2024 Undergraduate Awards

May 9, 2024
2024 BME Undergraduate Awards

Congratulations to several of our outstanding biomedical engineering majors that have won awards from the BME Department, and the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. These awards highlight the hard work, dedication, and exceptional talents of our students. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to their continued success!  

Award recipients were recognized at the BME Banquet on April 23rd, and will be acknowledged again during commencement weekend at the BME graduation ceremony.  

Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences & College Prize Winners, 2023-2024


Aashee Budhwani, Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha


The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenges  are inspired by 14 broad problems facing society in sustainability, health, security, and knowledge. Solutions to these problems will require interdisciplinary teams and years of sustained effort. The Hajim School of Engineering’s Grand Challenges Scholars design a personalized program that explores a selected Grand Challenge through five program areas, including hands-on projects, interdisciplinary experiences, entrepreneurial or innovation endeavors, global dimensions, and service learning. Scholars also receive formal designation as an NAE Grand Challenges Scholar at graduation.

Aashee Budhwani – Engineer Better Medicines
Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha – Engineer Better Medicines


Kendall Kohout, Thomas Xue


The Charles L. Newton Prize recognizes engineering students who show a special proficiency in an engineering subject and have conducted research, given a presentation or published a paper.

Kendall Kohout started working in the laboratory of David Williams in her freshman year. She contributed to the anatomical classification of retrogradely labeled ganglion cells in vivo with adaptive optics imaging and ex vivo with confocal microscopy. She presented this work as first-author poster presentation at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and at the Center for Visual Science Retreat. Kendall has assisted in several data analysis projects focused on in vivo functional imaging of retinal ganglion cells with adaptive optics. She was a co-author on a recent publication in PLoS ONE, several conference abstracts, and is also listed as second author on a manuscript that was recently published at Journal of Neuroscience.

Thomas Xue performed research in the laboratory of Chao Xie, where he was a co-author on multiple papers, and conducted numerous exciting experiments. He developed an optimized method to select and quantify missing cortical bone and train fellows in the lab and is now in charge of two-photon and multiple-photon image collections. Thomas has been especially interested in the onestage revision model of conjugated antibiotics and conducted the majority of the 3D reconstruction for the “race to the surface” project using Imaris. The results of this model have been selected as a podium presentation of the 41st Annual Meeting of the European Bone and Joint Infection Society (EBJIS2023). 



Loralai Crawford 

The G. Harold Hook Prize is presented to a student who has demonstrated outstanding interest in engineering.

Loralai Crawford performed research in the the Wilson ECLIPSe Lab at URMC where she completed a study entitled: A Mixed-Method Analysis of the Trauma Triage Process at an ACS-Verified Level 1 Trauma Center, which resulted in a poster presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2022 Annual Meeting in Denver, CO.  Overall, her project sought to develop a nuanced understanding of the workflow, environment, and processes involved in triage decisions for trauma patients. This project served as an introduction to both quantitative and qualitative research methods and bridged Loralai’s interests in clinical medicine and biomedical engineering. Loralai has co-authorship on a number of manuscripts, both already published and in preparation.


Hanna Costa Carvalho, Elizabeth McGinn, Sikhulile Vilane, Christian Voloshen


The Donald M. Barnard Prize is awarded to a senior who is majoring in engineering, has been accepted into one of the University of Rochester’s Masters’ programs, and shows personal achievement as well as good personal qualities.

Hanna Costa Carvalho has been involved in two research experiences and has a passion for helping others. She excelled as a teaching assistant in the biology and biomedical engineering departments and has a stellar academic performance. Hanna is also a team player with excellent interpersonal skills and a diverse perspective that made her an invaluable asset to the Glading Lab.  Her openness to learning and her eagerness to embrace new techniques and methodologies are testament to her commitment to continual improvement and professional growth.

Elizabeth McGinn has gained internship experience, served as a teaching assistant, and actively participated in athletics and other leadership roles. During her internship she built a strong rapport with all of those she interacted with in a short time. In addition to her excellent academic activities, Elizabeth has been playing in Lacrosse since she joined the University of Rochester. She has been on the`Liberty League Lacrosse All-Academic Team' for 3 consecutive seasons, an honor given to team members who held a cumulative 3.30 GPA or above.

Sikhulile Vilane has had numerous research experiences, and volunteer service responsibilities. In the laboratory of David Williams, she conducted research, showcasing exceptional problem-solving skills and adept application of her knowledge. Demonstrating a capacity for on-the-job learning, she operates independently with a positive demeanor and a diligent work ethic.  Sikhulile has expressed a keen interest in increasing accessibility to medical devices and a desire to 

Christian Voloshen has been involved in research in the Ultrasound Tomography Centertwo internships, and demonstrated leadership responsibilities. His outstanding academic performance, coupled with the production of high-quality reports, indicated his potential to excel in producing impactful peer-reviewed publications in the future. In addition, Christian has been an avid runner and actively involved in Cross-country & Track and Field.



Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha

The Lisa Norwood Student Involvement Prize is awarded to a student who has shown commitments and service to the Hajim School by building community and belonging. Two awards will be given, one to a junior, and one to a senior. 

Tochukwu Iyke-Nzeocha is currently the President of the UR NSBE Chapter and as a mentor to black female engineering students, she actively works towards fostering a supportive community for minorities in STEM. Her senior design team designed a phantom of the heart and partial circulatory system in order to provide a demonstration, training and testing platform for a device made by her team’s customer.  She is also a Study Abroad Ambassador with a number of REU experiences, and was recently awarded the Sue S. Stewart Award and the NSBE 2024 Edward E. Barnette Jr. Community Impact Scholarship.



Several of our undergrads became members of prestigious honor societies:  

(click image to enlarge)

Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB)  Established in 1979, Alpha Eta Mu Beta was formed to recognize and encourage excellence in the field of Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering. Membership into Alpha Eta Mu Beta consists of those individuals in the field of Biomedical Engineering or Bioengineering who through their attainments in college or in practice have manifested a deep interest and marked ability in their chosen life work.

Phi Beta Kappa Iota of New York is the University of Rochester’s chapter of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors organization, the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa invites for induction the most outstanding students at America’s leading colleges and universities. The society champions the liberal arts—the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences—in higher education and in society at large.

Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society  Founded in 1885 at Lehigh University by Edward Higginson Williams Jr. and is the second oldest honor society in the United States. The primary goal of Tau Beta Pi is to acknowledge the work done by students and members of the engineering community and their contributions to the growth of the engineering fields.

BME Departmental Awards, 2023 - 2024



Cassidy Christie

This award recognizs an outstanding student for service to the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  These efforts may include leadership in undergraduate organizations, engineering activities, or teaching activities.

Cassidy Christie served on BMES e-board as Class Representative and Outreach Chair. Through BMES, she was a mentor for underclassmen for two years. She was also a TA for BME 230 last fall. She has helped many underclassmen with coursework selection and with filling out custom concentration forms, when needed. She has also toured a prospective student around campus and answered their BME-related questions.


Xiang Tang

This award recognizes an outstanding student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering for research excellence. The criterion for eligibility is authorship on a published manuscript or abstract; or presenting author of a public presentation or poster (internal or external).

Xiang Tang performed research in the lab of Whasil Lee. He demonstrated exceptional performance, excelling in laboratory modules focusing on understanding mechanical injury mechanisms associated with human diseases. His efforts were concentrated in two projects - one employing a mouse shoulder osteoarthritis (OA) model, and the other utilizing porcine cartilage explants. Both projects aimed to quantify the functional roles of Piezo1 mechanotransducers in situ. His effort and data in the first project, the Shoulder OA project, was published in 2023, while his second project was presented at the BMES Annual Conference.  In addition, he showed his leadership at the Students' Association Government Legislative Branch, serving as the Deputy Chair of the Administration and Review Committee.


Noah Freedman, Sakura Herron


This award recognizes an outstanding student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering for teaching assistant excellence.

Noah Freedman routinely went above and beyond in his TA role for BME 101. His office hours were populated with students, and he answered all their questions with patience and thoroughness. He mentored many younger students as he shared with them his BME 101 curriculum experience, his experience of working in a research lab here at the University, and his valuable industry experience.  

Sakura Herron was one of two lead TAs for BME 201.  She, and the other lead TA (Elizabeth McGinn) successfully managed the team of TAs in addition to performing duties including running weekly meetings to distribute tasks, holding a weekly recitation, and organizing exam review sessions. Though it went beyond her assigned duties, Sakura made essential contributions to lectures and exams in BME 201 by providing helpful suggestions based on her experience as a student and TA.


Aasim Hawa, Diana Karosas, Audrey Yu


In recognition of the student’s academic excellence and achievement in Biomedical Engineering.

Aasim Hawa 

Diana Karosas participated in undergraduate research in the Henry lab and served as a teaching assistant for three BME classes. After graduation, Diana will join the BME PhD program at the University of Michigan, where she plans to pursue research in computational neuroengineering. 

 Audrey Yu is i


Ivy Chang

In recognition of the student’s academic excellence and achievement in Biomedical Engineering.

Ivy Chang excelled academically and spent time studying abroad in in junior year.  She also served as the Publicity Chair & Webmaster on the Biomedical Engineering Society's student chapter. We look forward to what she will do next in BME!


    Congratulations to all! 



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