Vanessa Schweizer, a Ph.D. student in engineering and public policy, was selected to receive Carnegie Mellon's 2008 Graduate Student Service Award.
"Rarely does a graduate student assume a central role as an intellectual leader in organizing a successful campus even as part of a national movement," said Indira Nair, vice provost for education at Carnegie Mellon and one of the two nominators. "Yet, it is in such instances that the graduate student can really set an example for all students."
Schweizer did just that, serving as primary organizer of a recent national educational and community initiative called "Focus the Nation." For the day-long event, Schweizer brought together campus and community groups for panels, projects and meetings centered on the topic of global warming solutions for the United States.
According to Suzie Laurich-McIntyre, assistant vice provost for graduate education, the events were all well attended.
Schweizer is active in Carnegie Mellon's Department of Engineering and Public Policy; has worked on diversity-related issues with the university's Office of Graduate Education; and was a recipient of the Clare Booth Luce Fellowship for her first two years in Carnegie Mellon's Ph.D. program.
"She is undoubtedly a rising star," said Laurich-McIntyre. Schweizer's win also marked the first time one individual received two nominations.
Selected to receive an Honorable Mention Award are the founding members of Carnegie Mellon's Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society (GBMES). They are Sanna Gaspard, Amina Chebira, Rowena Mittal and Elvira Garcia-Osuna.
"These four talented students formed a cohesive, synergistic team that shaped how our department looks and operates today," said Todd Przybycien, professor and head of biomedical engineering.
Nominations for the award recognize grad students who have contributed in bettering student life on campus or worked on similar local issues.
The Graduate Student Service and Teaching awards will be presented by Provost Mark Kamlet during "Innovation with Impact," which is a university-wide graduate student project and research poster session being held from 3-6 p.m on Friday, April 4 in Wiegand Gym. All university members are invited to attend the poster session, awards ceremony and reception.