Carnegie Mellon University

Pictured above (L-R): Emma Livne, Nivedita Chopra, Mary Suresh, Ellie Hopen, Katy McKeough

2014-2015 Award Winners

Penelope (Ellie) Hopen
Bachelor of Architecture


Presenter: Mary-Lou Arscott
Associate Head, School of Architecture

Ellie will complete her five-year program in the School of Architecture graduating in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Architecture.  Building upon her first three years of studio, Ellie's work on designs for a hotel extension to the Saarinen terminal at JFK under the direction of Professor Hal Hayes were both distinguished and innovative. Ellie qualified for the 4th year design awards with overall and design QPA's above 3.00. She was the co-winner of the Valentour Traveling Scholarship. She used the funds to travel around Europe and the Middle East during her Study Abroad semester at Denmark International Studies in Copenhagen, DK. By participating in the 4th year design awards program, she will be receiving College Honors at graduation.

Kathryn (Katy) McKeough
B.S. Physics with an Additional Major in Statistics


Presenter: Peter Freeman
Research Associate, Statistics

“Our loss is Harvard’s gain,” stated Peter Freeman, CMU astrostatistician as he presented Katy McKeough as a CMWA award winner.  Freeman continued, “Katy came to the Statistics department looking for research in the Fall semester of her sophomore year, after being the only freshman in our "Introduction of Statistical Inference" course...and finishing that course with one of the highest grades. Over the last three years, she has worked on a variety of astrostatistical projects here at CMU, from creating statistics to detect merging galaxies to characterizing the clustering of quasars, and she has worked for two summers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Her greatest satisfaction comes from presenting her results to the scientific community, and to that end she has presented posters at CMU's  Meeting of the Minds as well as at national meetings of the American Astronomical Society and the American Geophysical Union. Katy has been a dogged researcher, and she is more than ready for the challenge that Harvard will provide.”

Nivedita Chopra
B.S. Computer Science, Minor in Economics


Presenter: Tom Cortina
Assistant Dean, School of Computer Science

Nivedita Chopra graduates in 2015 with University Honors and College Honors from the School of Computer Science with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor in Economics.  She has accepted a position as a Software Engineer with Facebook upon her graduation from CMU.  Although Nivedita has considerable depth in the field of computer science it is her dedication to improving people’s lives through her technical knowledge that makes her unique.  In a course entitled, Software Development for Social Good, Nivedita developed a computer game called, JUMP! which was designed to enhance English literacy skills among children and adults with a focus on migrant workers in Doha, Qatar.  She also developed a system to identify typical computer bugs new computer science students encounter in early computer science students and proposed and tested teaching methods to eliminate these bugs, which were detailed in her senior thesis, “Nipping Bugs in the Bud – Student Mistakes in Introductory Computer Science Classes.”

Emma Livne
B.A Global Studies, Pre-Med

Presenter: Emily Half
Academic Program Manager, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences


Emma will graduate in May 2015 with a degree in Global Studies, while also pursuing a pre-medical curriculum, with plans to attend medical school.  Emma serves as one of Dietrich College’s 2014-2015 Andrew Carnegie Society Scholars.  She has excelled academically, is one of the top students in the History Department, while also taking on an astounding amount of responsibility in and beyond the Carnegie Mellon campus.

During her years at Carnegie Mellon — interrupted by a life-threatening illness — Emma not only pursued her interests in health, medicine, and Global Studies, but she also emerged as a campus leader committed to community-building.  Emma’s experiences both inside and outside of the classroom reflect remarkable diversity and rigor.  She has completed courses in science, anthropology, and history while preparing for a career in medicine and public health. She also learned about how to serve diverse populations of the world, including India (where she studied in fall 2014), Latin America (where she volunteered in the Dominican Republic to teach English to young orphans during spring break 2011), and the Middle East (where she spent the summer of 2013 in Israel). 

The number of non-academic pursuits is outstanding.  They include service as a Carnegie Mellon resident assistant for a first-year women’s floor,  leading a campus community service committee, Relay for Life Team Captain, campus host of a Red Cross Blood Drive, chair of food collection drives, preceptor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center , service as President of the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Project Sunshine (a nonprofit organization that provides free educational, recreational, and social programs to children and families living with medical challenges), service in the Carnegie Mellon student government advisory cabinet, volunteering with Prevention Point Pittsburgh  (a local needle exchange site), and member of the women’s club ultimate frisbee team.    What pulls together her wide-ranging co-curricular activities are a passion to build community by reaching out to peers and many others, including hospitalized children.