https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Alumnus-Lowy-makes-gift-for-endowed-scholarships-to-support-31-McKelvey-Engineering-students.aspx1309Alumnus Lowy makes gift for endowed scholarships to support 31 McKelvey Engineering students<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Steve%20Lowy.JPG?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>​</p><p>Philanthropists give to charitable causes for a variety of reasons, such as to honor the memory of a loved one or out of gratitude. Steven R. Lowy gives to McKelvey School of Engineering motivated by the opportunity to provide scholarships to deserving students so that they can achieve the same outstanding education he received as an undergraduate and graduate student.</p><p> </p><p>Lowy, who earned a bachelor's degree in 1968 and a master's degree in 1970 from Washington University School of Engineering, both in chemical engineering, gave a gift that will provide 31 additional scholarships to the Washington University Scholars in Engineering Program. Previously, Lowy had established three endowed scholarships and four annual scholarships, bringing the total number of Lowy scholarships to an unprecedented 38 scholarships each year.  </p><p> </p><p>The gift is inspired by the $30 million <a href="https://mckelveychallenge.wustl.edu/">McKelvey Engineering Challenge</a>, which matches all contributions to the McKelvey School of Engineering made through June 30, 2022. Gifts of endowed scholarships earn a two-to-one match.</p><p> </p><p>"It's a great program that dramatically changes lives by making it possible for students from low-to-moderate income families to get an outstanding education at Washington University McKelvey School of Engineering that they could not afford without a Lowy scholarship," he said. "I enjoy giving to this so much more than any other charity where you don't really know what your money goes to. I get much more satisfaction out of this program."</p><p> </p><p>Lowy, who is chairman of Envision LLC, a St. Louis-based IT firm that provides staffing to Fortune 500 companies, began contributing to the scholarship program in the 1970s, when he worked for his family's wholesale carpet business. Since then, 79 students have benefited from his generosity.</p><p> </p><p>"It's been really rewarding to get to know the recipients," he said. "Some of them I've stayed in contact with for a long time. I get a lot of satisfaction out of following their careers."</p><p> </p><p>One of the students who received a Lowy scholarship was Ceren Yalaz, who earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering in 2012 and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, where she also earned a PhD. She said receiving the scholarship made it possible for her to attend WashU and to study biomedical engineering, her dream major.</p><p> </p><p>"Having financial security meant an immense peace of mind, and I was able to focus on my studies and research while experiencing the campus life," she said. "Being fortunate enough to be a Lowy Scholar, I felt responsible to help work toward a more inclusive campus. As a group of students from the Student Union, we initiated WU/FUSED (Washington University for Undergraduate Socioeconomic Diversity) to improve admissions access and awareness on socioeconomic diversity. I also hope to contribute towards scholarships in the future."</p><p> </p><p>Richard Colvin, who earned a bachelor's degree in computer science in 2002 and is cofounder and coinventor of NoWait, now Yelp Waitlist, said the relatively new Department of Biomedical Engineering drew him to WashU.</p><p> </p><p>"While my primary focus was engineering, I enjoyed the breadth of electives that I found in other areas of the university, such as philosophy and business," said Colvin, who is now a software engineer for Yelp. "After starting classes, I decided somewhat quickly to pursue a computer science major and robotics minor. The Department of Computer Science was great preparation for my current role as a software engineer."</p><p> </p><p>Colvin said he was confident that WashU was the best university for him, and that scholarship support was critical for his ability to attend.</p><p> </p><p>"Even with WashU's scholarship support, attendance still required sizable loans to make up the difference," he said. "Steve Lowy's scholarship support made it financially feasible for me to make the best choice."</p><p> </p><p>The majority of Lowy scholarship recipients work in information technology, with many working as software engineers or developers at large technology companies, system process engineers, or corporate executives or managers. Others are physicians, university professors, project managers and business analysts.</p><p> </p><p>Lowy remains very involved with the university through the Eliot Society and serving as chairman of its Patron Committee for the past three years. He also served on the executive committee of his undergraduate class's 50<sup>th</sup> reunion in 2018. He received the McKelvey Engineering Alumni Achievement Award in 2018.</p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p> </p><p><br/></p>Steve LowyBeth Miller 2020-05-19T05:00:00ZInspired by the McKelvey Engineering Challenge, alumnus Steve Lowy gave a gift that will provide 31 additional scholarships to the Washington University Scholars in Engineering Program.
