These awards recognize students who have made a significant contribution to DPE, the College of Engineering, and the others by demonstrating initiative and positively contributing to the college’s climate toward diversity.
Freshman of the Year
Himma Aklilu ‘25, (Unaffiliated) Engineering
Himma Aklilu distinguished herself during her first year with her commitment, energy, and enthusiasm for all her endeavors both on and off campus. She is Freshman Representative for URMC (Underrepresented Minorities in Computing) and now serves as their Outreach Chair. She is also very involved in National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association (EESA), and Black Student Union (BSU). In her spare time, she works on a series called “Under the Hood” that spreads tech awareness to non-technical individuals within and beyond the Cornell community. She takes advantage of every opportunity to promote her future success and those of others.
Honorable Mention: Judith Jatto ‘25, (Unaffiliated) Engineering
Undergraduate Student of the Year
William Salcedo ‘23, Electrical and Computer Engineering
William Salcedo is a dedicated leader, scholar, team member, volunteer, and entrepreneur. As the lead for the CUSail Project Team, he has demonstrated humble and supportive leadership that has contributed greatly to the team’s success. As the founder of a startup dedicated to creating and commercializing internet of things devices, he applies his design expertise to product development while empowering his team members to engage in critical co-leadership roles with respect to securing venture capital investment. Additionally, he serves as the treasurer of Acacia Fraternity, and is known by his colleagues for his tireless work ethic and kind demeanor.
Honorable Mention: Chuwuemeka Emmanuel Adebi ‘24, Electrical and Computer Engineering
First-Year Graduate Student of the Year
Gill Iradukunda, Engineering Management, M.Eng.
Gill Iradukunda serves as an Engineering Management Program Ambassador, where his enthusiasm for, and dedication to, Cornell’s engineering programs has been celebrated and recognized by many of his colleagues. He has served as a guide and mentor to prospective students, as well as a team leader in his graduate courses. He has demonstrated a commitment to fostering community connections as a Cornell representative, and he is actively involved in the Los Angeles Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers
Honorable Mention: Jeremiah James, Biomedical Engineering, PhD Student
Graduate Student of the Year
Priya Bhandari, Computer Science, M.Eng.
Priya Bhandar has engaged in a number of leadership, diversity and inclusion programs and groups. She has focused on accessibility by designing an award winning application to assist and improve individual accessibility for students and staff in which Cornell’s Student Assembly is investigating to turn her integrative maintenance map idea into an iOS app for all of Cornell to download. She envisioned and actualized a buddy program for incoming international students and strengthened her leadership in the Women’s Engineering Leadership Education (WE Lead) and GE Dare to Lead programs. She is a member of over 6 affinity organizations where she enables discussions and dialogue to foster a strong sense of community among the members. Through her work on campus, this student shows her commitment to increasing representation of women and other underrepresented communities in STEM. All this and she works as a student manager in a dining hall.
Return to 2022 Annual Awards list