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Three BME Students Awarded the Sotak Inclusive Excellence and Research Excellence Awards

September 24, 2021

Sotak Inclusive Excellence Awards:

Elzani van Zyl (BME BS ’17, MEng ’19) is a second year PhD student in the Coburn Lab.  In addition to serving as an advocate for international students and women in STEM, she recently helped establish GROW: Graduate Organization for Womxn in STEM through a grant from the WPI Women’s Impact Network (WIN). Elzani has won several awards for leadership and academic excellence at WPI, published a first author paper and patent application in 2019, and has presented at conferences (podium talk at BMES 2019 and a rapid fire presentation at the Society for Biomaterials 2020) on her PhD research project.

Brian Ruliffson is a second year PhD student in the Whittington Lab. During the past academic year, Brian served as an academic mentor to BIPOC high school students through Boston Partners in Education. He served as a mentor to high school students at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA), as an undergraduate student.  His research at UTSA resulted in presentations at the BMES and Society for Biomaterials conferences, and his senior design project resulted in a patent application and first place in a $100k student design competition.

Sotak Research Excellence Award:

Shaoju Wu, a fourth year PhD student in the Ji Lab, has many research achievements at WPI. These include four first author or co-first author publications in journals such as PLoS One and Scientific Reports, a co-authored paper featured on the cover of the Journal of Neurotrauma, 3 first author conference proceedings, and 4 additional papers in review or preparation.  Outstanding work, Shaoju!