Six Graduating Seniors Received Department Awards

During the CEE Department Graduation Reception on June 15, Jianmin Qu, Chair and Murphy Professor recognized six graduating seniors, Sebastian Galvez, Michael Giannetto, Elif Koru, Samuel Malin, Sara Thomas, and Galen Reed with five Department awards:  Civil Engineering Senior Award, Environmental Engineering Award, Wallis S. Hamilton Award for Civil Engineering Senior, Jimmie E. Quon Memorial Award for Environmental Engineering Senior, and Edwin C. Rossow Prize for Structural Engineering Senior.

Sebastian Galvez MartinDescription of each award and its recipient(s) are listed below.

The Civil Engineering Senior Award was established by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to recognize an outstanding civil engineering graduating senior in the Department.  This year’s recipient is Sebastian Galvez-Martin.  Sebastian has the highest GPA  in the Department. He is a member of Kappa Theta Epsilon National Co-op Honor Society and Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society.  As a member for International Students Association (ISA), Sebastian was in charge of ISA’s first international service project in 2010 to build a community center in Chincha-Peru, a city struck by an earthquake in 2007.

The Environmental Engineering Senior Award was established by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to recognize an outstanding environmental engineering graduating senior in the Department.  This year’s recipient is Michael J. Giannetto.  Michael is graduating with Departmental Honors & with the highest GPA in the Environmental engineering program.  Michael GiannettoMichael has been a leader in promoting environmental issues and sustainability on campus. He is the co-chair of SEED: Students for Ecological and Environmental Development, and has organized the Green Cup a month-long competition which challenges Northwestern University students living in campus residence halls and Greek housing to reduce energy and water use.  In addition, he has been very active in various students’ activities and started doing laboratory research work in his sophomore year at Northwestern. Michael received an undergraduate research grant and completed a senior thesis on the role of Mn sulfide oxidation in affecting chromium release from contaminated sediments. He recently received the 2012 Academic Excellence Award from the Central States Water Environment Association, an association part of the Water Environment Federation. Michael will start graduate studies next Fall at Yale University.

Elif KoruThe Wallis S. Hamilton Award for Civil Engineering Senior recognizes the senior who best exemplifies the standards of Professor Hamilton: teacher, researcher, and professional engineer.  This year’s recipients are Elif Koru and Samuel W. Malin.  Elif was one of the 5 finalists of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Foundation: 2012 Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship. The Fellowship aims to foster an appreciation of the aesthetic potential in the structural design of buildings and bridges. The SOM Foundation’s goal is to instill in its fellows a heightened sense of responsibility as future leaders in the design disciplines by offering an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the complexities of the built environment. As the Co-Founder and Co-President of Northwestern Chapter of Global Architecture Brigades (GAB), Elif led NU's first 7-day construction brigade to Honduras in 2010, coordinated a team of 9 on the construction site while building a school in rural community. This year, the NU GAB submitted a Health Center design for the National GAB design competition which was ranked the top 5 designs among 15 submissions from top architecture programs in the U.S.

Samuel MalinSam, besides being a top civil engineering student, completed his BSCE and MS in mechanical engineering this quarter. He is extremely active in the area of sustainability. Sam was Co-president of Engineers for a Sustainable World (an 80+ member student group that currently works on projects dealing with energy efficiency, building performance, clean energy, water treatment, etc.)  This year he founded a student project focusing on carbon footprinting of university events, such as student conferences or theater productions. They provided sustainability consulting services to the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights, the largest student-run human rights conference in the country, and reduced their events footprint by almost 95% through improved meal options and carbon offsets. In his sophomore year, he was part of an investigative committee on green roofs organized through Hillel. He acted as a liaison to facilities management, and provided technical expertise on the subject.

Sara ThomasThe Jimmie E. Quon Memorial Award for Environmental Engineering Senior was established by his former students to honor Professor Quon and his contributions to the academic and other professional fields encompassing Environmental Engineering. The Award is given to an environmental engineering senior who has the highest potential to make significant contributions to the advancement of Environmental Engineering and a positive impact on society.  This year’s recipient is Sara A. Thomas.  Sara has completed her BSEE and MS degrees in environmental engineering in 4 year and is graduating with Departmental honors. Aside from her academic excellence Sara is an avid Hockey fan and a gifted player, she is part of the Northwestern Women Ice Hockey team. Sara is also an accomplished piano player and enjoys the music of Frédéric François Chopin.  Sara started to do undergraduate research in the Spring of her Junior year, received funding from the undergraduate research office to study the bio-uptake of mercury by microorganisms on which her Honor’s thesis is based. She recently was awarded an undergraduate student award in Environmental Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and will be presenting her research work at the next Goldschmidt conference, an international conference that will take place later this month in Montreal. Sara is graduating cum laude and will carry out her Ph.D. studies with us in the years ahead.

Galen ReedThe Edwin C. Rossow Prize for Structural Engineering Senior was established by his former students to honor Professor Rossow’s contributions to the civil engineering profession and dedication to his students.  The Prize is given to a civil engineering student who, by activities and achievements, demonstrates great potential to contribute and to succeed as a professional in the field of Structural Engineering.  This year’s recipient is Galen Q. Reed. In the ASCE student chapter's second year back in the steel bridge competition, Galen served as the captain of this year's steel bridge team that went to the National Student Steel Bridge Competition in Clemson last month. Galen led the team in the design and fabrication of the bridge. He learned welding in the winter of 2011 and started teaching the team members how to weld this year. Galen has also led a team of 4 in designing and building prototypes for dressing aids for children with the congenital disorder Arthrogryposis (a number of rare conditions characterized by stiff joints and abnormally developed muscles). His team won the Design Award for their design’s category.