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Convocation honors 50 for contributions to community

Fifty students, faculty, staff members and organizations were recognized for their accomplishments in 1993-94 at this year's awards convocation. (Major athletic awards presented at the convocation are included in the story on sports awards.)

Four students-David S. Cuthbert, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering from Newton, MA; Kristala L. Jones, a senior in chemical engineering from Longview, TX, and Anand Mehta of Cambridge and Mark Y.D. Wang of Norman, OK, both graduate students in physics-received the Karl Taylor Compton Prize, given to recognize outstanding contributions in promoting high standards of achievement and good citizenship within the MIT community. For the first time, an organization, The Tech, also received an award.

Mr. Cuthbert, a two-year member of the Graduate Student Council, did a survey on ways to improve Safe Ride and led an undergraduate class in creating a schedule for the service. He also started the grocery shuttle to LaVerde's supermarket, served as a summer tutor and helped create Safewalk. "Few at MIT have done as much to organize both graduate and undergraduate students in the development of programs for the betterment of the entire Institute community," said Arthur Smith, Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs.

Ms. Jones' student resume "reads like an R/O pamphlet of MIT activities," Dean Smith commented. She served on the IAP Policy Committee, the Black Student Union Task Force on Racial Enlightenment and the Committee on Academic Performance. She was also a seminar advisor, president of the National Society of Black Engineers, and a coordinator of "It's Intuitively Obvious," the video on black student life. "You remind us all of what MIT education is all about-education not just in the narrow technical sense, but education as it prepares students to become vibrant, active members of the many communities that will engage them," Dean Smith said.

Mr. Mehta was president of the GSC, a volunteer instructor, representative on the Faculty Policy Committee, chair of Student Activities Subcommittee, and a member of the Peer Advocates Against Harassment. "Your commitment to MIT life has been remarkable and your accomplishments deeply appreciated by the community," Dean Smith said. "Your energy, persistence, spirit and hard work have done much to make MIT a more humane and positive living environment."

To Mr. Wang, Dean Smith said that as a graduate resident tutor, "your contribution was particularly outstanding and far exceeded what was listed in the job description." Mr. Wang was the first editor of True Grit, the GRT newsletter; he also helped create Baker Life, a guide that was adapted by other living groups, and he worked in the Medical Department on various health-related programs and publications. "You have continuously reached out to support students in time of need," Dean Smith said.

The Tech was recognized for its efforts in keeping the MIT community informed since the paper was founded in 1881. The Tech's "significant and unique contribution to the MIT community has justly earned it the gratitude of the Institute and this special recognition," Dean Smith said.

The Gordon Y Billard Award, which recognizes those who have performed special service of outstanding merit for MIT, went to Doreen Morris, assistant provost for administration, and Episcopal chaplain, the Rev. Scott Paradise.

"The scope and level of her accomplishments more than match her energy. Doreen's special performance goes far beyond the generous work ethic to the heart of what the Billard award recognizes," President Charles M. Vest said. Her citation recognized her as "dedicated, conscientious and sensitive" in her current work and earlier as special assistant to the senior vice president and as the assistant dean of the School of Science. "Your efforts have contributed enormously to successfully recruiting and retaining the world's most outstanding faculty. Your efforts are conducted with integrity, respect and effectiveness; your contribution goes well beyond any reasonable interpretation of your job description."

President Vest paid tribute to the Rev. Paradise, retiring this year after 15 years at MIT, for his work in heading the Technology and Culture Seminar. "Under his leadership, the seminar has reflected both his insightful identification of issues and his passion for justice. he is an inspiring source of counsel and spiritual support to countless individuals in the MIT community."

Rev. Paradise's citation added, "you have thoughtfully and consistently helped the Institute to consider how technology and ethical concerns meet. When our busy lives threaten to make us forget the important in our need to deal with the urgent, your wise and compassionate counsel have been invaluable."

