BIOE Celebrates 2023 Undergraduate Awards

The Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) honored six student recipients of the annual BIOE departmental awards during the 2023 Maryland Engineering Undergraduate Honors and Awardsceremony on May 10. A total of seven BIOE students were recognized at the ceremony.

Lauren Gabranski received the BIOE Outstanding Junior Award. Lauren is a junior bioengineering student with a 3.89 GPA. She is a member of the University Honors Program and a teaching fellow for Bioengineering Thermodynamics. She is a member of the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau, where she has served in multiple leadership roles, including her most recent as Risk Management Chair. Lauren is a lead physical therapy technician at PIVOT Physical Therapy, and, after completing her undergraduate degree, Lauren plans to pursue a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

Anjali Gajendiran received the BIOE Outstanding Senior Award. Anjali is a bioengineering and Germanic studies dual-degree student. She is a member of the University Honors Program and the Research, Instruction, and Service in Engineering (RISE) Leadership Academy in the Clark School. Anjali has been an undergraduate teaching fellow for Biology for Engineers and Bioengineering Thermodynamics. She has also been an active member of the UMaryland international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team. Upon graduation, Anjali plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering with a focus on synthetic biology. 

Harry Zou received the BIOE Outstanding Research Award. Harry is a senior bioengineering student who has worked in Dr. Gregg Duncan’s lab on a high-throughput screening system for inhaled gene therapies. Harry participated in College Park Scholars and was a member of the Research, Instruction, and Service in Engineering (RISE) Leadership Academy in the Clark School. He was also an undergraduate teaching assistant for Principles of Genetics. After graduation, Harry plans to continue his studies toward a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.

Yousefsaid Abderrahim and Nicolle Vigil Aguinada received the BIOE Outstanding Service Award for their significant contributions to the community, department, university, and profession.

Yousefsaid Abderrahim is a senior bioengineering student. He serves as a Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES-UMD) board member. As a ClarkLEADER, he facilitated a diversity, equity, and inclusion seminar, assisted with the ClarkWelcome summer program, and volunteered for ClarkLEAD. Yousef is a participant in both the University of Maryland Math Club and the Maryland Science Cafe book club. He has also volunteered with Seaton Empowering Action in the Community, Inc. as a student math coach.

Nicolle Vigil Aguinada is a senior biocomputational engineering major. Nicolle was born and raised in El Salvador and moved to the United States in 2012. While earning her associate’s degree at Montgomery College (MC), she was an active volunteer and a member of the robotics club, Women in Engineering Science and Technology (WEST), the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Ambassador Leadership Program. She also interned with the Montgomery County Council. At the University of Maryland at Shady Grove, Nicolle pursued biocomputational engineering and worked on projects related to breast cancer and RNA expression. She was part of the Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success Program (ACES), which supports underrepresented and first-generation college students, and started the Ctrl+AI Club with her classmates. Nicolle looks forward to making meaningful contributions to scientific research, technological innovation, and the advancement of healthcare.

Melina Khansari received the BIOE Outstanding Leadership Award. She is a senior biocomputational engineering major. She was born and raised in France and moved to the United States in 2017 where she learned English while getting her associate’s degree. She helped found two clubs at the Universities at Shady Grove: the Stock Market Club and the CTRL + AI Club. She started her own advertising and marketing agency which has worked with over 500 companies worldwide. Melina is also president of the Student Leadership Advisory Council and a member of the Universities at Shady Grove Board of Advisors. 

Also honored at the ceremony was Jessica Boetticher. Jessica received the Women in Engineering Leadership Award for her demonstrated leadership, engagement, and impact to Women in Engineering Program initiatives and student organizations. Jessica is a senior bioengineering student minoring in technology entrepreneurship. She is in the Honors College and is a part of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Alpha Eta Mu Beta Bioengineering Honor Society. Jessica is an undergraduate teaching fellow for Biomedical Electronics & Instrumentation in BIOE. She has worked as a tutor, peer mentor, and peer mentor coordinator for the Women in Engineering Program. She will work for the Army Research Lab this summer before starting her master’s program in bioengineering this fall.

Published May 24, 2023