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Aluminum-may-affect-lead-levels-in-drinking-water.aspx1316Aluminum may affect lead levels in drinking water<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/waterinbeaker.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>​It is not uncommon to find aluminum in municipal water systems. It’s part of a treatment chemical used in some water treatment processes. Recently, however, it has been discovered in lead scale, deposits that form on lead water pipes.</p><p>The aluminum presence in pipes is both unsurprising and, in the quantities researchers saw in water pipes, not a health concern, according to <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Daniel-Giammar.aspx">Daniel Giammar</a>, the Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. But no one had looked at how it might affect the larger municipal system.<br/></p><p>In particular, Giammar wanted to find out, “What is that aluminum doing to the behavior of the lead in the scale?” As long as the lead is bound to the scale, it doesn’t enter the water system.</p><p>Giammar and a team ran several experiments and found that, in a lab setting, aluminum does have a small but important effect on lead’s solubility under certain conditions. Their results were published in late April in <a href="https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.0c00738?utm_source=SendGrid_ealert&utm_medium=ealert&utm_campaign=ASAP_esthag&ref=SendGrid_ealert_ASAP_esthag">Environmental Science & Technology</a>. The paper was selected as “ACS Editor’s Choice” by the American Chemical Society, which makes it available to the public for free.</p><p>The experiments were carried out in large part by visiting PhD student Guiwei Li, who was able to complete the work during his brief stay at Washington University before returning to the Chinese Academy of Sciences.</p><p>In simplified models, the researchers took a look at how phosphate, aluminum and a combination of the two, affected a strip of lead in a jar of water with a composition close to that of water found in many water systems. The aim: to better understand lead’s solubility, or the amount that would dissolve and make its way into the water when impacted by those chemicals.</p><p>In the jar in which only aluminum was added, there was no effect on the solubility of the lead strip; lead had dissolved into the water at a concentration of about 100 micrograms per liter.</p><p>In the jar in which only phosphate was added, the concentration of lead in the water decreased from about 100 micrograms per liter to less than one.</p><p>In the jar in which both aluminum and phosphate were added, the concentration of lead in the water decreased from about 100 micrograms per liter to about 10 micrograms per liter.</p><p>Ten micrograms of lead per liter of water is still below drinking water standards, Giammar said, but it’s still more lead in the water than was seen in the jar without aluminum. “This tells us what our next experiment should be,” he said. His lab will do these experiments with real lead pipes, as they have done in the past.</p><p>“This showed us things that were surprising,” he said. “Some people would have thought that aluminum wasn’t doing anything because it’s inert. But then in our work, we saw that it actually affects lead solubility.”<br/></p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><br/><div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Daniel Giammar<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"> <strong> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Daniel-Giammar.aspx?_ga=2.170919141.452849903.1540303982-757045394.1533662676"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Giammar_Daniel.jpg?RenditionID=3" alt="Daniel Giammar" style="margin: 5px;"/></a> <br/></strong></div><ul style="text-align: left;"><li>Walter E. Browne Professor of Environmental Engineering</li><li>Expertise: Water quality, aquatic chemistry, and environmental implications of energy technologies<br/></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Daniel-Giammar.aspx?