Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering News

2011-2012 ChBE Undergraduate Awards

2011-2012 ChBE Undergraduate Awards

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) undergraduates were among the award recipients at the 2011-2012 A. James Clark School of Engineering's Honors and Awards Ceremony, held April 19. The event honors students from all departments who have demonstrated outstanding academic performance, research, and contributions to their departments or fields. Clark School dean Darryll Pines ChBE professor and undergraduate program director Ray Adomaitis presented the awards.

This year, the awards and their recipients were:

Department Awards

David Arthur Berman Memorial Award
Presented to the student majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with the highest cumulative scholastic average at the end of the first semester of his or her junior year, and who has been elected to Tau Beta Pi.

Awarded to Majid Waheed.

Majid Waheed has been a member of Tau Beta Pi and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers since 2011. He has earned semester academic honors and has been on the Dean’s List from Fall 2009 to Fall 2011. Majid has been a teaching fellow for CHBE 101 and ENES 100, and has also worked at the Naval Research Laboratory and the department’s Complex Fluids and Rheology Lab.

Chairman's Award
Presented for excellence in academics, outstanding service to the department, or outstanding leadership in the department.

Awarded to Kosi Aroh and Michael Harris.

Kosi Aroh is a senior who is also majoring in Computer Science. He has earned semester academic honors since he began his studies at Maryland. Kosi is the President of the Terrapin Table Tennis Club, and is a member of the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He is currently a research assistant in Dr. Zachariah’s lab and has also been a research assistant for Dr. Ehrman as well as Dr. Glotzer’s group through SROP at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has been an undergraduate teaching fellow for the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for the past three semesters. Kosi is also currently a tutor for student athletes.

Michael Harris is a senior who is also majoring in Biochemistry. He has earned semester academic honors since he began his studies at Maryland. Michael has worked in Dr. Raghavan’s lab doing research on enzymatic gelation of polymers, and in Dr. Klauda’s lab developing computer simulations of membrane proteins of various bacteria in implicit and explicit environments. Michael has been in the Gemstone honors program since 2009. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Mighty Sound of Maryland Marching Band, and the Maryland Basketball Pep Band.

Outstanding Senior Award
Presented to a graduating senior for scholarship, leadership, and service to the department.

Awarded to Elia Altabet.

Elia Alabet is a senior who is minoring in Mathematics. He has earned semester academic honors since he began his studies at Maryland. He currently works in Dr. Anisimov’s Lab as an undergraduate researcher, studying the possibility of self-assembly of small organic compounds in aqueous solutions using dynamic light scattering (DLS). He is a member of the Clark School’s student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and one of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering’s undergraduate teaching fellows.

Outstanding Junior Award
Presented to a department junior for academic excellence.

Awarded to Lisa Liu.

Lisa Liu is a junior minoring in Nanoscience and Technology. She has earned semester academic honors since she began her studies at Maryland. She is currently a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellow studying the effect of mutated dynamin on B cell activation and signaling. She is a member of the Clark School’s the Gemstone honors program and the Primannum Honor Society. Off campus, she is an emergency room volunteer at Washington Hospital Center, a mentor for Prince George’s County’s Girls Excelling in Math and Science program, and a volunteer with the Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue Center.

Outstanding Student Service Award
Presented to a graduating senior for outstanding service to the department.

Awarded to Margaret Simmons.

Margaret "Maggie" Simmons, a senior, serves as the secretary for the Clark School’s student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). She is currently an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Sriram’s lab, where she works on a project that seeks to understand the metabolic pathways of poplar, a tree that could be used as a renewable biofuel source. Her contributions to the study earned her second place in ChBE’s inaugural Undergraduate Research Awards (see below). She has also received a University of Maryland Honors Citation and has been on the Dean’s list for the past five semesters.

Undergraduate Research Awards
This new annual honor was created to highlight the accomplishments of ChBE's strong and well-established community of undergraduate research assistants.

