Recognizing GRASP Members’ Achievements at the Penn Engineering Graduate Awards Ceremony

May 11th, 2023

Penn Engineering started off a weekend filled with commencement ceremonies and celebrations with a Graduate Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 11th, 2023. Friends and family gathered at the Harrison Auditorium at the Penn Museum to celebrate the achievements of Engineering Master’s and PhD students. Many GRASP members were among the honorees and we’d like to outline their achievements below.

The ceremony started with a welcome message from Nemirovsky Family Dean and GRASP Faculty member Dr. Vijay Kumar, after which Dr. Boon Thau Loo, the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, began announcing the award recipients. The first set of awards that were announced were the Master’s Awards, which were separated into four categories: Outstanding Academic Awards, Outstanding Research Awards, Outstanding Service Awards, and Outstanding Teaching Awards. 

The Outstanding Academic Award was awarded to students who displayed excellence in coursework and overall academic performance. This award was presented to Robotics (ROBO) Master’s Students Yug Ajmera, Jasleen Dhanoa, and Swati Gupta. 

The Outstanding Research Award honors contributions to faculty-supervised research projects and was awarded to ROBO master’s students Ankit Prabhu, Pranav Shah, and Kausik Sivakumar. This award was also presented to Alec Lanter, a Mechanical Engineering and Applied Science (MEAM) master’s student who works with GRASP Faculty member Dr. Cynthia Sung in the Sung Robotics Lab

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes students who have improved the social well-being of other Penn Engineering students. Students are eligible for this award if they hold leadership positions in student societies or on social committees within master’s programs. ROBO Master’s student, Jasleen Dhanoa, received this award in addition to her Outstanding Academic Award.

The Outstanding Teaching Awards were awarded to outstanding teaching assistants in one or more courses. ROBO Master’s students, Manasa Sathyan and Zhijun Zhuang, were presented with these awards. 

After these awards were presented, Dr. Boon Thau Loo took a moment to recognize the members of the Engineering Master’s Advisory Board. This is made up of 16 students from different engineering master’s programs, including Zeeshan Islam, the representative from the ROBO program.

Next, the Doctoral Awards for Outstanding Teaching and Outstanding Service were announced and four GRASP PhD students received recognition. Kenneth Chaney was presented an Outstanding Service Award from the Computer and Information Science (CIS) department. Abriana Stewart-Height was presented an Outstanding Service Award from the Electrical and Systems Engineering (ESE) department. GRASP PhD Students in MEAM, Ariella Mansfield and Victoria Edwards, received the Outstanding Service and Outstanding Teaching Awards, respectively.

The final portion of the program recognized engineering PhD students for awards from their academic departments, external fellowships, leadership roles, or research achievements. Abriana Stewart-Height (ESE) was acknowledged for receiving an MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship for Engineering Excellence. Ariella Mansfield (MEAM), Kendall Queen (ESE), and Abriana Stewart-Height (ESE) were recognized for their service on the 2022-2023 Dean’s Doctoral Advisory Board. Malakhi Hopkins (ESE) was recognized for serving on the 2022-2023 Dean’s Doctoral Diversity Board. Devin Carroll (MEAM) was recognized for his TEDxPenn talk on “A robot made of sticks” and Edward Hu (CIS) was recognized for receiving the Best Paper award at the 2022 Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL), titled “Training Robots to Evaluate Robots: Example-Based Interactive Reward Functions for Policy Learning”.

Congratulations to all of our GRASP students for such a wide array of accolades. This accomplished group of engineers helped to prove once again that whether it is through academic courses, teaching, research, community service, leadership, and innovation, any achievement is within their “GRASP”.