Rising to the Challenge: Students

Senior chemical engineering student Derek Chhiv, right, discusses with Professor Anson Ma his group's prototype for an artificial kidney. The prototype was generated through 3-D printing. (Al Ferreira for UConn)
Senior chemical engineering student Derek Chhiv, right, discusses with Professor Anson Ma his group's prototype for an artificial kidney. The prototype was generated through 3-D printing. (Al Ferreira for UConn)

As the year 2014 winds down, UConn Today takes a look at some highlights of the past 12 months. A series of posts leading up to the new year will feature different aspects of University life. Today, a look at students.

UConn students rose to the challenge in 2014, excelling in academics, research, innovation, creative performance, and real world experience.

The Winter Olympics in February saw journalism major Gabrielle Levesque ’14 (CLAS) in Sochi, Russia, with an NBC team covering the games. Meanwhile on campus, spoken word poet Shantel Honeyghan ’15 (CLAS) challenged audiences to find their voice, through her powerful performances of her creative composition ‘Speak.’

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Journalism major Gabrielle Levesque ’14 (CLAS) spent the Winter Olympics in Sochi as an intern with NBC.
Spoken word artist Shantel Honeyghan performs 'Speak.' (Bret Eckhardt/UConn Photo)
Spoken word artist Shantel Honeyghan ’15 (CLAS) performs ‘Speak.’ (Bret Eckhardt/UConn Photo)
Senior chemical engineering student Derek Chhiv, right, discusses with Professor Anson Ma his group's prototype for an artificial kidney. The prototype was generated through 3-D printing. (Al Ferreira for UConn)
Derek Chhiv ’14 (ENG), right, discusses with Professor Anson Ma his group’s prototype for an artificial kidney generated through 3-D printing. (Al Ferreira for UConn)

Innovation was the order of the day for a senior design project undertaken by two teams of engineering students who used 3-D printing to create an artificial kidney. Another engineering student, Rosse Gates ’16, built an autonomous quadcopter that could survey disaster areas. Gates is one of a select group of students who received a UConn IDEA grant to support the development of the novel project. Another UConn grant program, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) awards, enabled rising senior Emily McInerney ’15 (CAHNR) to conduct research  on wetlands as producers of greenhouse gases.

Rosse Gates '16 (ENG) with a quadcopter he built, supported by an IDEA Grant. (Christopher LaRosa/UConn Photo)
Rosse Gates ’16 (ENG) and the autonomously controlled quadcopter he built with support from a UConn IDEA Grant. (Christopher LaRosa/UConn Photo)
Emily McInerney '15 (CAHNR) takes air samples from wetland plots near the Kellogg Dairy Center on June 24, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Emily McInerney ’15 (CAHNR) takes air samples from wetland plots near the Kellogg Dairy Center on June 24, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

The year also saw a growing number of UConn students garnering top national academic honors. In the spring, three UConn students in the sciences and engineering were named Goldwater Scholars; three graduate students earned National Science Foundation fellowships for their research; and political science major Molly Rockett ’15 (CLAS) was awarded a prestigious Truman Scholarship for her public service work. Four students received Fulbright awards for overseas study; two won Critical Language Scholarships sponsored by the State Department; and Ari Fischer ’15 (ENG) received a Udall Scholarship for his environmental work. As the year was drawing to a close, individualized major Julianne Norton ’16 (CLAS) won a Mitchell Scholarship in recognition of her leadership potential. As a Mitchell Scholar, Norton will pursue graduate study in Ireland next year, after earning her degree from UConn.

Political science major Molly Rockett '15 (CLAS) has been awarded the Truman Scholarship for students who are dedicated to a career in public service. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Molly Rockett ’15 (CLAS) was awarded the Truman Scholarship for students who are dedicated to a career in public service. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Ari Fischer '15 (ENG) a Udall Scholarship winner, in the lab at the UConn Center for Clean Energy Engineering on April 8, 2014. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Ari Fischer ’15 (ENG), a Udall Scholarship winner, in the lab at the UConn Center for Clean Energy Engineering. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn’s Husky student-athletes had a banner year, leading the pack in three sports – Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Field Hockey – as 2014 NCAA Division I champions. President Obama applauded the basketball teams during their visit to the White House in June for accomplishing what no other school has done – winning both NCAA Championships in the same year, for the second time. In November, the men’s ice hockey team earned their first-ever Hockey East win, defeating nationally ranked Boston College in front of a sellout crowd at the XL Center.

NCAA 2014 championship trophies for women's basketball, field hockey, and men's basketball. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
NCAA 2014 championship trophies for women’s basketball, field hockey, and men’s basketball. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
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The UConn men’s hockey team earned their first Hockey East win Nov. 6, beating the no. 3 Boston College Eagles in their home opener.