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The recipients of the department Graduate Student Service Awards for the 2022-2023 academic year have been selected and we are pleased to announce that five students will be awarded for their contributions. Selected students receive a $2,500 stipend that comes from the College of Engineering, as well as the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Please join us in congratulating the following awardees:

Kyla Bosh and Aubrey Gray have served the department as social co-chairs and currently as co-presidents. As social co-chairs, they re-initiated social gatherings in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill to get others in the department to meet one another after the pandemic made graduate students very isolated. As GSA co-presidents, they have worked with faculty to revamp how graduate student recruitment is done to help ensure we remain a top graduate program and led orientation events for new graduate students. Together, they help to maintain a vital line of communication between graduate students and departmental administration.

Ricky Pimentel serves as cofounder, VP, and events coordinator for a STEM interest group, Latinx in Biomechanix (LiB). LiB’s mission is to increase the representation of Latinx individuals in the fields of biomechanics and movement science. In 2022, Ricky organized numerous social & networking events, wrote a successful grant, organized a retreat, and established LiB’s federal non-profit status. Ricky also served as a volunteer and board member with a local bicycle non-profit, the ReCyclery. He instructed community members in bicycle repair, incorporating mechanical concepts like moment arms, joint statics/dynamics, and friction into the learning experience. He refurbished hundreds of bicycles for members in our community at no/low cost, trained dozens of volunteers, and raised >$20,000 for the ReCyclery over the past 3 years.

Keerthi Anand has devoted countless hours to his passion for STEM outreach. He visits underserved schools in NC to lead interactive lessons on applications of sound, and mentors students to pursue STEM careers. He also creates displays using his unique knowledge of ultrasound engineering and physics. For example, his creation of an acoustic levitator (which he has featured in a series of Youtube and TikTok videos (here and here). These efforts earned him first place in the “Best All Around” category and the “Entrepreneurial Mindset” award category at UNC’s first BeAM Makerfest, an event that showcased student innovations to motivate and inspired the next generation of engineers and physicists. Further, Keerthi transformed his design into a small, low-cost version that he built in bulk to give to students to take home.

Aryssa Simpson has served as BME senator within the UNC Graduate and Professional Student Government. She is also active within the BME GSA, where she was the 2021-2022 Vice President and 2022-2023 Science Outreach Chair. In Summer 2022, she acted as camp lead for the BME Residential Summer Program. Aryssa successfully secured corporate sponsorship and raised $6,250 to fund 5 high school students underrepresented in STEM. Aryssa will be representing NC State within the AGEP-NC Student Leadership Council. Finally, as a student who was recruited into the department at the 2019 ABRCMS conference, this year she acted as a representative for the department at this meeting.

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