The James N. Murphy Award, presented to employees whose contributions to the Institute family have won a place in the hearts of students, were given to Gary J. King, administrative assistant in the Department of Economics; Frederick D. Wilson, research specialist in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Trond H. Kaalstad, senior administrative officer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Having served under five different department heads, Mr. Kaalstad has been "the constant rock at the heart of the department's operations for several generations," a faculty member wrote. Another said it was "not his prowess as an administrator and slayer of red tape-it is his loyalty, integrity, kindness and selfless giving that clinched the case" for deserving the award.

Of Mr. King, a senior faculty member wrote that he is "an extraordinary employee, unfailingly pleasant, totally knowledgeable about every aspect of the department's work, and much loved by faculty, staff, graduate students and undergraduates."

Mr. Wilson, who has worked in the department for 34 years, is "a devoted member of the MIT community," a senior faculty member wrote. "His popularity is a consequence of Fred's considerable expertise, but it is also strongly coupled to his personality, openness and always-supportive attitude."

The William L. Stewart, Jr. Awards for accomplishments in extracurricular activities went to Club Latino; Caryl B. Brown, a graduate student in management from St. Petersburg, FL; Hillary R. Hudis, a senior in environmental engineering science from Monterey, CA; Kenneth M. Porter, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from Brooklyn, NY; and Susan L. Ipri of Cambridge, a graduate student in mechanical engineering. "You've worked very hard to create a sense of community, but not just for the Latino/Latina community but for students of color on the MIT campus and MIT as a whole," presenter Susan Allen, assistant dean for undergraduate education and student affairs, told Club Latino members.

Among Ms. Hudis' extracurricular posts this year were treasurer of the African Students Association, member of the Women's Independent Living Group and chair of the MIT chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. "You have done much to contribute to the status of women at MIT," Ms. Allen said.

Ms. Ipri and Mr. Porter were recognized for their efforts in starting the Safewalk Program, "an excellent example of the ability of students to work together for the good of their community," Ms. Allen said.

Mr. Brown's activities included serving as president of the Graduate Student Council, in the MIT Concert Band, and on the MIT Corporation Joint Advisory Committee.

Elta Chian, a senior in chemical engineering from Atlanta, GA, was presented with the Laya Wiesner Award, given to a woman who has enhanced undergraduate life. "She is the epitome of what women should be at MIT. she leads by example, empowering others and always keeping their interests in mind," presenter Rebecca M. Vest said.

The Laya and Jerome B. Wiesner Awards went to Adrian P. Childs, a senior in mathematics from Cottage Grove, WI, and Frantz Elizondo Schmelkes, a senior in mechanical engineering and theater from Queretaro, Mexico. Mr. Childs held membership in three MIT orchestras as well as the Musical Theater Guild and Concert Choir. "It is hard to describe or even believe his versatility," Professor John Harbison wrote.

In addition to his commitment to the Latino community and to outreach in Boston schools, Mr. Schmelkes "demonstrated the collective power of theater as an instrument of social change and empowerment," senior lecturer Michael Ouellette wrote in nominating him for the award.

Barbara M. Nichols, a senior in materials science and engineering from Philadelphia, and Alejandro Padilla, a senior in mechanical engineering from Pacoima, CA, received the Albert G. Hill prize for minority students who have maintained high academic standards and contributed to the improvement of the quality of life for minorities at MIT. Both Mr. Padilla, who has worked with the admissions office to recruit minority students, and Ms. Nichols, who was an ECSEL tutor and member of the Black Students Union, "have given tirelessly to scores of individual students," said Judy Jackson, director of the Office of Minority Education.

Keith V. Bevans, a junior in electrical science and engineering from Cliffwood Beach, NJ; Patrice L. Washington, a junior in materials science and engineering from Chicago, and Maya A. Trotz, a senior in chemical engineering from Teaneck, NJ, won Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Awards, established by the Black Alumni/ae of MIT in memory of the Challenger Shuttle astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair (MIT PhD '77) to recognize black undergraduates who make contributions to the minority community.