Senior Apoorv Gupta, who received the first place Undergraduate Research Award, works in Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor and chair William Bentley's Molecular & Metabolic Engineering Laboratories he is part of a team engaged in the study of quorum sensing, a cell-to-cell communication process that allows groups of single celled bacteria to act as multicellular entities, in some cases allowing them to become pathogenic. Gupta is the second author of a paper published in ACS Nano and is the first author of a paper in preparation. His work with Bentley's group earned him a 2010 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellowship and a 2011-2012 Goldwater Scholarship.

Senior Margaret "Maggie" Simons, who received the second place Undergraduate Research Award, works in ChBE assistant professor Ganesh Sriram's Metabolic Engineering Laboratory, where she studies the metabolic networks of poplar tree cells. The Sriram Group and their collaborators are investigating poplar for its potential as a viable, renewable biofuel crop. Most recently, Simons presented a poster of her work and co-authored a talk given by a senior group member at the 2011 national meeting of the AIChE. Her work is supported in part by a NSF-funded project focused on genome-scale studies of poplar, and is also funded in part by ASPIRE. ASPIRE, A Scholars Program for Industry-Oriented Research in Engineering, offers Clark School undergraduate students the opportunity to move beyond the classroom by working with faculty or staff on real-world engineering projects.

A. James Clark School of Engineering Awards

Outstanding ASPIRE Research Award
Presented by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute to the ASPIRE (A Scholars Program for Industry-Oriented Research in Engineering) student who has carried out the most successful research project.

Awarded to Whitney Hollinshead.

ASPIRE seeks to broaden the educational experience of undergraduate engineering students through direct involvement in real-world engineering projects. In her ASPIRE project, Whitney Hollinshead, a senior, showed great initiative and creativity in investigating nitrogen metabolism in cells of the poplar tree (a potential biofuel crop), using labeled glucose media to analyze the metabolic pathways. Her work may lead to methods for engineering plants to be nitrogen-efficient biofuel feedstocks.

For more information about Hollinshead and her ASPIRE Award, see the related news story »

National Awards

SCI Scholars
The SCI Scholars program, offered by the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), the America International Group (AIG), the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), offers industrial internships at major corporations to exceptional sophomores and juniors majoring in chemistry and chemical engineering.

Internships awarded to Karen Dunford, Yelena Leznik, Justin Owens, Meron Tesfaye and Majid Waheed.

To learn more about each of these students and where they will be serving their internships, please see the related news story.

Professional Society Awards

First Place, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Undergraduate Poster Competition
Awarded at the society's national meeting held in Minneapolis, Mn. in October 2011.

Awarded to Matthew Conway

Senior Matthew Conway received the award for his entry, ""Does Genome-Scale Flux Balance Analysis Predict Metabolic Fluxes in Yeast As Accurately As Isotope-Assisted Metabolic Flux Analysis?" which compared two ways of explaining the "map" of carbon traffic in engineered yeast cells. Conway is a member of Assistant Professor Ganesh Sriram's Metabolic Engineering Laboratory, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Research Fellow, and the Conway, the leader of the Dissin, Burkina Faso Health Project for the University of Maryland's chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB). Conway was also invited to the meeting by the AIChE's Societal Impact Operating Council (SIOC) to deliver a talk on his team's work. SIOC had previously awarded his team a $5000 grant to further its work designing and installing slow sand water filtration systems for public wells and medical clinics.

Additional Awards and Honors

Plenary Talk, 2011 National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Colloquium

Jennifer Au (B.S. '11)

Au, who is finishing her first year of graduate school in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware, was invited to give the plenary talk at the conclusion of her summer research fellowship following her senior year. Her presentation, titled "Enzyme Digestion and Mass Spectral Characterization of Glycoproteins," discussed her work developing mass spectrometry-based methods of measuring the sugar chains on proteins.

Congratulations to all of these exceptional students!

April 20, 2012


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