_ga=2.170919141.452849903.1540303982-757045394.1533662676">>> View Bio</a><br/></p></div></div><div class="cstm-section"><h3>Media Coverage<br/></h3><div> <strong>Water Quality Products: </strong> <a href="https://www.wqpmag.com/lead-removal/washington-university-team-studies-aluminum-water-pipes">Washington University Team Studies Aluminum in Water Pipes</a><br/></div><div><br/></div><div> <strong>National Science Foundation: </strong> <a href="https://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=300660&WT.mc_id=USNSF_1">Aluminum may affect lead levels in drinking water</a><br/></div></div>After a series of experiments, researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering have found that aluminum does have a small but important effect on lead’s solubility under certain conditions. (Image: shutterstock)Brandie Jeffersonhttps://source.wustl.edu/2020/05/aluminum-may-affect-lead-levels-in-drinking-water/2020-05-19T05:00:00Z​Researchers find aluminum in water could affect lead’s solubility — in certain cases<p>​Researchers find aluminum in water could affect lead’s solubility — in certain cases<br/></p>
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/He-named-co-founding-editor-of-Journal-of-Hazardous-Materials-Letters.aspx1317He named co-founding editor of Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters <img alt="" src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Jason%20He%202020.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>​</p><p>Zhen (Jason) He, professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, has been named co-founding editor of a new journal, <em>Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters</em>.</p><p> </p><p>JHM Letters aims to be a top journal in the field and will publish research about fate, transport, impact and treatment of hazardous materials, including emerging contaminants and virus/pathogens. It is a sister journal of <em>Journal of Hazardous Materials</em> (JHM), a high-profile journal in the field of environmental engineering and for which He also is co-editor. </p><p> </p><p>He's research centers on environmental biotechnology, bioenergy production, biological wastewater treatment, resource recovery, bioelectrochemical systems, sustainable desalination technology, anaerobic digestion, forward osmosis and membrane bioreactors. He also is editor-in-chief for <em>Water Environmental Research.</em></p><p> </p><p>Rajan Chakrabarty, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, is on the editorial board of <em>JHM Letters</em>, and Young-Shin Jun, professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, is on the editorial board of<em> JHM</em>.<br/></p><p> </p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p><br/></p><p><br/></p>Beth Miller 2020-05-19T05:00:00ZZhen (Jason) He has been named co-founding editor in chief of the Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters.
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/Moon-receives-NSF-grant-to-engineer-complex-genetic-circuits.aspx1312Moon receives NSF grant to engineer complex genetic circuits <img alt="" src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Moon_Tae-Seok.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>​</p><p>During the past two decades, researchers have been able to engineer simple RNA-based genetic circuits in bacteria. They still, however, have difficulty with more complex circuits. More complex circuits are necessary for the next generation of "smart" bacteria that can produce an enhanced level of chemicals on demand. </p><p> </p><p>Toward this end, the National Science Foundation has awarded a $664,519 grant to Tae Seok Moon, associate professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering at the McKelvey School of Engineering.</p><p> </p><p>The multidisciplinary project will utilize biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology and engineering to understand generalizable design principles by which simple RNA-based genetic circuits can be combined to generate complex ones.<br/></p><p><br/></p>2020-05-13T05:00:00ZMore complex circuits are necessary for the next generation of "smart" bacteria that can produce an enhanced level of chemicals on demand.
