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2008-2009 BioE Undergraduate Awards

2008-2009 BioE Undergraduate Awards

Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) undergraduates were among the award recipients at the 2008-2009 A. James Clark School of Engineering's Honors and Awards Ceremony, held April 29. The event honors students from all departments who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, research, and contributions to their departments or fields. BioE Professor and Chair William Bentley presented the department's awards, while Dean Darryll Pines presented awards to bioengineering students who were recognized at the Clark School-level.

This year, the awards and their recipients were:

Department Awards

The ASABE, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ Student Honor Award: Monica Machado
Presented by ASABE on the basis of academic achievement, service to the department, student branch participation, and other extracurricular activities.

Monica Machado, a senior, was recognized for her outstanding academic performance, contribution to the department through her tireless and skilled leadership in our student organization, the Society of Biological Engineers (SoBE), and her other extracurricular activities. Machado's excellent performance in school earned her induction into the Primannum Honor Society in 2006. She has been the President of SoBE since May 2008, is a member of Women in Engineering, and is a past Secretary of the Biological Resources Engineering Society. Her active participation in Maryland Day activities and fundraising for SoBE demonstrate her dedication to both the campus and her department. As a student member of the ASABE, she has been an enthusiastic advocate for professional membership.

The Washington, D.C.–Maryland Section of ASABE, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ Scholarship: Katie Farhang, Jennifer Lei, and Pratiksha Thakore
Presented to outstanding students based on academic achievement and contribution to the department and student branch.

Katie Farhang, a junior, was recognized for her outstanding academic performance, contributions to the department through student organized departmental activities within SoBE, and her extracurricular activities. Farhang is a student member of the national student chapters of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the ASABE, and represents both under the aegis of SoBE in the Agricultural Council and the Council of Engineering Societies. She has working hard to recruit more students for membership in BMES. Farhang is also a member Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. She has been a research assistant since 2007, working in the development of various polymers, including molecularly imprinted polymers specific for tobacco necrosis virus (TNV). She presented her research at the 2008 Undergraduate Research Day.

Jennifer Lei, a junior, was recognized for her excellent academic performance and contributions to the department through student organized departmental activities within SoBE. Currently, she serves as SoBE's Secretary and has been very active in raising funds for the organization. She is a member of the national student chapter of ASABE, the University of Maryland’s Honors Program, Engineers Without Borders, and QUEST (Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams). She also serves as an A. James Clark School of Engineering Student Ambassador, promoting engineering in general and bioengineering in particular. Besides her active role on departmental, college, and campus functions, Lei also finds time to do research in the Neuromolecular Lab in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering.

Pratiksha Thakore, a junior, was recognized for her outstanding academic performance and her contributions to the department through her service as an A. James Clark School of Engineering Student Ambassador. She is a member of the national student chapter of ASABE, Tau Beta Pi, and the Society for Women in Engineering. She has been a Community Advocate for the University Student Judiciary since 2007. Her contributions to research through her experience in the Orthopedic Mechanobiology Lab have produced several research papers and presentations. Thakore has won several other awards including the Howard Hughes Medical Research Grant, the Seymour and Faye Wolf Endowed Scholarship in Bioengineering, the A. James Clark School of Engineering Scholarship, and the UMCP Presidential Scholarship. She was also a finalist in the national Merit Scholarship Program in 2006.

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering’s Outstanding Junior Award: Steven Graff and John Lin
Presented by the Chair on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and contributions to the department.

Steven Graff was recognized for his outstanding academic performance and his efforts to the help fellow students by serving as a tutor for so a variety of freshman- and sophomore-level courses. Graff was inducted to the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society in 2008, and as its Social Chair he has been a tireless organizer of events. He is also a member of the national student chapter of ASABE and has informally been active with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers student club. As a member of Gemstone Team, Graff has been involved in developing a patent-pending EMG-based video game to help rehabilitate stroke patients suffering from hemiparesis. His role in the project has been in the area of signal acquisition and signal processing. With his dynamic and pleasant personality, he instills a positive attitude in whomever he comes into contact with.

John Lin was recognized for his outstanding academic performance and his enthusiastic and tireless activities in several student clubs. John is a member of the national student chapter of ASABE and a founder and advocate for the Bioengineering Mentoring Program. He is also a member and an active participant of Tau Beta Pi, SoBE, and the Premannum Honor Society. Lin has been actively involved in research, including the development of implantable polymers and a magnetic drug targeting technique. He has won several awards for his work, including the 2008 Golden Key Engineering and Technology Award, the Russell Knust Memorial Scholarship, several semesters of ASPIRE research awards, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship. In addition, Lin participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and presented the results of his research at the University of Maryland’s Undergraduate Research Day. (See related story).