Ms. Trotz organized a trip to Jamaica by 10 MIT students to meet with native artists, diplomats and students. As vice president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Ms. Washington organized programs for Roxbury youth and received the 1993 MIT Community Service Award. Mr. Bevans was president of the MIT chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Teams Project, a science enrichment program for black Cambridge eighth-graders.

Mariquita C. Gilfillan, a senior in economics from Princeton, NJ, and Prashant B. Doshi, a junior in chemical engineering from Edison, NJ, were recipients of the Frederick Gardiner Fassett, Jr. Award, which recognizes male and female members of the Interfraternity Council who demonstrate the qualities of spirit, dedication and service. Ms. Gilfillan was the Panhellenic president and helped revise its constitution. Mr. Doshi completed his second term as IFC president.

The James R. Killian, Jr. Community Service Award for the IFC organization with the most outstanding community service program went to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, which made more than 350 wooden toys for distribution to hospitalized needy children and played major roles in City Days, the TCA Blood Drive and the Walk for Hunger.

The IFC Alumni Relations Award was presented to the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, which hosted Alumni Weekend in April and had 12 of its members participate in the alumni-student telethon.

Jacob J. Seid, a sophomore in electrical science and engineering from Mission Viejo, CA, won the Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education. As a freshman he helped establish five minor programs in the School of Engineering.

Graduate Student Council Teaching Awards were presented to five faculty members. Assistant Professor Moungi G. Bawendi of chemistry, lecturer Fernando P. Domeyko of architecture and planning, Professor Charles F. Sabel of humanities, Professor Robert S. Pindyck of management, and Associate Professor John H. Leinhard of mechanical engineering.

This year for the first time, the GSC also recognized graduate student teaching assistants and instructors. Award recipients were Zuhair Kahn of management, Barbara A. Masi of science, technology and society, Judith B. Cardell of electrical engineering and computer science, and Matthew D. Trevithick of EECS.

Ying Ying Lee, administrative assistant in residence and campus activities, received the Edward L. Horton Fellowship Award, given by the GSC to a person or organization that fosters fellowship within the graduate student community. Ms. Lee "has done much over the years to provide support and leadership to countless projects and events, all of which brought graduate students together, promoted community and enhanced fellowship," Caryl Brown of the GSC said.

Alan V. Oppenheim, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Michael C. Mohr, senior lecturer in chemical engineering, received the Everett Moore Baker Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Professor Oppenheim was praised for his hard work and enthusiasm in putting together the new 6.011 course and for getting to know his students. Of Dr. Mohr, one nominating student wrote, "His classes have been a motivating force in my chemical engineering education."

The Association of MIT Alumnae Award, given to a senior woman who has demonstrated academic excellence in coursework and professional activities, was presented to Tracy E. Adams, a senior in electrical science and engineering from Hopkinton, MA. She maintained a top grade point average while developing materials and exercises for a course on semiconductors, lecturing a freshman seminar, participating in crew for all four years and serving in the Air Force ROTC.

The Goodwin Medal was awarded to John R. Buck of Somerville, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. It is given to a graduate student in recognition of conspicuously effective teaching. Frank E. Perkins, dean of the graduate school, noted that Mr. Buck was selected ahead of faculty members to be a lecturer for a core graduate subject. "He has established himself as a creative, empathetic, demanding and inspirational teacher, demonstrating unusual sensitivity to the needs of his students and a remarkable attention to preparation," Professor Perkins said.

Christopher A. Adler, a senior in mathematics and music from Falls Church, VA, was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, given to a senior who has demonstrated excellence in music, theater, painting, sculpture, design, architecture or film. Mr. Adler was called "one of the most musically gifted individuals I have ever encountered" by Assistant Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn. Although the music section rarely allows compositions as senior theses, Mr. Adler's was a song cycle for soprano and piano.

A version of this article appeared in the May 25, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 34).

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