Mathematics Major, Management Professor Earn Prestigious Bucknall Awards
Hang Su ’23 and Bruno Barreto de Góes, Ph.D., were chosen to receive this year’s Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award and the William L. Bucknall Excellence in Teaching Award, respectively.
November 17, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Hang Su ’23 describes coming to the United States as an international student from China as “probably the scariest, but in the meantime, the most exhilarating thing” she has ever done. Since then, she’s gone on to maintain a 4.0 GPA at the University, participate in three research experiences, present her work at conferences, and, most recently, earn one of the University’s most prestigious student awards.
Su, a mathematics major with a minor in physics, is the 2022 recipient of the University’s Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award. She was recently recognized as part of a ceremony on campus.
“With all the stress, as well as cultural and language barriers, it felt impossible to achieve something,” she told the University community during the ceremony. “But being nominated and selected as the recipient of this year’s award has proved me wrong. It is inspiring to me that with all the uncertainties and struggles, I am being recognized, and encouraged, to pursue my study of theoretical astrophysics.”
This past summer, Su conducted research as part of MIT’s Summer Research Program, a highly competitive program that is designed to prepare students to pursue a doctorate at MIT. She used machine learning to build a catalog of accreted stars. A co-author on a peer-reviewed journal paper, Su has also presented her work at several conferences.
The Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award provides a $10,000 prize to the recipient, encouraging students to take on the challenge of in-depth research on a topic of significance.
“This award is a great help emotionally and financially for my career,” said Su.
Committed to helping students develop skills that will enable them to address a variety of challenges in diverse industries, Dr. Barreto de Góes creates an interactive and hands-on learning environment for his students. They work, for example, with organizations such as Webster Bank, Mohegan Sun, and Savant Systems Inc. to conduct research and analyses for their client, then formulate recommendations.
“Given the ever-increasing speed of change, the future will likely belong to the ‘Versatilists,’” said Dr. Barreto de Góes. “My objective and sincere hope is that my classes will not simply help our students understand a specific client or industry, but that they will provide students with some of the tools, frameworks, and heuristics that will help them become stronger ‘Versatilists.’”
A colleague who nominated Dr. Barreto de Góes wrote in a recommendation letter that Dr. Barreto de Góes is “a demanding and rigorous teacher who goes above and beyond for his students” and that “he creates the perfect environment for learning.”
At the ceremony, Dr. Barreto de Góes told the University community he was “happy and honored,” to receive the award. He dedicated it to his great aunt, a devoted educator, who passed away in June at the age of 96. He also commended his students and expressed his gratitude to them.
“Their commitment, creativity, and resilience have brought me a lot of joy and fulfillment,” he said. “Being able to contribute to their education is truly a privilege.”
‘The first bachelor’s degree in my family’
The William L. Bucknall Excellence in Teaching Award provides an honorarium of $15,000 and an additional $10,000 to support the recipient’s new teaching initiatives.
“There have been seven Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards which testify to how the University has been transformed,” said Bucknall. “Those faculty have been instrumental in guiding younger scholars at the University to achieve their potential. The quality of scholarship generated by our undergrads is stunningly impressive. These scholars continue to express their appreciation for and the inspiration they receive from the faculty.”
Added Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D., interim president, “Ultimately, the Bucknall Awards give us an opportunity to recognize the very best within our community – the faculty who are passionate about their work, and the students who achieve more than they ever thought possible.”
Su, the Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award recipient, hopes to continue to research and gain a deeper understanding of theories, furthering her understanding of how the natural world works. She’s grateful for the support of her mentors, the opportunities she’s had as a Charger, and for the University community’s recognition of her scholarship.
“Thanks in part to this award," said Su, "I will be able to finish, and obtain the first bachelor’s degree in my family.”