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Physics Ph.D. student named Honorary Commencement Marshal

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Jared Austin-Harris, an Oklahoma State University Department of Physics Ph.D. candidate, has been named an Honorary Commencement Marshal for OSU’s fall 2023 graduate commencement ceremony. Austin-Harris is one of four graduate students selected for the role.  

This honor tops off Austin-Harris’ time at OSU and adds another distinction to his academic career; he has earned two bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics, master’s degrees in physics and teaching, learning and leadership and he will receive his Ph.D. on Dec. 15. 

I am excited to be recognized for my hard work and achievements during my graduate career by being named as a graduation marshal,” Austin-Harris said. “As a first-generation college student, I am humbled to be honored as such.” 

As a student, Austin-Harris spent countless hours working in physics professor Dr. Yingmei Liu’s lab, dating back to working on his undergraduate degree. The work he did as an undergrad is still impacting the lab today. 

Since joining our program in 2018, Jared has demonstrated outstanding research ability and potential,” Liu said. “He has successfully implemented the first state-of-the-art highly programmable ultracold quantum simulator in Oklahoma. This project combines modern developments in cold atom physics with important application-driven precise sensor research in a completely unique way.” 

His dedication to physics research and advancement has helped him build a resume stacked with notable accomplishments and awards. Austin-Harris is listed as the first author of four papers published in physics journals and won the 2023 Robberson Summer Dissertation Fellowship, 2021-23 OSU Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, the 2022 and 2019 American Physical Society Travel Award, the 2021-22 Walt Kolb Graduate Studies Scholarship, the Niblack Research Scholarship, and the 2022 Joel Martin Endowed Scholarship. 

Jared is a highly motivated student and has been an excellent mentor to several undergraduate students in the physics program,” Liu said. “Jared’s work enabled my research group to win major research funds totaling more than $2 million. 

After graduating with his undergraduate degrees, Austin-Harris pursued a career in education, teaching high school students for two years. Following graduation, Austin-Harris will continue his work in Liu’s lab in a post-doctoral position that blends his passions as an educator and a researcher.  

“This role will allow me to train and guide the next generation of Ph.D. students to begin their work in the lab,” Austin-Harris said. “My long-term goals include the opportunity to use my skills and love for both education and physics in a tenure-track position within academia.” 

Story By: Erin Weaver, CAS Communications Coordinator |

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