13 Graduating Seawolves Receive SUNY’s Highest Honor for Academic Excellence

Thirteen graduating seniors across various academic programs have received the 2022 Provost’s Award for Academic Excellence — one of the university’s top student recognitions. The award is given annually to a very select number of students who have shown true academic excellence, not just in the classroom, but in other areas as well, in research or creative activities, or in building an academic community.

This year’s winners include:

Laiba Ahmed, Biology and Psychology
Ahmed, a member of the University Scholars program, is specializing in neuroscience with concentrations in biology and chemistry. She was a team leader and mentor for Stony Brook iGEM, an international organization that allows undergrads to conduct student-led research. She was also a teaching assistant for BIO 201, a volunteer at Stony Brook University Hospital, and served on the Biology Student Advisory Board. Ahmed was a research assistant in the ADEPT Lab, a clinical research project that hopes to determine how factors such as hormones, brain activity and behavior impact personality development.

Myra Arshad, Ecosystems and Human Impact
Arshad, a member of the University Scholars program, was a research assistant in the Baines Lab and a research aide in the Nano-molecular Imaging Lab at Stony Brook. She was also selected for the One Health National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program and did research at the University of Maine. Arshad was also a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance and oSTEM (prepares LGBTQ* students for professions within the STEM fields) and the Center for Civic Justice at Stony Brook University.

Andrew Burford, Computer Science/Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Burford was a research assistant in the File Systems and Storage Lab, a high performance computing engineer at the Computing Center, a software development intern, and a software engineer/course designer. He was president and secretary of the Stony Brook Running Club and a team member of the Stony Brook Competitive Programming Club, competing in the Greater New York Regional Programming Contest two years in a row.

Vivian Chen, Applied Mathematics and Statistics/Business Management
Chen was a data analyst intern at the Career Center and a senior consultant student leader for the Division of Information Technology, mentoring interns in both roles. She was also president of the Applied Mathematics and Statistics Committee at Stony Brook. Chen worked as an actuarial intern at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Joelle El Hamouche, Chemistry
El Hamouche was a member of the University Scholars program and a Presidential Scholarship recipient. She was a mentor in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, a teaching assistant for AMS 361, and a peer assistant leader for the Stony Brook Scholars program, where she mentored incoming freshmen engineering students. El Hamouche was an intern at Van Weel-Bethesda Hospital in the Netherlands and a student researcher at New York Medical College. 

Riya Gandhi, Biochemistry
Gandhi was a member of the University Scholars program and a Presidential Scholarship recipient. She was a Food Pantry volunteer, a Reading Is Fun mentor, a teaching assistant for BIO 315, and an Athletics tutor. Gandhi was a research assistant in the Brownlee lab at Stony Brook and was awarded admission to the competitive Clinical Oncology Open Learning Scholars program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Nicholas Gonzalez, Anthropology
Gonzalez was a research assistant at the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments with Professors Wright and Otero Jiménez, and also in the Zooarchaeological lab with Professor Twiss. He was a teaching assistant for ANT 104, a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Graduate Archaeology Society, and treasurer of the Undergraduate Anthropology Society. He will begin graduate studies towards a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Connecticut in August 2022 following a field excavation in Israel.

Sara Jaramillo, Anthropology
Jaramillo’s research interests include Pre-Columbian Mexico, Colonial Mexico, historical archaeology, migration and identity, social organization, zooarchaeology, community development archaeology and the history of Latin America. She was a research assistant in the Zooarchaeology Lab with Professor Twiss at Stony Brook and at the Southampton African American Museum and the Southold Indian Museum. Jaramillo was a teaching assistant for SOC 364 and served as vice president and social media coordinator for the Undergraduate Anthropology Society. She is also a member of the Society for American Archaeology.

Yu Hao (Andy) Jiang, Biology and Psychology
Jiang was a research assistant in the Department of Psychology, a volunteer in the Mood and Cognition in Aging Lab, a teaching assistant for Molecular Science I and II, and treasurer of the Neuroscience Axis Club at Stony Brook. He also volunteered at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and at Stony Brook University Hospital. In 2021 he received the L.J. Altman Undergraduate Teaching Fellow in Organic Chemistry.

Harry Jung, Biomedical Engineering
Jung has a research background in structural biology and epigenetics, with a background in mathematics, chemistry, and biology and interests in genetics, biochemistry, and biomedical science. He was a research assistant in the lab of Professor Dongyan Tan, Department of Pharmacological Sciences. He was a teaching assistant for Applied Mathematics & Statistics and Calculus, and professional chair and vice president of the Alpha Eta Mu Beta Biomedical Engineering Honor Society.

Amanda Lee, Physics and Astronomy
Lee was a member of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, where she won the Anne Sayre Prize for Revolutionary Researcher. She also received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and a Presidential Scholarship. Lee was a research assistant and a teaching assistant in Stony Brook’s Department of Physics and Astronomy with Professor Jin Koda and an NSF-REU student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa Institute for Astronomy.

Alexander Maus, Applied Mathematics and Statistics/Biomedical Engineering
Maus was a member of the Honors College and received a Presidential Scholarship. He was one of 14 Stony Brook University students to participate in exclusive iGEM summer research project, was a senior design team leader in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and an assistive device developer for the Occupational Therapy program. Maus was president and webmaster of Alpha Eta Mu Beta Honor Society and a research and development intern at Millennial Scientific in Stony Brook.

Liomard Mesa, Computer Science
Mesa was a teaching assistant for Software Engineering CSE 416, a full-stack developer for Vertically Integrated Projects, and did an externship for the Diversity Professional Leadership Network at Stony Brook. He was an applications engineering intern and a software engineering intern at Medidata Solutions in New York City. As one of his academic projects, he worked on a team to develop Quizard, a quiz web application.

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