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University of Iowa News Release

July 1, 2004

EDITORS: This release includes information about an academic honor for a student in your readership area.

College Of Engineering Names Departmental Senior Award Winners

(Student name) of (hometown), a 2004 University of Iowa College of Engineering graduate, received the Outstanding Senior of the Year Award in the Department of (discipline name) from the department and the Iowa Beta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi.

The awards were given "in recognition of exhibiting exemplary character, leadership, and scholastic achievement while a student at the University of Iowa."

A national engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi strives to recognize engineering students possessing superior scholarship and outstanding character, as well as engineers of eminent achievement. The UI chapter was founded in 1885.

EDITOR: Scholarship winners are listed alphabetically by hometown.


BETTENDORF: Chet Vignes, Mechanical Engineering. While a UI student, Vignes, a Bettendorf High School graduate, worked for the City of Bettendorf, City Engineering and participated for two years in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates. He spent the first NSF year at the Center for Computer Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology, and the second at the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research. This summer he will work for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. He plans to attend graduate school to study computation solid mechanics at the University of California at Berkeley.

CEDAR FALLS: Chiraag Dharia, Biomedical Engineering. A Cedar Falls High School graduate, he conducted volunteer research with Madhavan Raghavan, UI assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and participated in the biomedical optics summer institute. While at the UI, he participated in numerous activities including tutoring, Engineering Connections mentor program and UI Dance Marathon (three years). His involvement with Medicus and his volunteer experience at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics helped him decide on a career in medicine.

CEDAR FALLS: Chris Weber, civil and environmental engineering. A graduate of Waterloo Columbus High School, his numerous activities included undergraduate research assistant; co-founder of Engineers for a Sustainable Future; vice president, Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society; and co-president, UI Environmental Coalition. He plans to conduct graduate study in environmental engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and eventually work as an environmental policy analyst.

CEDAR RAPIDS: Brandon Fitz, Electrical and Computer Engineering. A graduate of Kennedy High School, his numerous extracurricular activities included serving as president of Interfraternity Council and Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and as a UISG Senator. He was a volunteer coach for the Iowa City Kickers Youth Soccer League and a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Iowa City Hoover Elementary School Carnival. A College of Engineering student ambassador, he plans to attend the UI College of Law.

DUBUQUE: Aaron Bock, Industrial Engineering. A Dubuque Hempsted High School graduate, Bock minored in psychology. His involvement with the college and the UI includes: president of Alpha Pi Mu, the Industrial Engineering Honor Society; chair of the social and philanthropy committee, Tau Beta Pi; and disc jockey, KRUI radio. Also: undergraduate researcher, chosen to participate in the Undergraduate Scholarly Apprenticeship program; student ambassador, College of Engineering, 2002-04; teaching assistant for Quality Control course, Spring 2004; counselor/instructor for the College of Engineering ACE summer camp, 2002 & 2003; and mentor, Engineering Connection. His numerous volunteer activities include UI Dance Marathon, UI Safewalk and the Johnson County Crisis Center. He plans to pursue a master's degree in industrial engineering at the UI.

JEFFERSON: Tracy Irwin, Chemical Engineering. A graduate of Jefferson-Scranton High School, she has been chapter activities coordinator and president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). She was also a member of Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honors Society, a teaching assistant for the Chemical Process Safety course and a writing consultant for the Hanson Center for Technical Communication. Tracey also organized and participated in volunteer events with the Iowa City Seniors Center and volunteered as a ŒCat Socializer‚ at the Iowa City Animal Shelter. During summer 2003, she interned with Monsanto in Muscatine, Iowa, and conducted photopolymerization research for Alec Scranton, UI professor of chemical and biochemical engineering. She plans to earn a doctorate in pharmacy degree from the UI.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,