Two Merrill Presidential Scholars, Other Award Winners and the Class of '11 Honored at Sage Chapel Graduation Ceremony
Prior to the 2011 Cornell Commencement, President David Skorton presided over a special convocation to announce this year's Merrill Presidential Scholars, chosen for their outstanding scholastic achievements and strong leadership abilities. Of the seven Merrill Scholars from the College of Engineering receiving awards from President Skorton, two - Eun Gi Chung and Madison Pearsall - were honored at ORIE's graduation ceremony in Sage Chapel, following the University Commencement at Schoellkopf Field.
At the ceremony, Paul Grigas was awarded the Bryron Saunders Prize, Christine Barnett received the Sam and Geraldine Dell Fellowship, and the Allan H. Mogensen Prize was awarded to Victor Wu. Members of the class of 2011 were presented with their diplomas.
Professor Robert Bland, formerly Director of Undergraduate Studies and now Director of Graduate Studies, also celebrated the leadership roles that a large number of ORIE graduates played during their Cornell careers. In addition to singling out individual participants in campus and community service organizations, he asked members of various such groups to stand and be recognized.
In his remarks Bland, himself a member of the ORIE undergraduate class of '69, noted that "collectively these graduates have the strongest academic record of any ORIE graduating class," including an unusual number graduating with university honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude). Current Director of Undergraduate Studies Professor Leslie Trotter, assisted by Professor John Muckstadt, presented diplomas to each new graduate.
|Professor Peter Jackson congratulates Madison Pearsall as Eun Gi Chung applauds.|
photos: Jason Koski/University Photography
ORIE graduate Chung, who came from Seoul, South Korea to high school in the US and then Cornell, was on the dean's list every semester. She was named an Engineering Global Fellow, having volunteered at a public school in Nepal, with Harvest Mission International in Kazakhstan, and on the Agua Clara project that designs sustainable water systems for resource-poor communities in the global south. Chung, who served internships with Accenture and Samsung Life Insurance in Seoul, will join the investment banking division of Nomura Inc.
Pearsall pursued the Management Science (MS) track of the Information Science, Systems, and Technology (ISST) major. (Students in the MS track of the major, which was introduced in 2004 and has four graduates in 2011, take many classes with ORIE students and are invited to the ORIE graduation ceremony.) Pearsall was twice co-captain of the Cornell Varsity gymnastics team, leading it to the USA Gymnastics collegiate championship in 2009, and holds the third-highest all-around score in Cornell history as a four-year starter on the team. She is a member of Cornell's 400 Club for student-athletes who achieve at least one semester with a 4.0 grade point average, and graduated magna cum laude. Pearsall is from LaGrange IL, has been active in several service activities and served as a physics lab instructor. She interned with Nielsen & Co. and MGP Wealth Management. Pearsall will join McKinsey & Company in Chicago as a business analyst.
|Paul Grigas with Professor Huseyin Topaloglu|
The Saunders Prize, awarded for the top academic performance by an ORIE graduate, is named for the late Byron Saunders, a faculty member and Director of a predescessor to ORIE and later Dean of the Cornell faculty. Saunders Prize winner Paul Grigas graduated summa cum laude. Along with two other students, Grigas formed a team that won first prize in the Cornell Mathematical Contest in Modeling, which required teams to research the problem of emerald ash-borer infestation, model the problem mathematically, and propose a mitigation strategy. During the summer of 2010 Grigas was one of twelve students selected from among 312 applicants nationwide to work with Cornell mathematics professor Alex Vladimirsky on a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). He subsequently continued to work with Vladimirisky on projects in optimal control and stochastic dynamic programming. He also worked with ORIE professor Huseyin Topaloglu on a project for the local county library system. Grigas, from Milford CT, will undertake Ph.D. studies in the Operations Research Center at MIT.
A significant fraction of those who received diplomas in Sage Chapel will stay on at Cornell to pursue ORIE's Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree. Professor Bland announced special awards to two of them, Christine Barnett and Victor Wu, who received the Sam and Geraldine Dell Fellowship and the Allan H. Mogensen prize, respectively.
|Christine Barnett with Professor Jack Muckstadt|
As an undergraduate, Barnett worked with ORIE professor Jack Muckstadt, ORIE M.Eng. graduate Kenneth Chu and Ph.D. student Kathleen King on simulation software to evaluate the provisioning of medical supplies in public health emergencies, such as an anthrax attack in a major metropolitan area. Barnett and Chu were finalists in the annual INFORMS Undergraduate Research Prize competition for a paper on the subject they coauthored with Muckstadt and King, who were also her coauthors on a report that will be presented to the Centers for Disease Control Science Board this summer.
Barnett, from Haddon Township NJ, has been actively involved in many campus leadership activities and is president Cornell's women's club basketball team. She graduated cum laude. The Sam and and Geraldine Dell Fellowship awarded to Barnett was established by the Dells in 2008. Dell Fellows must excel academically, demonstrate strong ethical grounding, leadership capabilities, team contributions and fundamental understanding of the application of theory to practical business problems.
|Victor Wu with Professor Gennady Samorodnitsky|
Victor Wu, who received the 2011 Mogensen Prize, is from Lexington MA. He has been a leader of the Engineering Career Fair Team, which annually brings together more than 400 recruiters with more than 2000 students seeking employment. He interned at biotech firm Abpro and is currently working on a project for Microsoft. He volunteers in the local community through Cornell's Youth Outreach program and is a member of the Table Tennis Club. The prize was established in honor of Allan H. Mogensen, who pioneered the concept of work simplification that is now a cornerstone of the Toyota Production System.
One award at the ceremony went not to a graduate but to an alumnus. According to Bland, in the 2009-11 alone, six ORIE degree recipients are children or grandchildren of ORIE graduates. Having sent their descendents to ORIE, these degree recipients are recognized as especially loyal alumni. The ORIE class of 2011 includes Pamela Hidajat, whose father Sapto Hidajat '75, M.Eng. '76 is a particularly loyal alum by this criterion, having sent both Pamela and her sister Debbie '04, to ORIE. Sapto Hidajat is president of leading Indonesian ceramics manufacturing company P. T. Sango Ceramics. At the ceremony, Pamela presented her father with a loyal alumnus award.