Chancellor presents a Founder’s Medal to Arunan Skandarajah

The 2009 Founder’s Medalist for the School of Engineering is Arunan Skandarajah, who graduated May 8 at the top of the graduating class in the School of Engineering with a BE degree in biomedical engineering. Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos presented the medal to Skandarajah during Commencement ceremonies.


A Harold Stirling Vanderbilt Scholar, Skandarajah has worked on several research projects between the departments of biomedical engineering and biological sciences to develop and optimize microscale tools for cellular biology.

He has presented his work through the national conference of the Biomedical Engineering Society, received a Goldwater Scholarship for his potential in research, and has been inducted into the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. He also served as president of the Global Health Council, bringing relevant speakers and service opportunities to campus.

Skandarajah has organized vision screenings as a member of the founding board of Unite for Sight, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving eye health and eliminating preventable blindness. He also tutored students in the Nashville community through Vanderbilt Students Volunteering for Science. Additionally, he has done community service through the university’s Alternative Spring Break program.

Skandarajah, who was born in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and raised in Indianapolis, Ind., plans to continue the graduate studies he has begun as an undergraduate, completing a research-based master’s degree in biomedical engineering by August 2009.
This fall, Skandarajah will begin a doctoral degree in bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he hopes to design diagnostic devices for applications in global health.

Since 1877, a gold medal has been awarded to the student graduating at the top of his or her class from each of Vanderbilt’s schools. These gold medals are called “Founder’s Medals” in honor of Cornelius Vanderbilt who made a specific contribution to endow the awards in their first year.