Dean Fauchet recognizes outstanding 2021 engineering graduates

Philippe Fauchet, Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Dean of Engineering, has announced outstanding 2021 engineering graduates, school and department award recipients. A video is here.

Samantha Speer

Samantha Avery Speer of Westlake Village, California, is Founder’s Medalist for the School of Engineering. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree as a double major in computer science and mathematics with a minor in economics.

Speer developed cybersecurity training for all Vanderbilt students to educate on the importance of cybersecurity, account security, social engineering, and updates. Samantha has served as a project manager and managing director for Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, which works with local nonprofits to solve business problems. She also has performed, competed and recorded with Harmonic Notion, a Vanderbilt student a cappella group for which she has served as president.

After graduation, Speer will work as an associate consultant at Bain & Company in Houston for three years before attending Harvard Law School through their Junior Deferral Program.

The Founder’s Medal was endowed by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt and signifies first honors for each graduating class from Vanderbilt’s schools. The gold medal has been awarded since 1877. The recipient is named by the dean after consideration of faculty recommendations as well as grade point averages of the year’s summa cum laude graduates.

Matthew Sato

Matthew Michael Sato of Twin Falls, Idaho, will lead 2021 engineering graduates to their Commencement seats as the School of Engineering’s Banner Bearer. The distinction of Banner Bearer is awarded to the senior engineering student who has been judged by the faculty of the School of Engineering to have excelled in all aspects of his or her undergraduate career.

Sato is graduating with a bachelor of engineering degree in civil engineering. Sato is a double major in civil engineering and mathematics with minors in computer science, materials science and scientific computing. He is a summa cum laude graduate, a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering scholastic fraternity, and the recipient of the 2021 civil engineering program award and the Arthur J. Dyer Jr. Memorial Prize, which is awarded to a senior who has done the best work in the study and/or design in use of structural steel, and who is a member of the American Society for Civil Engineers.

Sato’s service activities include serving on the university’s Undergraduate Honor Council and volunteering for four years with Nashville’s ACEing Autism organization. This fall, Sato will enter the Ph.D. program in civil and environment engineering at Stanford University.

Stephanie Wang

Stephanie Yizhu Wang of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service, which is given to the graduating senior who has shown remarkable leadership qualities and who has also made the greatest contributions in personal service to the School. Wang is graduating with a degree in computer science with a minor in chemistry.

Wang has been actively involved in various levels of leadership in the School of Engineering. She has served on the Vanderbilt Engineering Council all four years. As Executive President and President of Programming, she oversaw monthly professional development series events and de-stress events for hundreds of engineering students.

She organized the yearly Engineering Day, Engineers Week, and End-of-Year Mixer. In addition, she spearheaded changes in the VSquared Mentorship Program, bringing it under the umbrella of the Engineering Council and organizing monthly events for mentors and mentees.

Wang also served on the Executive Board for MOSAIC all four years, helping organize a weekend for 200 admitted applicants from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. As this year’s co-chair, she led efforts to change MOSAIC into an organization with year-round programming, planning events with other organizations like FirstVU, Questbridge, and Black Student Alliance. Furthermore, Stephanie has helped start Justice through Code, a club providing free tech classes to Nashville’s formerly incarcerated.

Throughout her time at Vanderbilt, Wang held leadership roles within Vanderbilt Student Government’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, The LIFE (Lessons Inspiring Female Empowerment) Project, and WRVU Radio Station. After graduation, she will enroll in medical school at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Fauchet will announce the 32 students who achieved summa cum laude distinction:

Gabriel Abrantes, Huntsville, Alabama
Kurt Christopher Bertone, Esmont, Virginia
Paavas Bhasin, New Delhi, India
Benjamin Edward Carper, Prospect, Kentucky
Sophia L. Giordano, Hewlett, New York
Rongze Gui, Beijing, China
Ayaz Arhat Farid Hafiz, Plano, Texas
Oliver Rice Hamilton, Henrico, Virginia
Sarang Jeehae Harris, Little Rock, Arkansas
Yu Ji, Zhangjiagang City, China
Jasmine W. Jiang, Shanghai, China
Kevin Kastholm, Elmhurst, Illinois
Harrison Miller Katz, Vero Beach, Florida
Gavin Mather Macpherson, Portland, Oregon
Zeyad Khaled Moustafa, Carbondale, Illinois
William Henry Naquin, Dallas, Texas
Stephanie Lauren Nolen, Apopka, Florida
Timothy Cleon O’Brien, Coral Gables, Florida
Jack Matteson Orlandi, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Matthew Michael Sato, Twin Falls, Idaho
Pedro Seber e Silva, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thomas Patrick Skacel, Broadlands, Virginia
Samantha Avery Speer, Westlake Village, California
Kaitlyn Alana Stoehr, Beaverton, Oregon
Anteneh Tekeba Tebeje, Southaven, Mississippi
Stephanie Yizhu Wang, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Austin Hongzhou Wei, Clyde Hill, Washington
Ryan Grace Weiss, Northbrook, Illinois
William R. Wu, Salem, Oregon
Yoni Xiong, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Annan Yu, Hangzhou, China
Chang Yu, Wuhan, China
David Jefferson Zhang, New Orleans, Louisiana
Xue Zou, Shenzhen, China

