Kyle Bushick honored with two Towner Prizes

It is the first time in recent memory that an MSE graduate student has won both prestigious awards from the College of Engineering in the same year.
Kyle Bushick honored with two Towner Prizes

PhD candidate Kyle Bushick, member of the Kioupakis group

MSE is proud to announce that MSE PhD candidate Kyle Bushick has been awarded both the Richard R. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement and the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding PhD Research by the College of Engineering.

According to MSE graduate program advisor Renee Hilgendorf, this is the first time in recent memory that an MSE graduate student has won both awards in the same year.

“I believe this is a first for the department and is a real tribute to Kyle’s exceptional academic, research and leadership achievements,” stated Hilgendorf.  

 “Kyle is deserving of these awards for so many reasons,” began Manos Kioupakis, Bushick’s research advisor and director of the MSE PhD program. “He possesses many strong skills that have helped him excel in his graduate studies, including a sharp analytical skill set that helps him identify the critical questions to solve open-ended research problems with an eye towards practical solutions, as well as an extraordinary set of computational skills. Kyle also has a broad curiosity towards science/engineering problems and society/policy issues.”

Bushick’s research efforts have focused on developing and utilizing first-principles methods to study phonon-assisted quantum processes in semiconductors. In one aspect of his research he has characterized the optical and electronic properties of two novel semiconductors – boron arsenide and rutile germanium oxide – using existing computational tools. The other side of his research focuses on writing scientific code to study the non-radiative direct and phonon-assisted Auger-Meitner Recombination mechanism in silicon.

“By using these computational methods, I am able to probe the mechanisms that govern the intrinsic material properties of these materials,” said Bushick. “The insights from this research can be used to answer longstanding fundamental questions while also helping find the ideal applications to leverage each materials’ properties.”

Outside the lab, Bushick has embodied a strong commitment to serving his community. Specifically, he served as MSE Graduate Student Council (GSC) president (2021-2022); co-coordinated the Michigan University-wide Sustainability & Environment (MUSE) Workshop (2020-2021); and has participated in a wide variety of MSE mentorship and outreach efforts throughout his time as a graduate student.

I am very excited and humbled to receive these two awards,” commented Bushick. “Neither would be possible without the support of Manos and our research group – current and past members! I’ve appreciated the chance to work alongside and learn from exceptional scientists throughout my degree and enjoyed the opportunities I’ve had to share my research with the broader community.”

Bushick received the awards at the College’s Leaders & Honors Award Brunch on March 19.