Published: May 12, 2023 By

Eight exceptional students from the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering have earned Graduating Student Awards in 2023. These honors are conferred to seniors who are nominated by faculty, staff or fellow students for their outstanding contributions.

Each of the eight award winners will be recognized and celebrated at the department's Graduation Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, May 13.

Megan Conard

Silver Medal Award

Megan Conard is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, she plans to work with Phillips 66 at a biofuels plant in Rodeo, CA.

During my sophomore year, dropping out seemed like my only option when I couldn’t afford to continue at CU. After utilizing on campus jobs, pro-ready career services, financial aid, and academic coaching, I wanted to be a part of the resources that allowed me to continue at CU and be successful. I became involved in various resources such as undergraduate research, internships, Engineering Ambassadors, the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board, Mechanical Engineering Student Apprentices and the Mechanical Engineering DEI Working Group. The opportunities allowed me to get enhance my education through a wide breadth of experiences and hopefully make a positive impact on current and future experiences of CU engineers.

Quin Tobin

Academic Engagement Award

Quin Tobin is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. They have accepted a medical assistant position at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and will be applying to the CU South Denver Accelerated Nursing Program in the fall. While this is not the traditional path for someone with a mechanical engineering degree, they are incredibly excited about this direction and will use the critical problem solving skills and dedication that mechanical engineering at CU Boulder has taught them.

I am honored to be a recipient of the Academic Engagement Award. My journey at CU Boulder hasn’t been easy and I am excited to be graduating this Spring with an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. In my first few years here, I struggled to find my community at CU Boulder and identify as an engineer. I had a difficult time with the transition from high school to college and I found myself struggling and performing poorly in many of my classes. At the behest of my advisor, I began academic coaching to develop stronger study habits and improve my test-taking skills. I also enrolled in COEN 2880: Fresh Start the subsequent semester and explored organizational and learning strategies at a deeper level. This course combined with academic coaching helped me improve my academic performance and build confidence that I too am an engineer. I’m very grateful to the university for these opportunities.

Since then, I have been assisting and supporting other students facing adversity in engineering by working as a teaching assistant for COEN 2280 and as an Academic Peer Coach. I want to give back to the community by helping students find their place in engineering and strengthen their skills to succeed.

Hugh Scribner

Academic Engagement Award

Hugh Scribner is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. He plans to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors this summer, including a trip on the Colorado Trail, before joining the workforce in the fall. 

I am honored to be selected for the Academic Engagement Award. To me this award represents the culmination of all the things that have come to define me as a student at CU. I’ve always been excited to push my knowledge and ask questions. This tendency is why I took on my second major in applied math, I felt like the problems I tackled in those classes pushed me in a different way than in my mechanical engineering classes. Past my desire to take challenging classes, the academic engagement award also highlights my love for teaching. My freshman year (sometimes to my roommates’ dismay) I turned my dorm room into a calculus 1 and 2 help room where I gave free tutoring to my dormmates. After I moved out of the dorms I became an engineering fellow and began to teach review session for the differential equations class on how to program in MATLAB, as many students in the course struggled with the software based projects. I also taught review sessions in the mechanical engineering department for statics and dynamics in this position. Past my work as a fellow, I have conducted research on how to teach engineering classes to make learning more enjoyable for students as well as worked as a teaching assistant for several applied math and mechanical engineering classes. I love teaching and I’ve found plentiful opportunities to help my peers because of it. I’m very fortunate to have been granted all of these opportunities to strengthen my own understanding of math and engineering while at CU and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Kimberly Fung

Community Impact Award

Kimberly Fung is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. Following graduation, Kimberly will be a Colorado Science and Engineering Fellow under the direction of Senator Cleave Simpson and Senator Chris Hansen. In the fall, she will return to CU Boulder for her Masters in Mechanical Engineering.

Kimberly Fung is a mechanical engineering student that is passionate about creating lasting impact for the CU Boulder engineering community. This passion is most demonstrated in her work as the Engineering Senator in the Engineering Council, the college’s engineering student government. 

