Graduating Seniors Receive Master of Engineering Awards
|Incoming Master of Engineering students Barbara Palmquist, Alice Chuang, Michelle Zhu and Samuel Schmitz are recognized at ORIE's undergraduate commencement ceremony.|
At the ORIE commencement ceremony on May 24, 2009, outstanding seniors who are continuing in the Master of Engineering program were awarded fellowships and prizes, including the first Sam and Geraldine Dell Fellowship, the Bussey Prize, and two Lester B. Knight Scholarships.
Sam Dell was in the first ORIE Master of Engineering class, receiving his BS in 1965 and M.Eng. in 1966. In 2001 Sam retired from Exxon, where he had worked for 35 years in a variety of leadership roles. He has provided career guidance to ORIE students during visits to campus. In 2008, he and his wife Geraldine established a fellowship with what Director for Undergraduate Studies Professor Robert Bland described as "an extraordinarily generous gift." Bland called Samuel Schmitz to the commencement stage as the first Dell Fellowship holder.
Schmitz, from Charlottesville, Virginia, graduated magna cum laude. According to Bland, he is continuing work this summer on a "very difficult vehicle routing study" for an Ithaca non-profit agency that offers door-to-door transportation to senior citizens and people with disabilities. In past summers, Schmitz participated in medical missions to Africa, Central America, and Eastern Europe.
Two graduates, Barbara Palmquist and Michelle Zhu, shared the Lynn E. Bussey scholarship to be used in their pursuit of the Master of Engineering degree in ORIE this fall. Lynn Bussey graduated from ORIE and dedicated his career to the teaching of engineering economics. His text, The Economic Analysis of Industrial Projects, first published in 1978, "continues in use as the most thorough treatment of this topic at the graduate level," according to Bland.
Palmquist, from Houston, Texas, graduated cum laude. As an Engineering Coop student, Palmquist worked two semesters at LMI, a defense consulting firm in McLean VA where several ORIE alums are employed. (LMI has sponsored several Master of Engineering projects and has hosted a number of Coop students over the years). Palmquist is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers.
Michelle Zhu, who shared the Bussey Prize with Palmquist and is from Fort Lee, New Jersey, has an unusually broad array of interests. She has completed a minor in applied mathematics, done an internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory in X-ray crystallography, and worked on campus as a research fellow in computational biology. She is active in the Society of Women Engineers and served as a peer advisor, engineering ambassador, member of the Dean's advisory board, and in the engineering learning initiatives program.
The late Lester B. Knight, founder of engineering design and construction company Lester B. Knight and Associates, believed in the value of combining education in engineering and business, and established the Lester B. Knight Scholarship to enable students to pursue Masters degrees in both subjects. Knight was an alumnus of a predecessor program to ORIE at Cornell, the Administration Option, as was his son Charles, who is chairman emeritus of Emerson Electric Co. His grandson, also Lester B. Knight, graduated from ORIE and is now chairman of insurance company Aon.
The Lester B. Knight Scholarships provide as much as $40,000 towards the M.Eng. / M.B.A. combination, and are subject to fierce competition among applicants across Cornell and from elsewhere. This year German Gutierrez and Alice Chuang accepted the award. Chuang will begin the M.Eng. program in the fall, while Gutierrez, who is expected to receive his B.S. in December and attend next year's undergraduate commencement ceremony, will begin the program next spring.
Chuang, from San Jose, California, is a founder and has served as CEO of a local startup, Optix Productions, which provides videography and other services for events and other activities. She is an accomplished dancer, in both ballet and Chinese dance, and has served as a peer advisor, orientation counselor, and officer of the Society of Woman Engineers.
Gutierrez, who is from Guadalajara, Mexico, tranferred to Cornell three years ago from the Guadalajara campus of the Institut Tecnológico de Monterey, a prestigious Mexican university that emphasizes the interplay between technology and business and has campuses throughout Mexico. At Cornell he has been involved with the LeaderShape Institute and the Academic Excellence Workshop, where he became a co-lead facilitator. He co-founded a nonprofit organization aimed at increasing Mexican representation in top U.S. universities, and has developed test simulations and algorithms as a contribution to Professor Shane Henderson's research project on simulation optimization. During summers, Gutierrez has worked as a financial and accounting intern for companies in Mexico.
In the 1930's, Allan H. Mogensen, a 1923 Cornell Industrial Engineering graduate, pioneered the concept of work simplification, a concept that is now one of the cornerstones of the Toyota Production System. In this effort he worked with Industrial Engineering pioneer Lillian Gilbreth (a subject of the book and two films called Cheaper By The Dozen). The Allan H. Mogensen Prize was established in his honor. This year the Mogensen Prize is shared by two 2009 B.S. graduates who are going on to the Master of Engineering program, Michelle Castorena and Oscar Bernal.
Castorena, from Liberty Hill Texas, earned two years of college credit at the University of North Texas - while still a high school student - before enrolling in Cornell. Like Palmquist, she worked as an Engineering Coop student at LMI. She is spending the summer of 2009 with the firm and expects to work there full time after completing her M.Eng. Castorena has been working with Professor Jack Muckstadt on modelling for preventative actions during natural disasters and bioterrorism attacks. Michelle's older brother Christopher also received his ORIE B.S. at commencement; he will pursue a Ph.D. at Duke University.
Bernal, from New York City, has an interest in manufacturing and industrial engineering. His parents are from Bogota, Columbia, and he is in the first generation of his family to graduate from college. In Ithaca, Bernal worked in retail sales at Aeropostale and as a monitor at Cornell Fitness Centers, often opening a center early in the morning and returning to close it late in the evening. In the summer of 2008 he was an intern at Medco Health Solutions, analyzing their information technology architecture.