Program awards go to seniors who, in the opinion of the program faculty, made the greatest progress in professional development during their undergraduate careers. The 2021 recipients are:

Biomedical Engineering: Kaitlyn Alana Stoehr, Beaverton, Oregon
Chemical Engineering: Pedro Seber e Silva, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Civil Engineering: Matthew Sato, Twin Falls, Idaho
Computer Engineering: David Jefferson Zhang, New Orleans, Louisiana
Computer Science: Ayaz Arhat Hafiz, Plano, Texas
Electrical Engineering: Yoni Xiong, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Engineering Science: Katlyn Alexis Richardson, Buford, Georgia
Mechanical Engineering: Cameron Jacob Schepner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Annan Yu, Hangzhou, China, received the Wilson and Nellie Pyle Miser Award, which is given to the senior who has excelled in all aspects of mathematics during the student’s undergraduate career.

Matthew Christopher Estopinal, Huntsville, Alabama, received the Stein Stone Memorial Award, which is given to a senior who has earned a letter in sports and who is judged to have made the most satisfactory scholastic and extra-mural progress as an undergraduate.

Other awards and honors

Kevin Ifiori, Abuja, Nigeria, and Edward McGee, Justice, Illinois, are recipients of the American Institute of Chemists Award, given on the basis of leadership, ability, character, scholastic achievement and potential for advancement in the chemical professions.

The Greg A. Andrews Civil Engineering Memorial Award goes to an exemplary senior who plans to do graduate work in environmental and water resources engineering. The recipient is Zachary Bloom of Silver Lake, Ohio.

The Thomas G. Arnold Prizes for Biomedical Engineering Systems Design and Research is shared by Stephanie Lauren Nolan, Apopka, Florida, for research; and by Alexander Douglas Boyd, Paris, Tennessee; Jake Robinson Emrich, Evergreen, Colorado; Courtney Morgan Klapka, Forest Hill, Maryland; and Jolie Alyse Lerner, Chappaqua, New York, for design.

The ASCE/Dan Barge, Jr. Award in Civil Engineering is given to an outstanding third-year student majoring in civil engineering. The recipient is Kristi Maisha, Nashville, Tennessee.

The C. F. Chen Best Design Award for the best design project in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is shared by John Galloway, Charlotte, North Carolina; Jason Chuangqi Lao, Irvine, California; Yoni Xiong, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Rodman Yuxi Zhu, Cary, North Carolina; for the project: Empty Vial Detector.

The Walter C. Criley Prize is awarded for the best paper written on an advanced senior project in electrical engineering. The recipient is Grace DePietro, Sea Cliff, New York, for the project: Autonomous Manipulator for Defusing Underwater Mines.

The Arthur J. Dyer Jr. Memorial Prize is awarded to a senior who has done the best work in the study and/or design in use of structural steel, and who is a member of the American Society for Civil Engineers. The recipient is Matthew Sato.

The Walter Gill Kirkpatrick Prize in Civil Engineering is given to the most deserving third-year student majoring in civil engineering. The recipient is Nicholas Laning, Barrington, Illinois.

The William A. Ma Award is given to an outstanding senior majoring in chemical engineering on the basis of a demonstrated record of leadership and scholastic achievement. The recipient is Anup Challa, Cordova, Tennessee.

The Robert D. Tanner Undergraduate Research Award is given to a senior who has conducted the best undergraduate research project in chemical engineering. The recipient is Anup Challa.

The W. Dennis Threadgill Award is given for outstanding achievement in chemical engineering in honor of a former faculty member and department chair. The award is shared by Anteneh Tebeje, Southaven, Mississippi; Sagar Patel, Clarksville, Tennessee; and Kurt Bertone, Esmont, Virginia.

Class of 2021 members of Tau Beta Pi engineering scholastic fraternity

Zachary M. Eidman, Trappe, Pennsylvania
Rongze Gui, Beijing, China
Shira Hao, Nashville, Tennessee
Peter E. Koncelik, Westlake, Ohio
Jolie A. Lerner, Chappaqua, N.Y.
John M. Mathena, Edmond, Oklahoma
Andrew S. Mathias, Maitland, Florida
James W. Miller, San Francisco, California
Stephanie Molitor, Severance, Colorado
Matthew Sato, Twin Falls, Idaho
Pedro Seber e Silva, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thomas P. Skacel, Broadlands, Virginia
Anteneh T. Tebeje, Southaven, Mississippi
William R. Wu, Salem, Oregon

Contact: Brenda Ellis, 615 343-6314