BME Department Awards Peura Founders Scholars for 2021-22


Biomedical Engineering

The goal of the Prof. Robert A. Peura Founder Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering is to provide recognition and reward to a student majoring in BME at WPI at the junior or senior level who has achieved truly outstanding academic credentials. Preferably, the awardee shall also be a well-rounded student who has graduated from a high school in Worcester County or New England, has distinguished himself/herself in at least one university student activity and has provided exemplary service to the BME Department, the University or the community, and possesses outstanding potential for professional success as a biomedical engineer. This year’s recipients are Ashley Baldwin ’22 and Natasha Cruz-Calderon ’22. The BME Department thanks the Potvin and Peura Families for their generosity to endow these scholarships.

Ashley Baldwin is a rising senior from Mansfield, MA. She recently started volunteering in Professor Billiar’s lab working in research on calcified aortic valve disease. Previously she worked in the oil lab at Doble Engineering where she worked her way from cleaning glassware to assisting chemists perform standardized tests of oil. On campus she is a part of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and Greek life. She currently serves as Vice President Academic Excellence for the women’s fraternity Alpha Gamma Delta. Her future career goal is to complete groundbreaking research in tissue engineering.

Natasha Cruz-Calderon is a rising senior from Dedham, MA. She worked on her IQP remotely due to COVID, focusing on Innovative Mobility with the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences. Natasha currently works in Professor Solomon Mensah’s lab, the Center for Cardiopulmonary Disease Research and Medical Device Development, as a Research Assistant studying human lung microvascular endothelial cells. Previously, she was an Undergraduate Researcher in Professor Dirk Albrecht’s Quantitative Neurotechnology Lab. Outside of WPI Natasha is a dedicated tutor and babysitter for several families and works 30 hours most weeks, while balancing her classes and volunteering in the lab. Natasha is fluent in Spanish and involved in VOX, Masque, and Art Club at WPI.  Her future plans include pursuing a master’s degree and continuing research.
On behalf of the entire Biomedical Engineering Department, congratulations to Ashley and Natasha!