Bianca Williams, a senior in chemical engineering, has been awarded a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship.
Each fellowship provides three years of support at $30,000 annually and an additional $10,500 cost of education allowance. The purpose of the fellowship program is to help ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States.
Williams, a senior Honors College student, is completing her honors thesis under the direction of Elizabeth Lipke in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Williams' research project is part of the Lipke lab's effort to guide the differentiation of mouse embryonic and human induced pluripotent stem cells into cardiomyocytes, which could eventually be used for the treatment of heart disease.
Outside the classroom and lab, Williams is actively involved with Auburn's Minority Engineering Program where she serves as a mentor to middle and high school students at the Boys and Girls Club. In the spring of 2011, she served as conference chair for the National Association of Black Engineers Annual Meeting held in St. Louis.
James Kaczmarek, a junior in chemical engineering, has received a Goldwater Scholarship honorable mention for his research in engineering silicone hydrogel lenses for the controlled release of an ocular inflammatory under the direction of Dr. Mark Byrne.
The Goldwater scholarship is given out to 300 students from across the country each year, with ~150 honorable mentions also given out annually. Each university may select only 4 students to nominate. The scholarship is awarded based on both the merit student scholastic and extracurricular activities, as well as research interest and experience. The Goldwater scholarship is largely considered to be the most prestigious undergraduate award in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.
In addition to the Goldwater honorable mention, James has won several other awards for his research, including 3rd place overall in podium presentations at the 2012 AIChE regional conference. He was recently awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship by Auburn University. In addition to his research, James is the trumpet section leader for the Auburn University Marching Band; a founding member of AUCappella, Auburn’s premiere all-male a cappella ensemble; and the former Fraternity Education Officer for Phi Mu Alpha, a national social music fraternity.