U.Va. Engineering School students, faculty and trustees gathered at Pavilion IX on April 28 to celebrate the achievements of the 2011 graduating class. The Annual Fourth-Year Garden Party was a time to reminisce about the graduates’ past four years and life after walking the Lawn.
The Fourth-Year Garden Party was also an opportunity to recognize the School’s Outstanding Students. For more than a decade, the Engineering School has honored students who excel in academics, research and service to communities locally and abroad.
“Our Outstanding Student Award Winners carry on a strong tradition of excellence in scholarship and service,” said James Aylor, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “The Engineering School is known for offering a challenging curriculum that develops leaders. These students took on the challenge gracefully and are poised for greatness in their respective fields.”
The 2011 U.Va. Engineering School Outstanding Student Awardees are Rachel Babij (ChE ’11), Anthony DeGennaro (Aero ’11), Ethan Heil (CE ’11), Borna Kazerooni (Engr Sci ’11, Batten ’12), Kelly Lauston (CE ’11) and Kenneth Tran (BME ’11).
Class of 2011 Outstanding Student Award Winners
Rachel Babij is graduating with a 3.95 overall grade point average and a 4.0 GPA in her major, chemical engineering. She completed her degree with a concentration in biotechnology and a minor in economics. For the past two years, she has worked in the U.Va. Microfabrication Laboratory and the Kwon Laboratory in the Department of Chemical Engineering. During summer 2009, she interned at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Her leadership activities include serving as the vice president for the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and as a program director and volunteer with Madison House, where she worked with young members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia. She won the AIChE Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award and received the Elsie Hughes Cabel Memorial Scholarship.
Ethan Heil earned a B.S. in civil engineering, with minors in engineering business and technology and the environment. His overall GPA was 3.93, with a 4.0 GPA in his major. During his four years at U.Va., Heil was dedicated to numerous sustainability projects including ecoMOD, a project to design, build and evaluate economically and environmentally sustainable prefabricated homes. He was the president of Engineering Students Without Borders and volunteered with numerous organizations, including Bridging the Gap, an organization that works with displaced refugee children, and Charlottesville Urban Farm, a program that distributes locally grown food to low-income families.
Heil’s academic honors include winning the nationally competitive Udall Scholarship, receiving Intermediate Honors and placing second in the Engineering School’s Entrepreneurial Concept Competition. He is a member of Chi Epsilon, Tau Beta Pi and Golden Key International Honor Society. He also won the Madison House 100 Hour Award for completing 100 hours of community service.
Borna Kazerooni (Engr Sci ’11, Batten ’12) is graduating with a B.S. in engineering science and is currently earning a master of public policy degree from the U.Va. Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He is finishing his Engineering School education with a 4.0 GPA in his major and a 3.88 cumulative GPA. While he was a Science and Technology Policy Intern, Kazerooni worked for the French Ministry of National Education in Paris. He also interned for the United States Senate Sergeant-At-Arms as a Technical Resource Center administrator.
While at U.Va., he was an undergraduate research assistant in the U.Va. Center for Electrochemistry Science and Engineering. Kazerooni’s leadership roles include serving as the associate editor of the Virginia Policy Review – Domestic Section, representing the Engineering School in the University Judiciary Committee and serving as an Engineering School Dean’s Ambassador. He is a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and the Raven Society.
Kelly Lausten (CE ’11) is graduating with an overall 3.9 GPA. She is earning a B.S. in civil and environmental engineering and a minor in science and technology policy. During her undergraduate years, Lausten served as a Science and Technology Policy Intern at the Environmental Protection Agency and as senior coordinator for recycling outreach for the U.Va. Department of Sustainability. She developed a move-out day ruse program that resulted in 28,500 pounds of household goods being donated to 14 charities.
Lauston was a Jefferson Scholar, a Rodman Scholar and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. She ran on the club cross-country team, served as a “big sibling” through Madison House and was a house manager for Alpha Chi Omega.
Kenneth Tran earned a 3.69 cumulative GPA and is graduating with a B.S. in biomedical engineering. One of his many accolades includes winning first place in the U.Va. Entrepreneurial Cup for helping create a business plan for setting up a nationwide diabetic retinopathy-screening network. He was selected among a competitive pool of more than 180 teams and awarded $20,000 to launch the business. Tran is now the co-founder and vice president of engineering and product development for RetiVue Inc., a company he helped start to commercialize a retinal camera technology.
While an undergraduate, Tran worked in the U.Va. Ophthalmology Research Lab and in the University of Cape Town’s Tuberculosis Microscopy Research Lab. He served as the Engineering Student Council’s community service committee director, helping to raise more than $3,000 for cancer research at U.Va. He also served as a member of an Alternative Spring Break service team in New Orleans and on the Albemarle Housing Improvement group.