Emilie Rusch

Mines physics professor wins 2021 Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence

Serena Eley was recognized by American Institute of Physics and National Society of Black Physicists for her research, mentorship of students
Serena Eley headshot

Serena Eley, assistant professor of physics at Colorado School of Mines, has been honored with the 2021 Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Physics and the National Society of Black Physicists. 

Now in its second year, the award recognizes early career scientists who exemplify the values of Johnson, a renowned experimental physicist, impactful mentor and founder of NSBP. 

"The Institute is thrilled to recognize, together with NSBP, Dr. Eley and her many contributions to the physical sciences community," said Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP, in announcing the award. "Dr. Eley's work is doubly exciting – both through her cutting-edge research into topological excitations in various materials systems and through her inspiring mentorship of students that excites the imaginations of future researchers." 

Eley, who joined Mines in 2018, holds a PhD from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and a bachelor’s degree from the California Institute of Technology, both in physics. Before coming to Mines, she served as a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. 

Eley’s research focuses on dynamics of vortices in superconductors and skyrmions, which are nanoscale whirlpools of magnetic moments in magnetic materials. Earlier this year, she was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award – its most prestigious award for junior faculty – for work that could help design a new architecture for next-generation spintronics and quantum computing devices. 

Eley told AIP and NSBP she plans to use the $5,000 award money to fund undergraduate summer research. 

"When students ask about hardship, I tell them that when choosing a field nowadays, if you're having fun and feel as if you can contribute, go for it!" she said. "Because of pioneers such as Joseph Johnson, the rest is noise." 

Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.