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Viterbi School and Departments Recognize Remarkable Undergraduates

'You should know this right now: many of you will be asked to lead the world.'

May 18, 2012 —

Proud Viterbi School parents, faculty and deans saluted the latest crop of standout student talent at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Undergraduate Awards.

In his welcoming remarks, Dean Yannis C. Yortsos pointed out the significance of the student achievements for society as a whole.

"This is my favorite time of the year, the culmination of our academic year, a season of hope and renewal. Academia is a union of people who share a mission - to advance the mind and the spirit. The most important group within this union is students. And during this weeklong celebration of

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Valedictorian Heather Chan receives her plaque from Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.
commencement, the most important subset is graduating seniors who are about to embark on the next leg of their life's journey.

"We expect great things from you, and we know you expect to do great things. Tonight, we are celebrating the accomplishments and exceptional achievements of a small number who have distinguished themselves during their time here.The talents of our undergraduates are exceptional, and so are their expectations. When many of you graduate in three days, you will be a different brand of engineer:

  • One who combines analytical and mathematical skills with creativity and synthesis: a balanced blend of left-and right-brain skills.
  • One who can solve these and other challenges: in energy, the environment, health, infrastructure and a host of other arenas.
  • One who understands how to innovate, start new businesses, new enterprises and grow the economy.
  • One who leads, across the disciplines and across the globe, and understands the human element and human culture.

"Let me say that all Viterbi students are exceptional because you had to be exceptional just to be admitted. But it is fitting that we celebrate the achievements of those outstanding few. Why? Because you inspire all of us! Abraham Lincoln said: 'That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.'

"It is in the spirit of empowering society that we celebrate tonight’s awardees. Many of you will go on to work in the most relevant societal issues of today, best exemplified through the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)’s Grand Challenges.These 14 grand challenges range from making solar energy economical to engineering better medicines, to reverse-engineering the brain, securing cyberspace and advancing the tools of scientific discovery. They can be summarized in four general categories: Sustainability, security, health, and the joy of living.

KIUEL Capstone Class first prize winners: "Thrust Augmentation of a Solid Rocket Motor by Means of Inert Gas Injection" by William Murray, Sarah Hester and Steven Leverette (not shown). Click on the image for a complete report on the Capstone classes and competition.
"Parenthetically, I should tell you that the Viterbi School has been a national leader in promoting these challenges. We co-organized, along with Duke University and Olin College, the first national summit on these grand challenges in March 2009 in Raleigh, NC. And, we hosted in October 2010, a second such summit. It was an outstanding national event.

"I am pleased to tell you that we are now planning to host a global summit in 2013, the first outside of the United States and with the partnership of the NAE, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"Viterbi students demonstrate an extraordinary closeness and willingness to help one another, and to help diverse communities. In the surrounding Los Angeles neighborhoods, in remote faraway villages, and in classrooms and laboratories sprinkled around the globe, Viterbi students have demonstrated they have what it takes to be at the forefront of leadership, technological and societal.

"And we expect no less. Emerging global problems demand no less. You are, after all, members of the Trojan Family, a very exclusive and genuinely supportive community. A recent study by 'Route to the Top' showed that more chief executive officers majored in engineering - not marketing, not finance, and not law - than any other discipline. Nearly a third of all Fortune 500 CEOs cited an undergraduate degree in engineering.

"You should know this right now: many of you will be asked to lead the world."

And then, the awards:

Archimedes Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scholarship
Heather Chen

To view a slide show of the undergraduate awards, click on the image above

Alumni Advisory Board Award for Outstanding Student Organization
Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement in Leadership
Jasmine Thum

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement in Leadership
Kristen Sharer

Women in Engineering Award
Brittney Pottenger

Center for Engineering Diversity Award
Anastasia Barge

Viterbi Award for Outstanding Achievement by a Transfer Student
Maria Mohammed

Doris M. Gilliland Memorial Service Award
Lydia Froemelt

Doris M. Gilliland Memorial Service Award
Ken Diedrich

Neighborhood Service Award
Christophe Kolandjian

USC Global Scholar Prize
Scott Macklin, Aerospace Engineering

USC Discovery Scholar Prize
Kevin Maloney, Mechanical Engineering

Eyre Associates Award for Outstanding Achievement

Mina Gerges and William Murray

John Laufer Memorial Prize
Sarah Hester, Steven Alec Leverette, and Bill Murray

Bleeker Award For Craftsmanship
James Paulino and Casper Wypych 

Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Student Achievement Award
Francis DyBuncio & Nathan Pandian / Daniel Kivlovitz & Stephen Lue

Astronautics Faculty Award for Student Achievement
Sarah Hester

Fred S. Grodins Award for Academic Excellence

Heather Chen

Lyman L. Handy Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement

Leland Char
Charles J. Rebert Chemical Engineering Outstanding Student &
Outstanding Service Awards

Michael Chou & Dora Tien

Philip S. Biegler Memorial Award For Outstanding Achievement

Rayfe Gaspar-Asaoka

Outstanding Student Award

Wilson Kyi