Published on Tuesday May 22, 2007
Michael Birnkrant (advisor: Christopher Li), Brendan Donohue (advisor: Surya Kalidindi), Aaron Sakulich (advisor: Michel Barsoum) and Jessica Schiffman (advisor: Caroline Schauer) all took home awards at this year's Graduate Student Day held on May 17, 2007, in the Mitchell Auditorium of the Bossone Research Enterprise Center. All award winners were featured in the May 11 issue of the Triangle.
Michael Birnkrant and Aaron Sakulich each received a Research Excellence Award. The research/service awards, with a cash prize of $250 each, recognize the contributions of graduate students to the overall mission of the University in research and service during the period from Summer 2006 to Spring 2007.
Michael earned the award for his research in introducing multifunctionality into agile laser filter systems, as well as for his service to the department. Michael served as the Vice President of the Graduate Student Association, he has been a mentor for local high school students, and has made many "slime and foam" presentations at recruiting events to get students of all ages interested in materials science and engineering.
Aaron earned the award for his research on geopolymers, materials that can be used as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional materials like Portland cement. He was also honored for his service to the department. Aaron has trained students and led demonstrations in Drexel's Centralized Characterization Facility, performed liquid nitrogen ice cream demonstrations at open houses and other recruiting events, and was a Teaching Assistant in two materials courses. He is also the first Drexel MSE student to receive a J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship while in the department.
Also at Graduate Student Day, Sakulich, Jessica Schiffman, and Oren Leaffer received Teaching Assistant (TA) Excellence Awards. Like the Research Excellence Awards, the TA Excellence awards offer a cash prize of $250 each. These awards, given by the Deans of each respective college, recognize and honor teaching assistants' contributions to quality education at Drexel.
In addition, Brendan Donohue was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Teaching Excellence Award, a cash prize of $250 given by the Graduate Student Excellence Committee. Brendan earned the award for the overwhelmingly positive feedback he has received from students about his performance as a TA this academic year.