MTSU physics faculty member receives prestigious K...

MTSU physics faculty member receives prestigious Kavli Scholar Award

First-year MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy assistant professor Hanna Terletska already is making waves when it comes to research.

In late October, she applied for a prestigious Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics Scholar Award at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Dr. Hanna Terletska, physics

Dr. Hanna Terletska

Terletska recently received confirmation she is one of eight recipients chosen for the 2018-20 sessions.

The Kavli Institute supports visiting researchers in theoretical physics who are faculty at teaching-intensive U.S. colleges. Applicants need to be from institutions that do not offer a doctorate degree in physics and from schools with greater emphasis on teaching and the faculty member’s teaching load. Ongoing research activity also is considered.

Each award funds three round trips and up to six weeks of local expenses, to be used for a period of up to three years, two weeks per year. Terletska said the opportune time to attend will be in the summer.

“The Kavli Foundation is one of the most renowned institutes for physics,” she said.

Terletska said faculty members “face challenges” of balancing a high teaching load with adequate research time. The institute will provide “wonderful workshops, learning about recent development, allow me to give lectures and meet new people including possible collaborators and explore new research opportunities. This is a good environment to go and continue my research.”

Terletska’s research focuses on theoretical and computational physics of many interacting and disordered electron systems.

“These are so-called quantum materials, where the properties of the system stem from the quantum mechanical effects,” she said. “There are many potential applications of such research, including work on energy materials, solar cells, sensors, batteries and other energy-related systems.”

At MTSU this fall, her research group has included undergraduate students Kristin Barton and Ryan Florida — “excellent students who intend to pursue their Ph.D. in physics and have applied for the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship,” she added.

Kavli Institute logoTerletska is also committed to supporting and promoting women in science at MTSU. She took a central role in organizing the physics workshop for the women in science event for middle school girls. Also, she and her students will participate and present at American Physics Society Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics in January to promote undergraduate women in physics.

Terletska’s fall teaching load has been as main instructor for non-calculus physics, introductory astronomy and undergraduate condensed matter research.

Originally from the Ukraine, Terletska earned her doctorate in physics from Florida State University in 2011, her master’s degree in physics from Minnesota State University and bachelor’s degree in physics from Drohobych State Pedagocial University in the Ukraine.

Among her most recent research experiences were as a Simons Foundation Many Electron Collaboration postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan in 2015-17 and as a postdoctoral researcher at Ames Laboratory in 2014-15.

Professor Emanuel Gull at the University of Michigan and professor Vladimir Dobrosavljevic at the Ames Lab were among those writing letters of recommendation on her behalf.

Terletska met her husband, Olexandr, a nuclear physicist who also is from the Ukraine, at Florida State. They have a son, Andrew, 4.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.


— Randy Weiler (