Five engineering students recognized with University-wide awards


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State recently honored numerous Penn State engineering undergraduate students in recognition of their academic excellence, outstanding leadership and meritorious service. The University’s 2022 student award recipients exemplify best practices and achievements among students, reflecting the University's mission of teaching, research and service.

Jennifer Gustafson, a fourth-year student majoring in mechanical engineering at Penn State Behrend, received the Ralph Dorn Hetzel Memorial Award and was recognized for her high scholastic attainment, citizenship and participation and leadership in student activities. In her role as second-year president of Behrend Benefiting THON, Gustafson was able to adapt the organization to fulfill its commitment to fundraising and supporting families grappling with pediatric cancer, nominators said.

In addition, four out of the five recipients of the John W. Oswald Award were engineering students. This award recognizes graduating seniors who have provided outstanding leadership in at least one of several areas of activity at the University.

Natalie Heising, fourth-year student majoring in chemical engineering: Athletics

“The championship was not the crown achievement of the year, the ultimate prize was the fact that our team was finally a family, a team of 20 leaders, who also followed,” a nominator said of Heising. “Natalie created the standards and lived by them every day, while every teammate bought into being part of something bigger than themselves.” 

Jennifer Aklilu, fourth-year student majoring in industrial engineering: Scholarship

“She possesses a unique level of maturity that I have not witnessed in many undergraduate students,” a nominator said of Akilu. “Her ability to authentically connect with each of her mentees is remarkable. I would attribute this to her ability to actively listen, resonate empathetically, and follow through with specific action.” 

Andrea Castaneda, fourth-year student majoring in industrial engineering: Scholarship

“She is a natural leader and uses those skills to impact people positively,” a nominator said of Castaneda. “This means truly dedicating time and effort to what she is involved in and caring about the people she works with.” 

Ang Chen, fourth-year student majoring in electrical engineering: Social Services

“Ang elaborately designed and hosted several major events in Shanghai to promote Penn State’s goals for academic excellence, diversity, and global citizenship by engaging Penn State students in Shanghai to foster an inclusive ‘We Are’ spirit of the global Penn State community,” a nominator said of Chen.


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