Frank Hu Receives Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh Award
Chemistry graduate Frank Hu received the College Chemistry Award from the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh for his research using machine learning to enhance semiempirical methods of computational chemistry. The award will help him build a more powerful computer that will be able to better run the programs he needs for his research.
William Knauth Named Recipient of Byron Nelson Award presented by Srixon/Cleveland Golf
Mathematical Sciences and Physics graduate William Knauth received the 2022 Byron Nelson Award presented by Srixon/Cleveland Golf. Knauth, a member of the Carnegie Mellon men’s golf team, was recognized for his achievement in the classroom, on the course and in his community.
Simran Khunger Receives Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association Scholarship
Mathematical Sciences graduate Simran Khunger received the Carnegie Mellon Women’s Association Award. She is a prominent member of the Association of Women in Mathematics chapter at CMU and a board member of the Math Club, where she has been a strong advocate for women in science and math and has empowered others to reach their fullest potential.
Biological Sciences’ Joshua Morrow and Ayah Salameh Receive Gilman Award
Joshua Morrow and Ayah Salameh received the Gilman Award, which recognizes graduating students who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and growth through the MCS Core Education. The MCS Core fosters student growth as scholars, professionals, citizens and people.
Morrow graduated in 2022 with a double major in biological sciences and psychology and a minor in biomedical engineering. During his undergraduate experience, Morrow participated in courses, research, teaching assistantships and other extracurriculars. Underlying it all was his desire to foster interpersonal relationships.
“I really like to be connected with people,” Morrow said. “I think it’s one of the most important things in my life.”
Morrow had many opportunities to connect with his fellow students and to the greater community. He worked as a teaching assistant, was a Head Orientation Counselor, created a Student College (StuCo) course where students analyzed Schitt’s Creek and its themes and served as the vice president of the Brain Exercise Initiative, where he volunteered at elder care facilities.
Morrow also conducted research on minimizing clots in oxygenator devices. The research involved surgeries to test the devices, which solidified his interest in medicine. He plans on combining his excitement for science with his passion for people by pursuing a career as a pediatrician.
Salameh, a 2022 biological sciences graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), is the first student from the Doha campus to receive the award.
Salameh was nominated for her consistent growth in each of the MCS Core’s dimensions, especially her involvement in the CMU-Q community. She earned a Senior Leadership Award, With Distinction, for service to the CMU-Q community that included leading the Bio Sci Club, founding the Palestinian Club, working as part of the CMU-Q TEDx team and participating in the Carnegie Mellon Business Administration annual fashion show.
She also steadily developed as a scholar, realizing in her junior year that she had a passion for research.
“This is something that’s so amazing about CMU. I keep learning about different perspectives and different ways that people are thinking, and so I think I have a more open mind when approaching any new life situation or any new opportunity,” Salameh said. “I think that’s really important because, as a scientist, you have to be incredibly creative.”
Salameh is pursuing a master’s degree in cancer science at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.
Kristin Donegan Competed in Jeopardy! National College Championship
Biological sciences graduate and self-proclaimed trivia nut Kristin Donegan competed in the Jeopardy! National College Championship. She was one of 36 students from colleges and universities across the country who battled it out in this year’s tournament for the $250,000 grand prize. Donegan made it to the semifinal round and walked away with $20,000.
Chemistry’s Bailey Bowers Wins Rath Award
Bailey Bowers, who earned her doctorate in chemistry, received the 2022 Bhakta and Sushama Rath Graduate Award for her research in environmental chemistry. The award supports a Ph.D. student in a STEM field whose research benefits U.S. industry or societal needs.
Bowers’ research investigates hazardous “everyday everywhere chemicals,” including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are found in many different consumer, commercial and industrial products.
Their widespread usage and extreme persistence have resulted in contamination of many environmental areas, including drinking water. Exposure to certain levels of PFAS may lead to a variety of health effects, including developmental delays in children, increased risk of some cancers and increased cholesterol levels.
“This class of compounds poses some of the biggest challenges among the everyday everywhere chemicals,” said Bowers, who worked in the lab of Ryan Sullivan, professor of chemistry and associate director of the Institute for Green Science. “A lot of my research has been on developing better methods to measure them, especially in the atmosphere, and developing better methods to remediate them.”
Bowers sees her work as vital to remediating the effects PFAS have on both people and the environment. She is currently a visiting professor at Earlham College in Indiana.
■ Kirsten Heuring
Ruiran Xun earns K&L Gates Award
Ruiran Xun’s interests are as diverse as her experiences. The recent graduate left Carnegie Mellon with a dual bachelor’s degree in chemistry and computer science and a minor in collaborative piano. At commencement, she was awarded the K&L Gates Prize, a $5,000 award given to a graduating undergraduate student who has inspired their fellow students to love learning through a combination of intellect, high scholarly achievement, engagement with others and character.
Her love of research, teaching and musical theater guided her experiences at CMU. She conducted research on organic and polymer synthesis with Associate Chemistry Professor Kevin Noonan. And she was a teaching assistant in Principles of Imperative Computation for seven semesters, as well as co-teaching the course during the summer.
Balancing out Xun’s love of chemistry and computer science is her devotion to collaborative musical productions, including collaborative piano — a musical discipline that combines performance, accompaniment and pedagogy. Xun has played as a rehearsal pianist for CMU’s Scotch’n’Soda Theatre productions, and she music directed three mainstage musicals with Scotch’n’Soda.
“I’m incredibly grateful that during my four years at Carnegie Mellon I’ve been able to participate in a myriad of experiences and consequently form meaningful friendships with people from many different backgrounds,” Xun said.
■ Jean Hayes