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Regina Russo Hammel ’41 Recent Graduate Award

In 1999, The Regina Hammel ’41 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award was created by Gary and Laura Hammel Dicovitsky in honor of Mrs. Dicovitsky’s mother.

The award honors a recent graduate, not more than 10 years ago, who has exhibited professional achievement and/or contributions to community life and who had demonstrated loyalty to the University.

2015 Award Winner - Nicole Kotulak '09 Ph.D.

Since November 2014, Nicole has been working at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., as a National Research Council postdoctoral associate. Her research is in photovoltaics (PV): devices that convert light directly into electricity. Nicole has also served as an external mentor for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Pathways to Excellence program, helping students explore career options in science, technology, engineering, and math
(STEM) fields.

She received her graduate degrees in 2014 (Ph.D.) and 2011 (M.S.) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware (UD). As an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) fellow at UD, she co-chaired a student-run energy and sustainability conference that showcased research, and featured a classical concert with internationally-renowned artists. In 2010, she became a George W. Laird Merit Fellow—an award given to one first-year graduate student of the College of Engineering. Nicole concluded her graduate career with a fellowship from the NSF Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technology (QESST) program, and traveled to conferences across the United States. She also was visiting scholar at Arizona State University, working with leading researchers in the PV field.

Nicole graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 with a B.A. in Physics as a member of the Elizabeth Morrissy Honors Program and as a Marion I. and Henry J. Knott Scholar. She gained experience both inside and outside of the classroom as a teaching apprentice for Physics I, as a research assistant to Dr. Joseph DiRienzi, and as an intern at the marine and coastal engineering firm, Moffatt & Nichol. All of these experiences helped lead her into research on technologies that can help us to maintain both quality of life and environmental stewardship in an increasingly energy-dependent world.


1999:  Milda Motekaitis DeVoe ’90 2007:  Michelle Lizardo Kuntz ’97
2000:  Theresa Giardina Wiseman ’90 2008:  Veronique Gugliucciello ’98
2001:  Theresa O’Keefe Armiger ’90, M’98 2009:  Julie Kline Rybczynski ’99
2002:  Wendy Tribaldos – DePuy ’92 2010:  Christina Hood Gray ’00, M’01
2003:  Marianna Russell C’94 2011:  Pamela Walters ’01, M’03
2004:  Elizabeth Higgins Frost ’97 2012:  La Vida Cooper ’03
2005:  Colleen Manley Sisolak ’96 2013: Lorna K. Hanley M'06
2006:  Roxanne Gladden Miller W’99 2014: Lauren Ackerman '08
  2015: Nicole Kotulak '09 Ph.D.