Women in Engineering Program honors outstanding students

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Women in Engineering Program (WEP) has announced the recipients of its annual awards. The students were honored during a special ceremony April 10 at the Nittany Lion Inn on the University Park campus.

“The Women in Engineering Program is delighted to recognize the contributions of these dynamic undergraduate engineering students who serve as change agents eager to champion the success of their peers, and enthusiastically attract girls to engineering, through extraordinary leadership, selfless service and dedicated citizenship,” said Cheryl Knobloch, director of the Women in Engineering Program.

Cayla Castells, a mechanical engineering junior, received the Joelle Award. The award is endowed by Edward and Jane Liszka in honor of Jane’s parents, Joseph and Eleanor Munafo. It recognizes an upper-level woman engineering student who has an outstanding record of leadership, service and citizenship that positively affect the climate for women in the College of Engineering and/or at the University.

Joelle Award first runners-up are Nicole Gallegor, a senior in mechanical engineering, and Avery Sonali Varhade, a senior in computer science.

Sarah Markel, a fourth-year chemical engineering student, and Melissa Shallcross, a mechanical engineering senior and Schreyer Scholar, were selected as recipients of the Nadine Barrie Smith Mentor Award, endowed by Andrew Webb in honor of his wife, former bioengineering faculty member Nadine Barrie Smith. The award recognizes outstanding undergraduate engineering women who, like Smith, devoted significant time and resources to mentoring other female students in their quests to become better students, people and engineers.

Erica Murphy, electrical engineering sophomore and Schreyer Scholar, and Alana Sexsmith, a junior in biomedical engineering, were honored with the WEP Outstanding Facilitator Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of WEP academic facilitators who go above and beyond to engage their group members in meaningful enrichment to ensure success in each course.

The Women in Engineering Program's mission is to recruit women into engineering; retain undergraduate women engineering students and facilitate academic success; catalyze career development of women engineers through advocacy and action; and actively promote an equitable and productive academic environment in the College of Engineering.

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Last Updated April 28, 2017