The 2020 Undergraduate Student Awards

Jacob Totaro and Daniel Druhora | May 27, 2020

Motivated to engineer a better world for all humanity, USC Viterbi celebrates graduates who have pursued academic excellence and impacted their communities.

Originally from Tennessee, Salutatorian Gavin Kress ('20 BME) transferred to USC after starting school at University of California, Santa Barbara and has a passion for medical research. Photo/Gus Ruelas

Originally from Tennessee, Salutatorian Gavin Kress (’20 BME) transferred to USC after starting school at University of California, Santa Barbara and has a passion for medical research. Photo/Gus Ruelas

In a time of adversity and uncertainty, USC Viterbi students have continued to demonstrate incredible resiliency and excellence, not only in their studies and scholarly achievements, but also in their contributions to their USC community and our world.

Dean Yannis C. Yortsos summed up the sentiment that the Class of 2020 leaves USC with: “I have been awed by your growth, by your ingenuity, by your development – professional, personal and societal,” he wrote. “You mastered competence. And you mastered character. And in the process, you earned our and society’s unconditional trust.”

On May 13, these graduating seniors were recognized for outstanding academic, leadership, and service achievements at the 2020 USC Viterbi Undergraduate Student Awards.

University-Wide Awards

Renaissance Prize Winner 2020
Sina Karachiani
Catherine Elizabeth Knox
Ryan Rene Moreno
University Trustees Award
Nihar Goel Agrawal
Neelesh Bagrodia
Jingyun Yang
USC Provost’s Award
Zhonghao Shi
Discovery Scholar Prize Winner
Hannah Elizabeth Walker
Salutatorian
Gavin Thomas Kress
National Science Foundation – Graduate Research Fellowships Program
Arynn Orlanes Gallegos
Fulbright Scholar
Catherine Elizabeth Knox (Netherlands)
National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholars

Ara Mahseredjian
Arynn Gallegos
Catherine Knox
Celeste Goodwin
Devlin Halpin
Gavin Kress
Jamie Schlacter
Janeline Wong
John Cagney
Julia Sircar
Kayley Cheng
Lucas Hu
Madelyn Douglas
Megan Schoen
Meredith Troy
Michael Tawata
Namita  Prakash
Nathan Alvarez
Neelesh Bagrodia
Olufikunayo Famutimi
Roxanna Pakkar
Scott Kriesberg
Siena Applebaum
Sofia Tavella
Soraya Levy
Zhelan Chen

USC Viterbi-Wide Awards

Research Award
Viterbi Award for Outstanding ResearchRoxanna Pakkar
Roxanna Pakkar (center), winner of the USC Viterbi Research Award and members of Team Marlink developing underwater wireless communication technology. Photo/Tracy + David Still and Motion

Roxanna Pakkar (center), winner of the USC Viterbi Research Award and members of Team Marlink developing underwater wireless communication technology. Photo/Tracy + David Still and Motion


Community Awards
Center for Engineering Diversity AwardRajuan Nelson
Viterbi Award for Women in EngineeringCatherine Knox
Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Transfer StudentGavin Kress
Gary Norris AwardShane Byrne-Slepicka

Service Awards
Viterbi Community Impact AwardBeatriz Sousa
Neighborhood Service AwardJamie Schlacter

Leadership Awards
Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement in LeadershipArynn O. Gallegos
Albert Dorman Future Leader AwardSiena Applebaum
Viterbi Student Ambassador of the YearCamila Salomon Gnecco
Viterbi Award for Outstanding Student OrganizationAssociated Students of Biomedical Engineering (ASBME)
Viterbi Award for Best Design TeamVEX Robotics
Albert Dorman Scholar AwardNeelesh Bagrodia
Albert Dorman Grand Challenge Scholar AwardCeleste Goodwin
Exemplary Grand Challenge Scholar AwardNeelesh Bagrodia
Soraya Levy
Meredith Troy

Best Research Paper
First Place: “Automated Poetry Generation”Ryan Moreno
Second Place: “IQ without EQ: The Insoluble Problem for Engineers”Mackenzie McClung
Third Place: “The Dawn of ‘Digital Disaster’: Brain-Computer Interfaces and Natural Disaster Planning”Madelyn Douglas

Best Analytical/Expository Essay
First Place: “Canal at a Cost: The Ethics behind the Construction of the Panama Canal”
Ana Rescala
Second Place: “The Engineer’s Blindspot: Amplified Algorithms”Mackenzie McClung
Third Place: “Ethics of Deep Brain Stimulation”Ryan Moreno


Departmental Awards


USC Viterbi Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Eyre Associates Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Aerospace and Mechanical EngineeringJinkun Liu
Andrew Newsome
The Tony Maxworthy AwardJialing Tong
Xuehuo Zhang
Jinkun Liu
John Laufer Memorial Prize for Outstanding AchievementAra Mahseredjian
Brady Donahue
Zachary Begland
Tristan Caparas
The Bleeker Award for Superb CraftsmanshipZongyang Xiang
Brandon Vo
John Dervartanian
Zhenjun Yan
Student Achievement Award for Outstanding Ingenuity and PerformanceSophia Fast
Andrew Rooney
Clayton Marceau
David Kim
Noah K. Brown
Timothy Bean
Andrew Combs
Alexandra Bruce
A. James Armstrong
Noah Brown
Samuel Monroe
Lucas McLeland
USC Viterbi Department of Astronautical Engineering

Ad Astra Award for Outstanding Academic AchievementLuke St Regis
Astronautics Faculty Award for Student AchievementNick Borquez

USC Viterbi Department of Biomedical Engineering

Fred S. Grodins Award for Academic ExcellenceNeelesh Bagrodia
AMI Award for Academic Excellence in Biomedical EngineeringAhmed Mohamed
AMI Award for Outstanding Research in Biomedical EngineeringJohan Joo
AMI Award for Design Innovation in Biomedical EngineeringJulia Morelli
Jamie Schlacter
Megan Schoen
Abigail Stepnitz
Meredith Troy
AMI Award for Leadership in Biomedical EngineeringKristie Leung

Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science

Lyman L. Handy Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Petroleum EngineeringMohammed Idriss
Charles J. Rebert Chemical Engineering Outstanding Student Award
Brandon Chew

Asang Mehta
Ronald G. Minet Award for Best Design Project
Samantha Abdel-Latif
Brandon Chew
Dolsook Daruganon
Sabrina Falcon
Mari Rustebakke
Nicole Spence

Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

David M. Wilson Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Civil EngineeringDavis Clement
David M. Wilson Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Environmental EngineeringCatherine Knox

 

USC Viterbi Department of Computer Science

Award for Outstanding ResearchZhonghao Shi
Outstanding Student AwardOliver Samuel Eisenberg
Joseph Michael Blundell
Yun Tian Xu
Sichong Zhao
Anant Jain
Nihar Goel Agrawal
Zhonghao Shi
Jingyun Yang
Zhaoqi Zhu
Ryan Rene Moreno
Olivia Lu Hong
Jamin Gao Chen
Alina Fatima Abidi
Rachit Kataria
Yue Cao
Muyao Xu
Yue Zhu
Outstanding Service AwardAna Lucia Rescala
Boyuan Xu

Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering

Philip S. Biegler Memorial Award For Outstanding AchievementNicholas Mehlman
Ming Hsieh Institute Outstanding Undergraduate Research AwardRoxanna Pakkar

 

Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

Student of the Year Soraya Levy
Outstanding Achievement in LeadershipJoseph Lappin
Capstone Design AwardKailey Breyer
Nick Huber
Austin Reinhold
Tyler Vincent 

 

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