SPD Student Awards

SPD Studentship Awards

Since the late 1970s, the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society has presented a number of awards annually to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in pursuing a career in solar physics. The purpose of these awards is to acquaint promising students with the field of solar physics by allowing these students to participate actively in the annual SPD meeting (or joint summer meeting with the AGU/AAS, as appropriate).

Depending upon financial need, the awards comprise a fraction of travel and room and board for the duration of the meeting. The awardees are selected by the SPD Studentship Committee (currently Gordon Emslie, Matthias Rempel, and Lisa Upton). Awardees are recognized at the meeting.

For the 2024 TESS meeting, applications for the award are solicited in advance of the meeting, using the web-based application form at


An application consists of the following:

Student LevelRequirements
Undergraduate and First Year Graduate StudentsName, university, address, major, education level, science grade point Summary of interests and future plans in solar physics One letter of endorsement from a supervising scientist, that includes an evaluation of the student’s financial requirements for attending the meeting and the extent to which partial support from other sources is available. (Letters or e-mails may be sent separately to the above address.)
Advanced Graduate StudentsIn addition to the above three requirements: Enclose an abstract and deliver either an oral or poster presentation at the meeting. Abstracts should also be sent through the usual channels.  

Awardees will be notified sufficiently in advance of the abstract deadline for the meeting for them to make the necessary plans to attend. Awards are issued by the Treasurer of the Division

Student awardees are expected to attend the entire SPD meeting and to be present at a brief awards ceremony to be held during the meeting.

Studentship Award numbers for the past few years:

Year# of Awards

SPD Student Poster Award

Starting in 2008, the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society has presented an award (plus a number of honorable mentions) to the best student poster presented at the Division’s annual meeting. A “student” is defined in this context as either:

  1. any individual who has not yet been awarded the PhD degree, or
  2. a recent (since January 1 of the year of the meeting) doctoral graduate whose work, as presented on their poster, was carried out wholly as part of earning that degree

The student must be the first author on the poster.

To be considered for the award, each interested student should indicate that they are a candidate on the abstract submission form and should place a “candidate” sticker (available at the meeting) on their poster. The award winner will be determined by the SPD Studentship Committee, based on input from an eminent set of jurists drawn from the solar physics community, based on criteria including:

  • quality of the poster presentation;
  • impact of the presented work on solar physics; and
  • clarity of the oral discussion by the student presenter.

Poster award winners in recent years:

2019Ruizhu Chen
2018Emily Irene Mason
2017Paul Wright
2016Shaheda Begum ShaikPDF
2015Juan Camilo Buitrago-CasasPDF
2014Stephen PinkertonPDF
2013Muzhou Lu
2012Thomas A. SchadPDF
2011Qingrong ChenHTML, PDF