John Wiley Jones Outstanding Students in Science



Christina Battista

Christina Battista of Alden, NY has been a student at Rochester Institute of Technology in the School of Mathematical Sciences for three years. Prior to attending RIT she attended Alden High School where she participated in Project Lead the Way. Now in college, she has been an Applied Mathematics major in the BS/MS program, with concentrations in Dynamical Systems and minors in Applied Statistics and Criminal Justice. Christina has also participated in undergraduate research in graph theory, determining the minimal k-rankings of various families of graphs. She is also a member of PiRIT, a recent inductee of Pi Mu Epsilon, and has received both the RIT Presidential Scholarship as well as the RIT Computing Medal Award. Christina also works as a teaching assistant in SMS and has been a student worker since beginning her journey at RIT. Outside of academics, Christina has been involved in various groups on campus--Rotaract Club, Relay for Life, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and ResLife. She currently works as a resident advisor (RA) on the residential side of campus and has recently begun volunteering at a local pet shelter. Upon graduating in May 2011, Christina hopes to continue her education and obtain her Ph. D. in Applied Mathematics and find a career in industry.

  Zachary E. Dell


Zachary E. Dell, a fourth-year student in the RIT Department of Physics, is from Niagara Falls, NY, where he was his class valedictorian. He has a 4.0 GPA, and his studies include a Minor in Applied Mathematics and a Minor in Literature. Zack has received an RIT Presidential Scholarship, a Briggs Endowed Scholarship, and has been named as an RIT Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar. He is also an inductee into the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. Prior to his freshman year, Zack participated in the RIT Summer Research Scholar’s Program, working with Dr. Dan Batcheldor in the Center for Imaging Science on determining light intensity profiles of galaxies using images from the Hubble Space Telescope Archive. He continued this astrophysics project the following summer as well, and his efforts led to three undergraduate research talks presented at RIT during his first year and a half of study. Since that time, he has performed significant research work in a number of distinctly different areas of physics. As a result of work with Dr. Scott Franklin, Zack presented a talk at the 2008 RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium. The title of his talk was “A Geometric and Probabilistic Approach to the Filtration of Rods”, and in 2009 he was first author on a paper entitled “The Buffon-Laplace Needle Problem in Three Dimensions” published in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics. Zack has worked with Dr. George Thurston on the challenging problem of modeling neutron scattering data from protein crystallin, presented at the 2009 Undergraduate Research Symposium and as part of a contribution at the 2009 March Meeting of the American Physical Society. His excellent Physics Senior Capstone Project, “Chaos in a Magnetic Dipole Motor”, under the supervision of Dr. Linda Barton, makes Zack eligible for designation as a Distinguished Research Scholar. Zack has been a valued teaching assistant, tutor, grader, and notetaker for a variety of courses at RIT. He has contributed significantly to the RIT Honors Program as a Peer Mentor and Orientation Mentor, as a member of the RIT Honors Steering Committee, and as the COS Honors Representative. Following graduation from RIT, Zack will be attending graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he will be working toward his Ph.D. in Physics.

Kyle Dewey

Kyle Dewey is a third-year student in the Bioinformatics BS/MS program, with minors in Computer Science and Science, Technology, and Society Studies. He came to RIT as an Honors student with a Presidential Scholarship, and he has maintained a grade point average of 3.9 since then. Kyle is a member of RIT's Research Scholars Program where he is working to discover, gather, and classify human mitochondrial genome variations. As part of this research, he has developed the mtHaplogroups Web interface, a powerful and flexible tool that facilitates discovery. Kyle participated in the RIT Computer Science Department's 2009 REU, where he helped design and implement a specialized high performance distributed file system. That system is capable of rapidly serving large volumes of astrophysical data generated by RIT's own Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation for the purpose of generating scientific visualizations. Outside of school Kyle is an administrator of UNIX systems for the Bioinformatics program, and he routinely volunteers at McQuaid Jesuit High School where he holds a leadership position in their program to refurbish computers for use by the underprivileged. In his spare time Kyle studies programming languages and techniques. After receiving his degrees from RIT, Kyle plans to pursue a PhD in Computer Science.

David Kelbe


Meet David Kelbe, one of the most dynamic, inspiring, and dedicated students that a tertiary institution could wish for. David’s list of achievements speaks for itself and includes the topics by which we typically judge a student: • 4.0 GPA & Honors student • Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society • Scholarships, such as the RIT Presidential Scholarship, Jerry G. Hughes Memorial Scholarship, Chester F. Carlson Scholarship, etc. • College of Science Dean’s List, as well as NYSTAR recognition. But all of us can peruse his curriculum vita that also includes a wide variety of service, leadership, and fellowship activities. As a matter of fact, David’s CV alone is a testament to his involvement across diverse activities, while maintaining a high level of scholarship. The truly impressive aspects regarding David's tenure as a student are what one encounters outside of his CV: • He is a student that interacts with diverse people and cultures - David has consistently applied for overseas scholarship opportunities and successfully applied himself to grow through these experiences. Examples include his past study abroad experience in New Zealand and research field work in South Africa. David seems to come away from these types of experiences with new friends, colleagues, and scholarship opportunities. • He has shown himself to be a self-driven and ambitious young researcher. For example, a typical capstone research project involves a degree of coaxing and guidance, mixed with some encouragement from the supervisor. David, however, has taken the bull by the horns and has carved a niche for himself in the Laboratory for Imaging Algorithms and Systems’ (LIAS) waveform lidar research initiative (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science). • Finally, David was a summer intern with LIAS during the 2009 summer quarter and was always on time, performed his tasks with enthusiasm and efficiency, and consistently provided results that exceeded expectations. It was encouraging to hear that he plans to continue his career as a graduate student in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. A “balanced” student conjures up images of someone who performs consistently across a range of topical areas or life themes. David is not only such a student, but he also approaches every aspect of his diverse involvements with such dedication and skill, that most result in absolute success.

Jennifer Milillo


Jennifer Milillo is a rising fourth-year Biochemistry major and an Honors student. Since starting RIT in 2007, Jenn has succeeded both in the classroom and in the laboratory. Jenn began research in her freshman year, working with Dr. Paul Craig on 3D visualization molecular models. In 2009, Jenn was selected to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Exchange Program where she worked with Dr. Robert Freeman at the University of Rochester doing cloning of biomolecular fluorescent probes to study protein-protein interactions and programmed cell death. During this past academic year, Jenn has worked with Dr. Lea Michel at RIT to start a new project exploring the structural and cellular localization properties of one of the leading vaccine candidates against an ear infection-causing bacteria. Her extensive background in molecular biology techniques, hard work and independent thinking has allowed Jenn to progress rapidly in the project and she has already emerged as a true leader in the lab. The results of Jenn’s research are guaranteed to have a very significant impact on the medical and immunology community. In addition to her stellar academic performance at RIT (maintaining a 3.92 GPA), Jenn has dedicated herself to helping her community through a wide range of volunteer programs. Jenn has participated in the American Chemical Society-sponsored Adopt-A-School Program, National Chemistry week, is a volunteer at the pediatric unit at Strong Memorial Hospital, and is both an Honors Peer Mentor and United Way volunteer. Among her peers and the professors who have taught her, Jenn is known as a highly motivated, kind, enthusiastic, intelligent and compassionate person whose future is sure to be filled with great success. Jenn plans to continue research with Dr. Michel during her senior year at RIT and will apply for medical school in the fall.