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National Recognition

The Newcomb-Tulane College undergraduate student experience is enhanced with critical and impactful learning opportunities outside of the classroom, enrichment opportunities strengthen student learning. A multitude of grants, student leadership positions, study abroad programs, the Honors program, as well as faculty who lead their fields in research. NTC challenges all students to broaden the scope of their work to foster unique perspectives and create a diverse, distinguished portfolio. Some students who have risen to the challenge, like Skylar Deckoff-Jones, NTC ’16, have garnered national recognition for their academic efforts. Deckoff-Jones, an NTC Honors Program alumnus and physics major now pursuing a Ph.D. in the subject at MIT, was awarded three prestigious national awards during his Tulane career. 

In his sophomore year, Deckoff-Jones was named a 2013-2014 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar. The congressionally funded Gilman Scholarship Program enables students who may be unable to study abroad due to financial constraints the opportunity to pursue interests deemed important to national security. Traveling to Okinawa, Japan, Deckoff-Jones completed research through the NanoJapan Program. This is a 12-week summer research internship focusing on Terahertz (THz) Dynamics in Nanostructures. Deckoff-Jones’s lab work focused on the optical properties of 2D materials, which he says is not far off from his current research at MIT. The in-lab experience was so powerful, Deckoff-Jones’s decided to take a leave of absence for a semester to continue his work for the spring semester of his junior year.

“This experience was really what cemented my love of research and my desire to pursue a Ph.D.,” says Deckoff-Jones.

In 2014, he was also named a Barry Goldwater Scholar, a recognition considered the oldest and most prestigious national scholarship for the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering field in the United States. This award supports sophomore and junior students deemed to be the next generation’s rising leader in their chosen field.

Upon completing his studies at Tulane, Deckoff-Jones was also named a 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Bolstering the success of those who desire to pursue a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in STEM fields, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program provides three years of research funding amounting to $34,000, as well as a cost of education allowance.

Much of the groundwork for Deckoff-Jones’s success was laid in his first few years as a Tulane student. Spurring his interest in research, Deckoff-Jones worked with NTC’s Honors Program the summer after his freshman year as a member of the Honors Summer Research Program.

“It was one of my first experiences where I was able to learn what the life of a research scientist is like,” says Deckoff-Jones. “I didn’t only learn a lot that summer, but it put me in a position to continue research throughout my four years at Tulane.”