In this role she has led her team to create interactive programming. This year’s Engineering Week was revamped with more industry partners and over 10 memorable events which made engineering students feel proud and excited to be engineers. Another initiative was Fun with Faculty, a speaker series which involves professors “teaching” students about their hobbies and interests. Speakers included Dean Keith Molenaar and fly fishing and Dr. Janet Tsai and her vision boards. Through a partnership with ProReady, the team brought the first ever Engineering Student Leadership Summit to bring leadership development to engineering students. This was an opportunity that gave students the knowledge and reflective skills that they would not otherwise have gained in their STEM courses. The event was a success and will be a continuous series for the college.

As part of CU Student Government Kimberly is a legislator who represents the engineering school and in this role has passed legislation such as a definition and resources for students during Wellness Day (2022), solidarity for Stop AAPI Hate, increasing COVID19 testing on campus, and legislator outreach. As a more senior member in this role, Kimberly supported new legislators through mentorship and workshopping their ideas. Through these kinds of meaningful connections, Kimberly and her team brought self defense classes to William Village, advocating for increased safety on campus. 

Finally, something Kimberly truly cares about is supporting her peers in finding their “whys”.  For the mechanical engineering department, Kimberly is a student apprentice. In this role she has learned the skills to support her classmates in improving their professional skills, using this ability she supports her classmates. She has given mentorship, resume reviews, consulting, and so much advice to her peers to help them feel confident and proud in their abilities to apply for jobs or internships. She has a strong desire to ensure people feel empowered to achieve their dreams. 

Outside of the engineering community, Kimberly has been involved with the Center for Leadership and is part of the President’s Leadership Class.

“Community impact is my favorite quote from the Ms. Marvel comics, ‘Good isn’t a thing you are, it’s a thing you do.’ Doing community impact, is when you show up. It’s bringing your unique authenticity to the spaces you fill and making others feel like they can share that space with you. I could not have made the impact I’ve made without the support of my friends, professors, and mentors on campus who gave me the guidance and encouragement to.”

Ahmed Ashmaig

Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Award

Ahmed Ashmaig is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he plans to work as a Vehicle Test Engineer at Cruise, the self-driving automotive startup in San Francisco. He hopes to gain a few years of industry experience there before pursuing an Automotive Engineering Master’s degree in the near future.

As the President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and the CU Boulder campus ambassador of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), I have dedicated myself to promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) work both on and off-campus. My passion lies in increasing diversity in engineering and creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students. One of my proudest accomplishments was leading over 30 students to two national conferences where many people secured internships and full-time jobs. My efforts were recognized when I was awarded the Ripple Award for coordinating a pre-collegiate initiative workshop at the first national conference in Anaheim, CA.

I believe that my contributions to NSBE and JEDI work have greatly improved the culture and climate within the college, making it a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all students. It brings me immense joy to have inspired countless students to get involved and make a positive impact in their communities. I am pleased to see NSBE growing exponentially, and I was excited to see that over 20 people applied to the NSBE executive board last year after my term as president. This is a huge change compared to the lack of interest that was seen in previous years when I applied to join the board.

I am proud to have set a great leadership example for the next NSBE board, and I am excited to see our chapter continue to grow. With my dedication to JEDI work and my passion for diversity in engineering, I am confident that I can make an even greater impact in the future.

Megan Conard

Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (JEDI) Award

Megan Conard is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, she plans to work with Phillips 66 at a biofuels plant in Rodeo, CA.

I’ve dedicated myself to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion through a desire to elevate student voices. In addition to sharing my experiences with future buffs and speaking as an advocate on the Dean’s Advisory Board, I’ve joined the Mechanical Engineering DEI Working group as the first undergraduate representative. This experience has allowed me to share my perspective and encourage student-focused DEI efforts. As I graduate, I hope that student voices will continue to be amplified in decision-making and administrative efforts.

Kimberly Fung

JEDI Award

Kimberly Fung is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. Following graduation, Kimberly will be a Colorado Science and Engineering Fellow under the direction of Senator Cleave Simpson and Senator Chris Hansen. In the fall, she will return to CU Boulder for her Masters in Mechanical Engineering.

Kimberly Fung is a student advocate for the Asian American community. As a Thai-Chinese American, Kimberly has been able to perform leadership roles in organizations on campus such as Vice President of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, Student Representative on the Inclusive Culture Council, and what she is most proud of, the Founder of Unmask the Racism. 

Unmask the Racism is a not for profit LLC which began as a social media campaign during isolation with a group of friends that included high schoolers and college students.  Our mission was to spread awareness and combat racism against Asian Americans due to COVID-19 through education and action. 

