URC gives an award for faculty mentor

Physics Prof. Analía ‘Yanil’ Dall’Asén has received the Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for 2022-2023 from Minnesota State’s Undergraduate Research Center.

Every academic year, the URC announces an outstanding undergraduate research mentor. Faculty members receive awards for the job they did with their research teams.

Dall’Asén said the research project they worked on with her team examines meteorites.

“The main research project we work on is about characterizing meteorites,” Dall’Asén said. “We want to know the composition of the meteorites, their topography and mechanical properties to understand how those materials were formed in outer space and how the solar system formed a long time.”

Before coming to MSU, Dall’Asén started a collaboration with a theoretical astrophysicist who was interested in learning about the formation of the planets.

“I was coming from a field of material physics and carbon-based materials, using several experimental techniques,” said Dall’Asén. “Little by little, I was getting interested in astrophysics. And when I came to MSU, I thought it would be a really nice topic for the students.”

In her work, Dall’Asén combines a variety of experimental techniques, including optics. She uses these techniques to combine several disciplines within physics and apply the knowledge to astrophysics, a relatively new field studied across different majors at MSU.

Dall’Asén said her research team nominated her for the award. According to one of the nominators, they wanted to make a surprise for their mentor.

“She is very dedicated to everything. Not just to research but to teaching, advising, everything,” said a senior on Dall’Asén’s research team. “She pushes us to do better in everything. Dr. Dall’Asén is very positive, and we know we can visit her whenever we have problems.”

The student said Dall’Asén trained the team at the beginning of their collaborative work. They said the training wasn’t easy, but Dall’Asén “made the science simple.”

Dall’Asén said she received an email about the award. 
“I immediately told my students about that,” said Dall’Asén. “And after that, they started telling me who nominated me.”

Dall’Asén was invited to speak at the Undergraduate Research Symposium 2024.

“I just want to thank my students a lot, not only because of the award, but also because of being here with me and doing their best,” said Dall’Asén. “They are very busy with classes, but they always try to come here, to take data and analyze it and to get their posters done for presentations. I think we always have fun here. We work and laugh with my students.”

Header photo: Dr. Analia ‘Yanil’ Dall’Asen standing with 2023 Outstanding Research Mentor Award  which is given out once a year by the Minnesota State’s Undergraduate Research Center. (Courtesy MNSU-Undergraduate Research Center)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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