, Gail, at the Watts Street (now Cole Mill Road) Church of Christ in 1971. They have been active members of congregations in Fort Sill, Okla.; West Point, NY, where they helped a group of cadets establish a congregation that is still active, Newport, RI; Fayetteville, NC and Columbus, Ohio.

Rod's love of sailing is known to all and it exemplifies the exuberance and joy with which he embraced life and people. What will be especially remembered about Rod are his humility and deep faith in God, his compassion and care for people, his sense of humor and love of the sea. Rod's special gift as mentor planner and motivator will live on in the many people he touched. It is they who will carry on the legacy of a remarkable man with a remarkable vision for the world.