Two Eberly alumni receive 2019 Penn State Alumni Achievement Award

March 20, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two graduates of the Eberly College of Science, Daniel Kapinos, 2008, and Laura M. K. Dassama, 2013g, have been selected as recipients of the Penn State Alumni Association's 2019 Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes outstanding career accomplishments of prominent alumni age 35 and younger. Kapinos was nominated for the award by the Eberly College of Science and Dassama was nominated by The Graduate School.

The Alumni Achievement Award began in 2005 and has since honored 155 outstanding alumni, including this year's class. Recipients are nominated by an academic college or campus and invited by the president of the University to return to Penn State to share their expertise with students and the University community. Honorees demonstrate to students that Penn State alumni succeed in exceptional fashion at an early age.

Daniel Kapinos

Dan Kapinos headshot

Daniel Kapinos '08 has been selected as a recipient of the Penn State Alumni Association's 2019 Alumni Achievement Award. 

IMAGE: Penn State

At age 33, Kapinos became the youngest partner at Aon, a $35 billion global professional services firm. He currently serves as the east coast practice leader for Aon’s Equity Services Team, which helps companies pay employees with stock. Specifically, Kapinos provides deep technical expertise on legal, regulatory, accounting, and tax frameworks to top-tier companies, like Adobe, Hilton and PepsiCo, covering a wide variety of approaches companies use with employee equity.

Kapinos first started as an analyst in 2008 and now, after almost 11 years, oversees a consulting book of business of approximately $7 million, with a staff of 25 consultants. In 2012, he took over the leadership of Aon’s PeerTracker application, which he has since grown into a $3.5 million business.

In 2008, Kapinos graduated from Penn State with a degree in statistics. In 2009, he obtained the Certified Equity Professional (CEP) designation through Santa Clara University, and in 2018, the Certified Executive Compensation Professional (CECP) designation through World@Work. Kapinos is a renowned speaker on equity compensation topics. He has also held many industry positions, including president of the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals’ (NASPP) Philadelphia Chapter, member of the CEP Institute’s Curriculum Committee, and member of the NASPP’s Executive Advisory Committee.

In 2010, Kapinos and his wife, Megan ’08, established the For The Glory Scholarship in the Penn State Eberly College of Science. From 2012 to 2018, Kapinos also served on the alumni board of directors for the Eberly College of Science. In 2015, he received the Joan M. McLane Recent Alumnus Award from the Penn State Alumni Association for exemplary volunteer service.

Laura M.K. Dassama

Dassama headshot

Laura M. K. Dassama ‘13g has been selected as a recipient of the Penn State Alumni Association's 2019 Alumni Achievement Award.

IMAGE: Penn State

Dassama is an assistant professor of chemistry at Stanford University and an Institute Scholar with Stanford ChEM-H (Chemistry, Engineering & Medicine for Human Health), an interdisciplinary research center that brings together faculty members from diverse backgrounds to understand life at a molecular level and apply that knowledge to improving human health. Faculty associated with the center are exploring and advancing new chemical frontiers in a wide array of fields, from the life sciences to medicine.

Research in Dassama’s laboratory is positioned at the interface of chemistry and biology, applying tools of chemistry to investigate biological phenomena. The research is specifically directed at understanding and mitigating bacterial multidrug resistance, with interest areas that include elucidating the biosynthetic and transport mechanisms of biologically active natural products. These natural products are chemical compounds manufactured by living organisms that are often used as antimicrobial or anticancer drugs.

Prior to her faculty appointment at Stanford, Dassama was a visiting scholar in hematology at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Previously, she trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University, where she conducted research that utilized biophysical and structural approaches to understand how certain bacteria cells traffic natural products. Dassama’s research program at Stanford focuses on the synthesis and transport of these kinds of natural products.

Dassama is a recipient of Stanford’s Terman and Gabilan Junior Faculty fellowships. Previously, she was awarded the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Diversity in Science Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Grant (2015-18), National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2014-17), Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award (2013), and Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Scholarship (2009-13).

Last Updated December 11, 2019