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Class Day awards celebrate engineering graduates’ contributions in research and service

Welcoming graduates and friends to the annual Class Day ceremony on Monday, June 4, Dean Emily A. Carter pointed to a growing enthusiasm for engineering at Princeton.

She commended the Class of 2018’s outstanding work, which included research achievements from designing a method to recycle concrete while neutralizing acid discharges from mining to developing fluid flow sensors inspired by the hairs on bat wings. Graduating seniors were also honored for service and outreach, from tutoring and teaching fellow students to creating design-thinking resources for children.

“People realize that engineers have the ability to make positive changes in the world,” said Carter, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor in Energy and the Environment.

Carter noted the diverse interests of the graduating class, which includes 338 Bachelor of Science in Engineering recipients and 40 graduates receiving Bachelor of Arts degrees in computer science. Engineering graduates represent more than a quarter of Princeton’s Class of 2018.

She said that many will pursue advanced degrees at universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and MIT. Some will start their own companies or begin careers at employers including General Motors, SpaceX and Amazon. Others will play professional sports, enter military service or become teachers. Members of the class have received honors including National Science Foundation fellowships, and Fulbright Fellowships.

Carter noted that more than one-third of the graduates are women, adding that one of her goals as dean is to continue to diversify engineering at Princeton. “The entire population of the School of Engineering should look like the general population,” she said. “We’re working hard to achieve that, but we are already a leader in bringing diverse perspectives to the practice and education of engineering.”

From chemical and biological engineering, the winners of major awards at the 2018 Princeton Engineering Class Day, as presented by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Peter Bogucki, were:




A chemical and biological engineering major with a certificate in engineering biology, Schneider was captain of the women’s lightweight crew team, which recently reclaimed the Class of 1999 Cup from Harvard University. Over the past three years, the team has been highly successful at major races including the Eastern Sprints and the IRA National Championships. Her senior thesis, advised by Professor Michael Hecht of the Department of Chemistry, involved the creation of a library of functional, well-ordered, de novo proteins. Schneider, of Fairfax, Virginia, will be a research associate at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.




A chemical and biological engineering major, Mengiste worked in the laboratory of Professor Abigail Doyle in the chemistry department. She gained fluency in techniques including organic synthesis, automated chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In independent projects, she examined chemical reactions and produced work that A. James Link, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, called a “tour de force.” She served as a peer academic advisor in Butler College and a peer tutor in the McGraw Center. Mengiste, of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will pursue a doctorate in chemistry at MIT.


A chemical and biological engineering major with a certificate in applications of computing, Jiao is the recipient of the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Award, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and induction into Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi. For her senior thesis, with Professor Athanassios Panagiotopoulos, she modeled changes in free surfactant concentration observed in simulations with applications in catalysis, detergency and biological systems. Professor Richard Register said Jiao was “the most talented student” he has taught in 28 years at Princeton. She served as head teaching assistant for the introductory courses in computer science and was a peer health advisor in Butler College. Jiao, of Monmouth Junction, New Jersey, will pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara as the holder of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.