https://engineering.wustl.edu/news/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians.aspx1298Meet the Class of 2020 valedictoriansWhile the global pandemic has impacted Commencement ceremonies at Washington University in St. Louis, it hasn’t lessened the quality, pride or accomplishments of the class of 2020.<br/><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Valedictorians%202020.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />This year, the McKelvey School of Engineering honors 10 students who have excelled beyond their peers by earning the class’s highest academic marks. <div> <br/>Meet the McKelvey Engineering Class of 2020 valedictorians and learn more about their experiences at WashU and how they helped prepare them for their futures.<span><hr/></span></div><div><h3>Alex Baker</h3><p> <b>Major in computer science with a second major in finance<br/>Hometown: Springfield, Missouri</b></p> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/baker-alex.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="baker-alex.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/> <p> One of Alex Baker’s most enriching learning experiences occurred while he was teaching.<br/></p><p>The Department of Computer Science & Engineering offers undergraduate students the opportunity to help faculty instruct courses; Baker served as a TA for CSE 131: Introduction to Computer Science.</p><p>"The experience taught me how to communicate technical ideas, work with people and exposed me to several great learning opportunities,” he said.</p><p>Baker plans to continue his studies in computer science at WashU and earn a Master of Science degree. He said he’s drawn to the limitless possibilities of the field.</p><p>“Computers are neither smart nor dumb; they simply follow directions,” he said. “You can get a computer to do anything, as long as you can imagine it.”<br/></p><span><hr/></span><p><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Barathkumar Baskaran</span><br/></p><div> <strong>Major in chemical engineering with minors in finance and environmental engineering science<br/>Hometown: Gilberts, Illinois</strong></div><div> <br/> </div> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/baskaran-barathkumar.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="baskaran-barathkumar.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/> <div>WashU was always Barathkumar Baskaran’s top pick of schools. He applied during the early decision admission period and, in his words, “never looked back.”</div><div> <br/> </div><div>“I appreciated the strength of WashU's academics, but I also appreciated the spirit of collaboration rather than competition that was present across campus,” he said.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>One such collaboration is that has made an impact on his development as a scholar and an engineer is his work with his research mentor Hani Zaher.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>“A large part of research is repetitively dealing with an experimental failure and then being able to move on and troubleshoot,” Baskaran said. “I gained that resiliency through my experience in his lab, and his mentorship has been an invaluable component of my decision to pursue graduate school.”</div><div> <br/> </div><div>Like many of Baskaran’s classmates, he’s disappointed by COVID-19’s impact on his senior year.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>“I am sure I am not alone in the students who had a bucket list of things they wanted to do one last time, and I was most definitely looking forward to walking across the stage at Commencement,” he said.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>Still, despite the change in plans, Baskaran is remaining optimistic about his experience. He’s looking forward to pursuing a doctoral degree in chemical engineering at MIT.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>“I am grateful for the past three years that I've had at WashU,” he said. “Even with the absence of the final quarter of my senior year, I don't feel the friendships and memories of these past few years are diminished, but rather enhanced.”<br/></div><div><span><hr/></span> <span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Saima Choudhury</span></div><div> <b>Major in chemical engineering</b></div><div><b>Hometown: Houston, Texas<br/></b><br/><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/choudhury-saima.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="choudhury-saima.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/> <p>While Saima Choudhury excelled in the classroom, she’s also thrived outside of it. She served on the leadership of WashU’s Muslim Students Association, Strive for College, the WashU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and <i>Colour</i> magazine.</p><p>Choudhury said she valued these opportunities to grow as a student, a leader and a person.</p><p>“Being at WashU has taught me to adapt to a new and uncomfortable environment, to confront ugly truths about the world, to be more vulnerable with myself and my friends, and to develop new ways of thinking,” she said.</p><p>She encourages other WashU students to break out of their bubble and explore, whether that’s getting out into the city or studying a new and unfamiliar subject.</p><p>“Being at WashU gives you unique access to resources some people can’t even dream of, so use them,” she said. “Start early; don’t give yourself the excuse that it can wait, because the year will be over before you know it.”