Skip to content

Four GSS Awards for Physics

April 6, 2020

Even social distancing couldn't stop the UT Graduate Student Senate from recognizing outstanding work, and they did just that with their 2020 Awards Breakfast on April 3. While the honors weren't bestowed in person, the department was delighted to learn that in teaching, mentoring, leadership, and service, physics is going is above and beyond. Below are the department's four awardees from this year's honors.

Cristian BatistaGraduate Professor of the Year
Cristian Batista

Professor of Physics and Willis Lincoln Chair of Excellence

Description: The Graduate Professor of the Year award recognizes faculty and staff members who have shown outstanding commitment to teaching graduate and professional students.

From the nomination:
"Dr. Batista is one of the great professors I ever had in Physics. He not only teaches Physics but also encourages the students to think differently. On top of all that he is the nicest person, one can meet. He always welcomes students in his office and replies to emails on time with detailed explanations. Sometimes the graduate students jokingly call him the ‘LEGEND’ in the department."

Raph HixGraduate Research Mentor of the Year
Raph Hix

Joint Faculty Professor

Description: The Graduate Research Mentor of the Year award recognizes faculty and staff members who have shown outstanding commitment to mentoring graduate research students.

From the nomination:
"Raph is an excellent leader and mentor. He provides opportunities to do world class research, while caring about the climate of the research group and about the well-being of his students. Although getting research done is of the utmost importance, if Raph sees something being a detriment to one’s mental/physical health he will reinforce that one’s personal well-being comes first."

Chrisanne RomeoGSS Staff of the Year
Chrisanne Romeo

Graduate Program Assistant/Student Success Coordinator

Description: The GSS Staff of the Year award recognizes UT staff members who goes beyond their required duties to ensure that graduate and professional students feel welcome and matriculate successfully.

From the nomination:
"I do not think there is a more suitable person at the University of Tennessee for this award than Chrisanne Romeo. Each graduate student, before they even start at UT are welcomed by her emails and assured that if they have any issues she is a source of information. She is a welcoming face to all issues, both big and small and an invaluable source of knowledge for the department. Needless to say, without Chrisanne the department would not have as many graduate students continuing as they do. I personally know that part of my decision to attend UTK was because of the experience I had had when visiting the department and meeting Chrisanne. "

Chloe SandovalGraduate Student Senate Outstanding Contribution
Chloe Sandoval

Graduate Research Assistant

Description: The Graduate Student Senate Outstanding Contribution award recognizes graduate student senators and/or members of the GSS executive board who go above and beyond their regular duties to serve and promote the mission of the Graduate Student Senate.

From the nomination:
"Chloe has taken much initiative this year as a Graduate Student Senator. She initiated the development of the mental health sub-committee. Her determination has been inspiring, as she has partnered with the Counseling Center in this role. She has facilitated the submission of an external grant to aim her mission of building a community for graduate students, providing activities to increase awareness and utilization for on campus resources related to mental health, and is working on an evaluation of graduate student well-being. Chloe’s efforts demonstrate that of a true leader who is determined to make a change in the culture of higher education. Chloe has demonstrated true bravery to utilize her vulnerability through personal stories to embark a change. "

Text and photos courtesy of the Graduate Student Senate. Please see the 2020 GSS Awards website for a complete list of honorees.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.