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Undergraduate Researchers of the Year Announced

By Maryland Today Staff

One graduating Terp analyzed President Trump’s tweets and wrote about it in the Washington Post. Another created an exoskeleton to help people walk. A third has been researching the irradiation of superconducting samples since he was a freshman.

In all, seven seniors were named Maryland’s top undergraduate researchers of the year. Nominated by faculty for the awards, which are sponsored by the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Undergraduate Studies, the students receive $1,000 prizes. This year, their substantial accomplishments are being celebrated virtually here.

  • Morgan Anvari, a College Park Scholar, completed a degree in psychology; her honors thesis focused on the exploration of feelings in individual psychotherapy. Anvari has worked with the Maryland Psychotherapy Clinic and Research Lab and the Global Mental Health and Addiction Program at UMD.
  • Erica Puentes Martínez, a student activist, graduated with degrees in African American studies and American studies and a minor in U.S. Latino/a studies. She completed three senior capstone projects in both her majors and minor focusing on the intersections of gender, labor and race by exploring the voices and experiences of marginalized populations.
  • Kayla Petrover, a mechanical engineering major, designed and tested an exoskeleton equipped with actuators and sensors to help people walk and step independently and safely. A member of the Design Cultures and Creativity program in the Honors College, Petrover also participated in the QUEST Honors Program and served as vice president of sponsorship for JHacks Hackathon.
  • Nicholas Poniatowski, a physics major, received numerous awards, including a Goldwater Scholarship, an ICAM QuantEmX Travel Award for an experiment at Stanford University, a Philip Merrill Presidential Scholarship, a Ralph Meyer and Friends of Physics Award for Excellence in Teaching, and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate award. His research interests are the transport properties of the electron-doped cuprate superconductor LCCO at high temperatures and applied magnetic field.
  • Jacob Silverman, a member of the Honors College’s University Honors program, completed a double degree in government and politics and mechanical engineering. His analysis of Trump’s tweets resulted in a Washington Post article and became the basis for research about civility in American politics.
  • Tanay Wakhare, who earned degrees in both mathematics and computer science, was named a university medalist for Commencement and won many awards for his research and academic achievements, including Banneker/Key, Goldwater and Churchill scholarships and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
  • Mark Zic, a member of the University Honors program, completed a degree in physics and has researched the irradiation of superconducting samples since his freshman year.

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