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering's Outstanding Senior Award: Anthony Awojoodu and Devang Sharma
Presented by the faculty on the basis of academic achievement and contributions to the profession and the department.

Anthony Awojoodu was recognized for his superb academic performance, contributions to the department through student-organized departmental and campus activities, and his extracurricular activities. He has participated in the University of Maryland’s Honor and Quest Programs, and has been on the Dean’s List since 2006. He is a member of the national student chapter of both BMES and ASABE. Awojoodu has received recognition for his efforts in programs that promote minority participation in engineering, including his role as a founding member and mentor in the BES (Black Engineering Society), his extensive service with the Black Student Union, representing the University of Maryland in the Academic Tech Bowl at the National Society of Black Engineers Regional Conference, and his work Clark School's Center for Minority in Science and Engineering (CMSE), which earned him a CMSE Service Award. He has also received awards for his academic performance, including the Eminent Scholar of the Year Award, being named a Phillip Merrill Scholar, admission to the Primannum Honor Society. He has also been involved in several internship programs ranging from participation in the resident hall tutoring to the design of novel tissue grips for a tensile testing machine.

Devang Sharma was recognized for his superb academic performance and representation of the department’s positive image through his tireless participation in both research and leadership activities. His research experiences in the GEMSTONE program, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the FDA‘s campus institute (Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition–JIFSAN) have resulted in Sharma publishing book chapter and papers in several refereed journals—accomplishments that are truly commendable for an undergraduate. He is also an active member of Golden Key International Honors Society and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. Devang has been recipient of several awards and recognitions, including being on the Dean’s List since 2006, and winning the Dean’s Scholarship, an A. James Clark School of Engineering Scholarship, the Bioengineering Outstanding Junior Award, a University Honors Citation, and the University Scholar Award. Outside of lab and classroom, Sharma is an avid tennis and boxing instructor both on campus and for youth leadership programs.

A. James Clark School of Engineering Awards

The Dinah Berman Memorial Award: Allon Meizlik
Presented to an engineering student who has combined academic excellence with demonstrated leadership or service to the Clark School as a freshman and sophomore.

Allon Meizlik, a junior, is a member of the University Honors Program and a recipient of the Benjamin T. Rowe Scholarship. He is a Clark School Ambassador who promotes the opportunities the Clark School has to offer to prospective students and others interested in engineering, especially younger students in middle and high school. He has served as a student coordinator for leadership programs on campus. Meizlik is also a member of the Inventis Academy of Engineering Leadership and has participated in leadership seminars, where he has honed his skills in networking, teamwork, and communication. His involvement with Inventis led him to pursue a minor in Engineering Leadership Development.

The A. James Clark School of Engineering Leadership Award: Tracey Epstein
Presented to an engineering student for outstanding leadership in the Clark School.

Tracey Epstein, a senior, has been on the Dean's list every semester. She is a member of the University Honors Program, the Primannum Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi; and also an active member of the Biological Resources Engineering Society and the Alpha Omega Epsilon International Engineering Sorority. Epstein participated in the QUEST program, where the project that her team worked on, the development of a sustainable solution for construction site waste management, was selected to receive the Project of the Year Award in Fall 2008. She is a Clark School Ambassador who shares her experiences with prospective students and emphasizes the unique opportunities the Clark School has to offer. In recognition of her dedication and enthusiasm in this role, she received the Top Ambassador Award in 2008.

Other Awards and Recognition

The Keystone Design Challenge Award
Presented to the freshman engineering design teams that build an autonomously controlled hovercraft that completes a specified course in the minimum amount of time.

In addition to our departmental awards, the following students were winners in the Spring 2009 Keystone Design Challenge:

  • Kelliann Wachrathit
  • Ayo Adekoya

Students who received other honors and awards this year include:

The Institute of Biological Engineering's (IBE) Annual Bioethics Essay Contest
For the second year in a row, Fischell Department of Bioengineering undergraduates, including three freshmen, beat out a national field of 184 other entrants to earn four of the five top spots. (See related story).

  • Zachary Russ (sophomore): First Place (second year in a row)
  • Victoria Stefanelli (freshman): Second Place
  • Chris Dupuis (freshman): First Runner-Up
  • Laith Abu-Taleb (freshman): Second Runner-Up

Congratulations to all of our students!

May 4, 2009


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