Asian restaurants were hit hard with lower foot traffic due to the fear that all Asians carried COVID19. The team focused our efforts on encouraging folks to order from AAPI owned restaurants. They spent the fall semester fundraising over $2500 to order large catering meals from our local partners, China Gourmet and Aloy Thai. Over 150 meals were delivered to healthcare workers and first responders all over the Boulder area.

While doing their advocacy work, the team was asked by the Boulder community what more they could do. In spring of 2021, Unmask the Racism introduced our More Than 1000 Cranes project which brought awareness and education. They shared information about the issue, AAPI history, BIPOC allyship and advocacy, and ended the presentations with a reflective crane folding activity. These cranes were collected from these presentations and also around the United States through our mail-in program. Folding a 1000 cranes in Japanese culture allows the creators to make a wish, our cranes would represent unity and healing.  

Finally in March 2022,  Unmask the Racism brought over 2000 folded to the Museum of Boulder for a month long exhibition. The exhibit was seen by over 1500 patrons! The exhibit provided a space for the AAPI community to be and to bring awareness to the Stop AAPI Hate movement. 

“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work must be inclusive as stated. What I’ve learned the most is that people truly care about communities that are different from their own and there is real hesitation for knowing how to get involved in the “right way”. Bringing these opportunities where folks can choose to learn or create allows them to feel like they are making a difference and taking the action needed to confront racism. While it is small, making people feel like they are capable of doing more is powerful and I hope this is what Unmask the Racism and the Inclusive Language Resource does for the campus community.

            When there is a genuine desire to support one’s community or another that's different from them, there are so many ways to show up. Even if it just means checking in on a friend or doing research to learn more about an issue. Anyone can support the many different people that fill their community!” 

Dania Alhamli

Perserverence Award

Dania Alhamli is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, she plans to work as a Mechanical Engineer for Jacobs Solutions Inc. in Denver. In the future, she also plans to pursue a master's degree in mechanical engineering. 

I'm honored to be receiving the perseverance award. This award means so much to me. It makes me feel seen. I'm thankful to have my academic advisor Kate by my side, believing in me and advocating for me every step of the way.

In 2018 I left home and moved to Colorado to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Through the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and finally, here, after five years of hard work and tears, I'm very close to the Finishing Line. The Last 5 Years have been anything but easy. I learned, and I grew both Academically and mentally. At the end of 2019, my sophomore year, I got diagnosed with complex PTSD; this diagnosis shed light on why I have been struggling when it came to school. I felt like I had to work harder than my peers to achieve similar goals turns out that was due to me having long dissociative episodes as a result of my PTSD. As soon as I got diagnosed with PTSD, I started therapy. I wanted to get better as my dream was to be an engineer, and I wasn't going to give up on it now. It took about a year of therapy to start working. My symptoms are an everyday struggle, and it was hard to function some days. But thanks to my academic advisor, academic coach, and therapist, I felt less alone in learning how to navigate my PTSD and school. I learned techniques and exercises that helped engage my brain and keep me present, Which helped me be mentally present in my classes and Exams and pass my classes with good grades. A lot of people in this world have PTSD, and I hope to shed light on it and advocate for people with it and help people feel less alone.

Lindsay Donnellan

Perserverence Award

Lindsay Donnellan is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, she plans to focus on building her small woodworking business as she seeks employment in the mechanical engineering industry. 

It was 20 years ago that I first began my undergraduate studies. 2 kids, a 15-year career in executive administration, a move across the country, the loss of my father to cancer, a marriage and a divorce, and a founding of my own small business later, I am finally earning my Bachelor of Engineering as my oldest child enters her senior year of high school and is getting ready to set out on her own journey in higher-education. Being selected to receive the Perseverance Award alongside my long-awaited Bachelor’s degree nearly brought me to tears as I paused to reflect on the many chapters of life I’ve been through since I first started my educational journey. One of my favorite quotes captures the essence of what perseverance means to me: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou

Mario Pace

Perserverence Award

Mario Pace is graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering. He is currently on the job hunt, with hopes of finding a mechanical engineering position here or at home in California. He is excited to see where life takes him.

I’m really excited to receive this award as I graduate. Through my time at CU, I’ve overcame and conquered, which fills me with determination as I enter the professional world. I’m thrilled to begin my career, and will be carrying the memories I’ve made along the way with me.