<br/></p><span><hr/></span><p><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Yoon Ho ”Raphael” Chung</span><br/></p><div> <strong>Major in biomedical engineering and a second major in applied science in electrical engineering</strong></div><div><strong>Hometown: Seoul, South Korea</strong></div><div> <br/> </div> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/chung-raphael.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="chung-raphael.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/> <div>The current pandemic has caused major disruptions for members of the Class of 2020, but Raphael Chung said he hopes that his fellow graduates don’t let the changes discourage them.</div><div> <br/> </div><div> “Even if a lot of things seem outside of your control, there is always something that can be done,” he said. “It might be taking a step back and reprioritizing things to prepare for the next step forward.”</div><div> <br/>Following graduation, Chung will take part in the ZeroTo510 medical device accelerator program, a role that — combined with his WashU education — will empower him to achieve his career aspirations.</div><div> <br/>“I’ve always wanted to help people be healthy and improve their quality of life,” Chung said. “I found biomedical engineering to be an interesting and exciting approach for working towards those goals.”<br/></div><div><span><hr/></span> <span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">T</span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">ianci</span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"></span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;"> Hu</span></div><div> <strong>Major in computer science<br/></strong><b>Hometown: Nanjing, China</b><br/><br/><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/hu-tianci-new.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="hu-tianci-new.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin: 10px;"/></div><div>Three things drew Tianci Hu to WashU: The prestige of the university, its small undergraduate student body and recommendations from close friends.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>As expected, the rigorous education proved to be a challenge at times, but Hu was able to succeed thanks to “a lot of reading, practice and a bit of luck.”</div><div> <br/> </div><div>And because of that dedication, he’s more than prepared for his future role with Citadel LLC, a hedge fund and financial services company.</div><div> <br/> </div><div>“I’m excited to explore the financial market and see how my math and computer science background will contribute to the investment process,” he said.<br/></div><div><br/></div><div><br/></div><div><span><hr/></span> <span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Jessie Korovin</span></div> <b>Major in systems engineering with a second major in financial engineering and a minor in computer science<br/>Hometown: Livingston, New Jersey<br/></b><p style="font-weight: bold;"></p> <b></b><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/korovin-jessie.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="korovin-jessie.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px 10px; width: 293px; height: 298px;"/> <p>Jessie Korovin has one piece of advice for his fellow classmates: Spend as much time as possible with the people you care about. </p><p>As a student of both engineering and finance, Korovin faced many challenges in his academic career that he would not have been able to overcome without the support of his friends, teachers and classmates.</p> <p>“Collaboration in general has been important for my success at WashU,” he said.</p> <p>One of his biggest challenges was a mathematical finance course he took as part of his second major.<br/></p> <p>“It was a graduate-level course with quite a few PhD students,” he said. “The material was incredibly difficult, but I was able to persevere with the help of a friend.”</p> <p>And as he moves forward to his career as an analyst for PGIM Inc., those relationships are what he’ll miss most at WashU.</p> <p>“My WashU experience was highlighted by the lifelong friendships I've made,” he said.<b></b></p><span><hr/></span><p><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Nick Matteucci</span><br/></p> <div style="font-weight: bold;"> <strong>Major in chemical engineering with a minor in energy engineering<br/>Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri</strong></div> <div> <b style="font-weight: bold;"><br/></b><b><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/matteucci-nick.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="matteucci-nick.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/></b> <p>The child of a WashU professor, Nick Matteucci was hoping to get as far away as he could for college.</p><p>He eventually came around — mentally and physically.</p><p>"After touring the beautiful campus and meeting with professors, students and Coach [Jeff] Stiles, I knew there was no other school I wanted to go to," he said </p><p>It's the community that drew Matteucci to the university, and it's also what he'll miss the most.</p><p>"There are so many brilliant, humble and driven people that create the exciting and fun atmosphere I've come to love here."<br/><br/>As he moves on to earn a doctoral degree in chemical engineering, he has a few words of encouragement for his fellow seniors.