The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Graduate Student Honors & Awards

2019 Dissertation Award




Dr. Sualyneth Galarza received her PhD from UMass in 2019, after working in Prof. Shelly Peyton’s lab. She is currently an Applications Engineer at MilliporeSigma in the Single Use and Integrated Systems Division, and is one of two recipients of the Department’s inaugural (for year 2019) Ph.D. Best Dissertation Award. Her thesis work at UMass resulted in the development of a novel hydrogel that mimics the physical and chemical properties of human brain tissue. She used this brain-mimicking hydrogel to study how a specific brain cell (astrocytes) becomes “activated” during brain diseases. This is the first hydrogel of its kind, and her work launched a totally new research area for Prof. Peyton’s group. Sualyneth Galarza’s dissertation was entitled, “Dynamic activation of primary astrocytes in a Human Brain Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel.” The award consists of a commemorative plaque, an honorarium, and an invitation to give a Chemical Engineering Departmental Seminar within two years of the award announcement.

Ashish Kumar



Dr. Ashish Kumar, a recent Ph.D. graduate of Prof. Maroudas’ group and alumnus of the Department (Ph.D., 2019) is one of two recipients of the Department's inaugural (for year 2019) Ph.D. Dissertation Award. Ashish’s dissertation was entitled “Modeling and Simulation of Driven Nanopatterning of Bulk-Material and Thin-Film Surfaces” and his research focused on predicting nanostructure patterns forming on surfaces of bulk metallic conductors and of thin coherently strained semiconductor thin films deposited epitaxially on semiconductor substrates; in the case of bulk metal surfaces, the nanostructure patterns consisted of ar-rays of single-layer nanowires or nanoscale island arrangements driven by applied electric fields, while, in the case of epitaxial thin films, the patterns were driven by strain due to lattice mismatch between the film and substrate materials and comprised ordered arrays of quantum dots and quantum dot clusters. After graduation, Ashish joined Intel’s Technology Division as a CAD Engineer for Logic Technology Development. The award consists of a commemorative plaque, an honorarium, and an invitation to give a Chemical Engineering Departmental Seminar within two years of the award announcement.


College of Engineering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize and reward a member of the College community for contributions to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) of the engineering profession both within and outside of the university.

Sanket Sabnis 2020



NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

Stephanie Call 2020 - 2022
Rebecca Huber 2020 - 2022



James M. Douglas Fellowship Award

The Douglas Fellowship was created in honor of the late Professor James Douglas with an anonymous gift made in recognition of his outstanding reputation for mentoring undergraduate students. The fellowship honors his legacy and supports innovative mentoring and teaching of undergraduate students by graduate students.

Ayushi Patel Spring 2021

Min Zeng

Spring 2021
Kelsi Skeens Rehmann      Spring 2019   
Whitney Blocher McTigue Fall 2018
Abhinav Sharma Fall 2018



Tilwick and Eldridge Awards

Haley Keister 2019 - 2020 For her excellence as a TA
Ajibola Lawal 2019 - 2020 For his excellence as a TA
Juili Parab 2019 - 2020 For her excellence as a TA
Kelsi Skeens Rehmann 2019 - 2020 For her excellence as a TA
Shane Taylor 2019-2020 For his G.R.A.S.S. presentation
  Shoshie Bloom  Spring 2019  For her excellence as a TA
Xiangani Li Spring 2019 For his excellence as a TA
Brandon Dunham


Spring 2019

For his excellence as a TA

For his G.R.A.S.S. presentation

Whitney Blocher McTigue

Spring 2019

For her G.R.A.S.S. presentation
Irene Kurtz Fall 2018 For her performance as a TA
Yuxi Wang Fall 2019 For her performance as a TA



CBI Fellowship

Brandon Barajas 2020 - 2022
Adrian Lorenzara 2020 - 2022
Weiyue Xin Fall 2020 & Spring 2020
Sarthak Saha Spring 2020
Carey Dougan   

 Spring 2020 & Spring 2019 


Spaulding Smith Fellows

Adrian Lorenzana


Brandon Barajas

2019 - 2020 
Emily Diep 2018 - 2019
Carey Dougan 2018 - 2019
Guinevere Tillinghast 2018 - 2019


PPG Award

Sarthak Saha 2019-2020  
Whitney Blocher 
Spring 2019 

Whitney won the PPG Fellowship with her proposal " Motivation: Stabilizing vaccines and therapeutics outside the cold chain". The PPG Fellowship awards $16,500 towards her stipend.



Connor Giles Fall 2020

Matthew Lebovich

Spring 2019 - Spring 2020
Aritra Nath Kundu Spring 2019




Emily Diep Fall 2020 - Summer 2021

Guinevere Tillinghast

Fall 2020
Anthony Brouillard Fall 2019 to Summer 2020
Oscar Zabala Ferrera  



Dean's Fellows 


Connor Giles, Lars Howell, Isaac Ogabiela 



Inha Baek, Stephanie Call, Han Chen, Ajibola Lawal, Shubham Malviya, 
Prerana Rathore and Sarthak Saha


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