WPI Honors Outstanding Students

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - WPI's Office of Academic Advising recently presented 1998 Outstanding Women Student Awards and the Outstanding Minority Award to eight undergraduates. This year's honorees are:

Marietta E. Anderson Award: Laura Cooper, daughter of Donald and Eloise Cooper of Baldwinsville, N.Y., is a junior majoring in biomedical engineering with a concentration in chemical engineering. She graduated from C.W. Baker High School in Baldwinsville. She is a PLA (peer-learning assistant) for the Mathematical Sciences Department, an Orientation leader, and a member of Tau Beta Pi, national engineering honor society, and the varsity soccer and women's club lacrosse teams. She completed her Interactive Qualifying Project, a degree requirement, at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and spent a summer as a volunteer in the Pediatric Hematology Department of a hospital near her home. She hopes to enter medical school after graduation and pursue a career in pediatric cardiology.

Established by Arvid E. Anderson '20 in memory of his wife, this award is presented to the outstanding freshman, sophomore or junior woman student who not only has a superior academic record, but has also been a work-study student, a volunteer for college sponsored activities, and a participant in recognized extracurricular activities.

United Technologies Corporation and Society of Women Engineers Award: Jennifer C. Kimball, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Kimball of Jefferson, Mass., and is a graduate of Wachusett Regional High School in Holden, Mass. She is president of the WPI Chamber Choir, the University's first mixed vocal ensemble, vice president of the Social Committee, a PLA (peer-learning assistant) for sophomore-level chemical engineering courses, takes voice lessons, sings the national anthem at women's varsity basketball games, is a disk jockey for the campus radio station, and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and Skull, the WPI senior society that honors students, faculty, staff and alumni for contributions to the University. She plans to study for a Ph.D. and hopes to become a college professor.

The UTC/SWE award is presented to an outstanding woman undergraduate student.

Bonnie-Blanche Schoonover Award: Jennifer Wright, a junior majoring in biochemistry, is a graduate of Keene High School. The daughter of Ronald and Ellen Wright of Keene, N.H., she is an Orientation leader, a MASH (Math and Science Help) leader, and a member of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society, Phi Sigma, the national biology honor society, the Newman Club, Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, the crew team, the women's varsity swim team, the Order of Omega, the national organization for leadership, scholarship and involvement in Greek life, and Skull, the senior honor society. She completed her Interactive Qualifying Project, a degree requirement, at WPI's Bangkok Project Center. She plans to pursue a doctorate in pharmaceutical research and development with a focus on anticancer medications.

Ellen Knott Award: Nila Almstrom and Stephanie Janeczko. Almstrom, daughter of David H. Almstrom and Elizabeth N. Almstrom of Meredith, N.H., graduated from Inter-Lakes Junior Senior High School in Meredith. A sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, she is membership vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed national service fraternity, a first-responder member of EMS (Emergency Medical Service), and a member of the Student Development and Counseling Center's Leadership Education and Practice Institute (LEAP), which uses seminars and interactive workshops to teach students to be effective leaders.

Janeczko, a sophomore majoring in biology, is the daughter of Stephen Janeczko of Wood-Ridge, N.J. She graduated from Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, N.J. At WPI she is a work-study student in the Biology/Biotechnology Prep Labs, a MASH (Math and Science Help) Leader for chemistry, a Peer Learning Assistant for genetics, and a member of Mu Sigma Delta, the pre-health society, Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed national service fraternity, the Biology Club and the women's varsity swimming team. She works at an animal hospital near her home during vacations and school breaks and plans to attend veterinary school after graduation.

Gertrude R. Rugg Award: Jennifer Hardy and Vikki Tsefrikas. Hardy is a freshman majoring in electrical engineering. She is the daughter of Richard and Arlene Hardy of North Chelmsford, Mass., and a graduate of Chelmsford High School. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, the co-ed national service fraternity, the Society of Women Engineers, the Student Development and Counseling Center's Leadership Education and Practice Institute and the Newman Club, and an Orientation team leader and Peer Learning Assistant for linear algebra.

She was introduced to WPI as a participant (after her junior year of high school) in the University's Frontiers program, a two-week research and learning experience that challenges students to explore the outer limits of knowledge in science, mathematics and engineering.

Tsefrikas, daughter of George and Mary Tsefrikas of Shrewsbury, Mass., is a freshman majoring in biochemistry. She graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Worcester. She is a tour guide for Crimson Key and a member of the Chemistry/Biochemistry Scholars Program, Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, and the varsity softball team. She plans a career in medical research.

The Schoonover, Knott and Rugg awards, provided by funds from an anonymous donor, are given in tribute to women who have played significant roles at WPI. Bonnie-Blanche Schoonover was a former librarian at the University, Ellen Knott was a longtime secretary in the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Gertrude Rugg was registrar.

Based on academic excellence, contributions to the WPI community, and professional goals, these awards are presented to women students preparing for careers in engineering or science.

United Technologies Corporation Minority Award: Sakis Decossard, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, is the son of Amenise Foucaulf and Leger Decossard of Brooklyn, N.Y. A native of Haiti, he graduated from Prospect Heights High School in Brooklyn. His educational goals include completing his Ph.D. by the time he is 35, owning a corporation and becoming closely involved in the development of his native Haiti, particularly to help ensure that survival will no longer be the primary concern of Haitians' children and to "work toward that equality that we all are looking for."

The UTC award is presented to an outstanding minority undergraduate student.

An independent technological university founded in 1865, WPI is renowned for its project-based educational program. Under the WPI Plan, students are provided with unique opportunities to integrate classroom studies with preprofessional projects conducted on campus and at off-campus locations throughout the world. WPI was ranked among the top-50 national universities in the 1997 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges Guide and was ranked 35th among the top national institutions in the magazine's Best College Values report.