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College honors four with Outstanding Senior Awards

Four winners pose for picture, three in person, one on-screen.
Winners of the 2022 College of Engineering Outstanding Senior Awards are shown from left: Daniel Haller, Jack Martinez and Emory Paige New. Winner Ryan Catalfu attended the awards ceremony virtually and is shown on screen.

Four seniors in the College of Engineering received 2022 Outstanding Senior Awards for their exceptional contributions to NC State and beyond in Citizenship and Service, Humanities, Leadership and Scholarly Achievement.

Seniors are nominated by their respective academic departments in the College of Engineering, and winners are chosen by a selection committee made up of faculty and staff members in the College. Winners received their awards during a special ceremony held at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library on NC State’s Centennial Campus on April 26.

Senior Award for Citizenship and Service

Ryan Catalfu

Ryan Catalfu is an outstanding senior who graduated in December 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and minors in both environmental science and graphic communications. Upon graduation, Catalfu ranked number one among all undergraduates at NC State in GPA. After internships working on software at SAS and Microsoft as a student, Catalfu has accepted a software engineering position with Microsoft.

During his time on campus, Catalfu has been very active as a volunteer with a number of student and professional organizations, including the STARS STEM outreach program, the NC State Engineering Career Fair and E Council. Ryan has been a Department of Computer Science Ambassador, a Certaport Inaugural Student Ambassador and a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassador.

Catalfu has been an active volunteer in the STARS program, working with K-12 students during camps and workshops to spread his love to computing to young people from a broad array of backgrounds, and traveling to national conferences to bring new ideas back to NC State.

During the COVID-19 pandemic that forced many K-12 students to learn online rather than in-person in the classroom, Catalfu developed a website to provide parents with STEM resources that could help keep their children engaged with learning, even during a very difficult time.

“Ryan is not just motivated to see himself succeed, but also cares deeply for the success of others,” said a faculty member in the Graphic Communication program.

Senior Award for Scholarly Achievement

Daniel Haller

Daniel Haller is an outstanding senior in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. In May, he will complete his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering with a concentration in biomolecular engineering and minors in English, mathematics and biotechnology.

Haller has earned a number of academic honors during his time on campus. He is a Goldwater Scholar, a Park Scholar and is part of the University Honors Program. He has participated in his home department’s Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering program, has earned an Undergraduate Research Award and Engineer Your Experience Award and was a national runner-up in the Mathworks Math Modeling Challenge.

He has been able to participate in undergraduate research within the department, has made several poster and oral presentations on his research and has picked up teaching experience as an Honors and Scholars Village Fellow. He also participated in a summer study abroad program in Seoul, South Korea, in 2019.

Haller’s community service and leadership experience includes serving as president of the Science Olympiad Alumni Organization at NC State and other activities related to the Science Olympiad.

Faculty members who have interacted with Daniel commented on his enthusiasm for learning and commitment to success.

“Coupled with his self-directed success in the laboratory, Daniel’s academic performance exemplifies the epitome of what we strive to achieve in undergraduate engineering education,” one professor said.

Senior Award for Humanities

Jack Martinez

Jack Martinez is an outstanding senior majoring in mechanical engineering and Spanish linguistics with plans to complete a master’s degree at NC State in industrial design. His goal is to design commercially viable and socially active systems solutions in a dignifying and conscious way.

A Caldwell Fellow, Martinez has been very active in campus and community organizations during his time at NC State. He has served as president of the Spanish Club at NC State and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Shack-A-Thon and the Critical Conversations Project. His honors capstone project for his Spanish major involved conducting qualitative data research into the lexical development of terms to describe the LGBT community. His mechanical engineering senior design project involved work on a shower curtain system that accommodates safety, privacy and observation concerns in correctional facilities.

Martinez has also been able to accumulate a large amount of professional experience through an R&D internship with ABB and teaching assistant and research assistant positions on campus.

NC State professors who have worked with Martinez highlighted his ability to meld an engineer’s problem-solving mindset with the creativity of the humanities, especially when it comes to the analysis of data to inform linguistic studies.

“I was truly impressed with how he took initiative in his final group project and devised a novel manner in which to analyze his data,” one faculty member in Hispanic linguistics said. “He demonstrated that he was able to successfully utilize methods of linguistic analysis, as well as implement skills and knowledge acquired in other courses in other disciplines.”

Senior Award for Leadership

Emory Paige New

Emory Paige New is an outstanding senior in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering who is completing her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in bioprocessing and a minor in biological sciences and is continuing for a fifth year in an accelerated master’s program in microbial biotechnology at NC State.

A Goodnight Scholar, New has been very active on campus in a number of leadership positions during her entire academic career at NC State. She has been a very active member of the NC State student chapter of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, including serving as treasurer, Fountain Wars competition team president and, later, chapter president. She has been a chancellor’s aide, a BAE ambassador, a Pack Chat mentor and has served as a mentor and ambassador for the Goodnight Scholars program. This is only an abbreviated list of the organizations with which New has been involved.

New has gained professional experience with the North Carolina Watermelon Association; Agri-Waste Technology, Inc.; Kornegay Family Farms and Produce; The Engineering Place; and Kymanox. She has also gained undergraduate research experience and teaching experience during her undergraduate years.

“Emory is a natural leader,” said a faculty member in BAE who knows her well. “I have absolutely no doubt that she will enjoy a full and very productive career in whatever field of engineering she chooses.” “Emory is an extraordinary young woman,” said a leader in University Special Events. “Her ability to lead others with grace is wonderful to watch.”