<br/></p><p>"I feel blessed and grateful for all the time we got at WashU to be a community, despite being heartbroken that our second semester was uprooted the way it was," he said. "Hopefully, we can use this unusual time to remember to pursue what we love and not take time for granted, as everything can change in an instant."<b></b></p><span><hr/></span><p><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Patrick Naughton</span><br/></p></div> <div rtenodeid="5"><strong> </strong><strong>Major in electrical engineering with a second major in computer science<br/></strong><b>Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri</b></div> <div style="font-weight: bold;"> <br/> </div> <b><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/naughton-patrick.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="naughton-patrick.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/></b> <div>What drew Patrick Naughton to WashU was the opportunity to take part in research and hands-on experiences as an undergraduate.</div> <div> <br/> </div> <div> “The ubiquity of electronics and computers makes me interested to learn as much as I can about how they work and ways to improve them,” he said.</div> <div> <br/> </div> <div>In the classroom, Naughton found inspiration from faculty who challenged and motivated him to excel.</div> <div> <br/> </div> <div>“Professor [William] Richard helped me develop an interest in hardware design and supported my academic progress,” he said. “His sequence of courses pushed me to think about computer science and engineering in new ways.”</div> <div> <br/> </div> <div>After he graduates, Naughton plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computer science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.</div> <div> <br/> </div> <div>“I am most excited to begin working on more independent research and developing my skills to contribute to scientific knowledge production,” he said.<b></b> <br/></div><div><span><hr/></span> <span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">Lucca Paletta</span></div><div style="font-weight: bold;"> <b>Major in mechanical engineering<br/>Hometown: Lake Odessa, Michigan</b></div> <div style="font-weight: bold;"> <br/> </div> <b><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/paletta-lucca.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="paletta-lucca.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/></b> <div>Lucca Paletta has been fascinated by physics since high school. Even when his course work stymied him, he met the challenge with determination.</div> <div> <br/>“The most difficult course for me was probably my second semester of physics,” he said. “Many of the electricity and magnetism concepts didn’t make intuitive sense to me, so I spent tons of time in office hours, asked the professor questions every day after class and got a private tutor.”</div> <div> <br/>The hard work paid off. Thanks to assistance he received from Engineering Student Services and course professor Martin Israel, Paletta not only passed the course, he went on to receive the Varney Prize for Introductory Physics.</div> <div> <br/>His next challenge? A five-year term with the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, the Naval Reactors, in Washington D.C.</div> <div> <br/>“I’ll get the chance to work on nuclear reactors and ensure the safety of many U.S. Navy sailors,” Paletta said. “I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the clean energy industry and hopefully improve the lives of generations after me.”<b></b></div><div><span><hr/></span> <span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">F</span><span style="color: #555555; font-family: "libre baskerville", "times new roman", serif; font-size: 1.25em;">inn Voichick</span></div><div style="font-weight: bold;"> <strong>Major in computer science with a second major in mathematics and a minor in philosophy-neuroscience-psychology<br/></strong>Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin<br/><br/></div> <b><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/meet-the-class-of-2020-valedictorians/voichick-finn.jpg?RenditionID=6" alt="voichick-finn.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px 10px;"/></b>For Finn Voichick, the most fascinating aspect of computer science is how it combines theory with practice. A member of Studio TESLA, Volchick has shared his love of engineering — both its theories and practice — with those in need.</div> <div> <br/>Volchick served as a member of the club’s Enrichment team, which created design challenges meant to inspire a love of STEM and innovation in underserved middle-school students.</div> <div> <br/>“It was a great experience,” he said. “Some of my favorite projects were blimp racing with helium balloons, building a small house to withstand extreme weather conditions and building a circuit to send Morse code messages.”</div> <div> <br/>Voichick will continue to study the intersection of theory and practice at the University of Maryland while pursuing a doctoral degree.</div> <div> <br/>“I'll miss the students and professors who have supported me and helped shape and deepen my interests and experiences at WashU,” Volchick said. “As a senior, our sudden campus departure has been challenging, and I regret not being able to say an in-person goodbye to my WashU community.”<b></b><br/> <p style="font-weight: bold;"> <br/> </p></div> </div>Danielle Lacey2020-05-06T05:00:00ZWhile the global pandemic has impacted Commencement ceremonies at Washington University in St. Louis, it hasn’t lessened the quality, pride or accomplishments of the class of 2020.

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