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Awards Convocation recognizes achievements

Editor's note: Presentations at the Awards Convocation for sports, teaching, Interfraternity Council and arts achievement are covered in separate stories in this issue of Tech Talk.

Fifty MIT students, faculty, staff members and organizations were honored for their 1994-95 achievements at the Awards Convocation held last month.

The Karl Taylor Compton Prize, presented to students "in recognition of outstanding contributions in promoting high standards of achievement and good citizenship within the MIT community," went to Susan L. Ipri of Cambridge, a graduate student in mechanical engineering; Prashant B. Doshi, a senior in chemical engineering from Edison, NJ; and Joseph J. Bambenek, a graduate student in nuclear engineering from Hastings, MN.

Ms. Ipri was lauded for co-founding SafeWalk and the Harassment Advisory Resource Group, mentoring middle-school girls, and for her work with the Tech Catholic Community and the Graduate Student Council. Her contributions to the Institute have demonstrated "brilliantly creative leadership. in all her work, she shows readiness to give and give to something she believes in, always improving life for others at MIT," said Arthur C. Smith, dean for undergraduate education and student affairs. Mr. Doshi has been president of the Interfraternity Council for two years and has done tutoring and other volunteer work in Cambridge. "He brought energy, class and solid achievement to the 39 fraternities, sororities and independent living groups," Dean Smith said. Mr. Bambenek brought "thoughtful insight and effectiveness as a liaison between students and the administration" to his work on the GSC, which included serving as co-chair of the Orientation Committee and the Housing and Community Affairs Committee.

The William L. Stewart, Jr. Awards are given to students in recognition of outstanding contributions to extracurricular activities and events. The 1995 recipients were Lizette Arce, a senior in chemical engineering from Brownsville, TX; Raajnish A. Chitaley, a senior in economics from Acton, MA; Jeff O. Gonzales, a senior in biology from Miami, FL; Matton Kamon, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science from Cambridge; Teresa W. Lau, a senior in physics with electrical engineering from Potomac, MD; Deidre M. Lawrence, a graduate student in toxicology from Cambridge; Steven A. Luperchio, a senior in biology from Naugatuck, CT; the Asian American Caucus, and the Harassment Advisory Resource Group (HARG). Susan Allen, assistant dean for undergraduate education and student affairs, made the presentations.

Ms. Arce was honored for her work in instituting the Leadership Program, "taking your vision of this extraordinary program to allow faculty, students and administrators to enjoy the outstanding experience of learning new leadership skills." For the last four years, Ms. Allen said, Mr. Chitaley has been "both a visionary and energetic leader," particularly in his efforts to save UROP. Mr. Gonzalez "has proven himself to be a true leader in the MIT community as a whole and the Latino community in particular" with his involvement in several Latino organizations. Mr. Kamon was cited for his "efforts in the development and implementation of two programs that have helped the day-to-day lives of graduate students," the T pass program and Residential Network.

Ms. Lau is "an amazing individual. who worked hard to initiate positive social change" through GAMIT, Minority R/O, the Asian American Caucus and other organizations, Ms. Allen said. Ms. Lawrence was recognized for co-chairing the Black Graduate Students Association, co-founding Creations in Color and teaching Effective Listening Skills. Mr. Luperchio was cited for his accomplishment in "improving the quality of life in his dormitory which went above and beyond his responsibilities of his dorm president position" at Burton-Conner. The training program and video produced by HARG was also singled out for praise, as were the efforts of the Asian American Caucus, which "fills an important, even essential gap in information and educational services," Ms. Allen said.

Two Gordon Y Billard Awards were handed out, one to Professor of Architecture William Porter and his wife Lynn, and the other to Harold "Hatch" Brown. The award is given to faculty members or employees for special service of outstanding merit performed for the Institute.

The Porters were housemasters of Burton-Conner, where students who nominated them for the award called them "familiar friends" who increased the sense of community at the dormitory. A fellow housemaster wrote that the Porters "served the larger educational nation of MIT by fostering a vision of the academy in which what one does in the classroom and the living group are part of a seamless web." Professor Brown is MIT's sailing coach. His work over the years has also included outreach programs for children and hosting intercollegiate regattas. His award citation read by President Charles M. Vest said in part, "In the Sailing Pavilion you have created a place that is sunnier, calmer and more cheerful than the harried world existence above."

The James N. Murphy Award, given in recognition of an employee's assistance to students, was presented to Joseph M. Dhosi, senior administrative officer for 19 years in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Leslie Regan, administrative assistant in the graduate office of the Department of Mechanical Engineering since 1986. Mr. Dhosi "is more than an administrative officer; he's someone who helps hold the spirit of the staff together," a colleague wrote. Ms. Regan's individual attention to students prompted a nominating petition lauding "her support and encouragement that exemplify the spirit of the Murphy Award."

The Laya W. Wiesner Award, established by the MIT Women's League to honor the undergraduate woman who has most enhanced MIT community life, went to Maribel Lee Delfaus, a senior in nuclear engineering from Guaynabo, PR. She has been described as "multitalented, highly esteemed, well-liked, dynamic, a sensitive leader and a tireless worker," said Mrs. Rebecca M. Vest in citing Ms. Delfaus's work in organizing the East Coast Latinas Conference and reviving Mujeras Latinas at MIT.

The Albert G. Hill Prize was awarded to Keith V. Bevans, a senior in electrical science and engineering from Cliffwood Beach, NJ, and Steven T. York, a junior in chemical engineering from Chickasha, OK. The prize is given to minority juniors and seniors who have maintained high academic standards and improved the quality of life at MIT for minority students. As president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and member of the native American Student Association, Mr. York's "tenacity in thinking through approaches, completing tasks and being available to others has been invaluable," said Leo Osgood, director of the Office of Minority Education. Mr. Bevans was a student member of the search committee for a new dean of undergraduate education and student affairs. Quoting Paul Gray, chairman of the Corporation, Mr. Osgood cited his "energy and intellect, his extraordinary creativity and motivation to service."

Nika Carlene Lee, a senior in urban studies and planning from Columbus, OH, won the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Award. She founded the MIT Initiative for the Homeless in 1993 and organized an annual community fair in which families with little or no income can participate. "I believe inclusive fun and games should be a clear indication of a healthy community," she wrote. The scholarship was established by the Black Alumni/ae of MIT in honor of Dr. McNair (PhD 1977), who was killed in the Challenger explosion.

The Irwin Sizer Award for the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education went to Shane B. Crotty, a junior in biology from Lexington Park, MD, and Shigeru Miyagawa, professor of linguistics and Japanese. Mr. Crotty reorganized Introduction to Molecular Biology in the Experimental Studies Group (ESG), rewriting experiments and creating a hypertext textbook on the World Wide Web. Professor Miyagawa created the Japanese Language and Culture Program, which includes an on-line information service and an interactive CD-ROM teaching system called Tanabata: the Star Festival.

Sangam, the Indian Students' Association at MIT, was presented with the Edward L. Horton Fellowship Award, given to any student or group that fosters fellowship within the graduate student body. Sangam won accolades for organizing several concerts, a relief drive for victims of an Indian earthquake, informational forums and workshops for immigrants.

The Association of MIT Alumnae Award, given to the woman who demonstrates academic excellence in her coursework and other professional activities, went to Christina A. Onufryk, a senior in biology from Flanders, NJ. Ms. Onufryk maintained a 5.0 grade point average while teaching in ESG and doing several UROP projects, some of which have resulted in published papers. "She showed herself to be extremely bright, mastering complex techniques almost instantaneously," one of her professors wrote.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 7, 1995.

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