Students in the Purdue School of Science at IUPUI persevered through a challenging academic year to earn several IUPUI campus awards.
Five science students were awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion, which recognizes graduating students that have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their community while attending IUPUI. Activities typically include volunteerism, political engagement, service learning, and community/social issue advocacy. Often these students demonstrate personal and intellectual growth along with a positive community impact.
Alexa Carr is the first School of Science recipient for the 2021 Plater Civic Engagement Medallion. She is a senior studying biology and philanthropic studies who has served in organizations like Jagathon, Women4Change, and Riley Children’s Hospital during her time at IUPUI.
“Being named one of the recipients of the Plater Medallion was so special to me because community service has always been such a large part of my life,” explains Carr. “It was an incredible honor to be included in a group of students so passionate about making a positive impact on their community!”
Jocelyn Blackburn earned the award for 160+ service hours at Riley Children’s Hospital. She’s a senior majoring in biology and classical studies.
“Besides being a really fun way to meet new people and learn about social issues impacting my community, service is an important part of my life,” says Blackburn. “I believe that through collaborating on community-based projects, we can work together to enact change and contribute to a more equitable and caring environment for everyone.”
Isra Haider is our third science awardee; she’s a senior studying biology and sociology, a passionate political activist, and a strong advocate for women.
“For my civic engagement work, I have focused on activities related to advocating for women through my involvement with Women4Change,” explains Haider. “Women4Change's mission is to advocate for positive change for Hoosier women. Through this organization, I have become more aware of different issues Hoosiers currently face and tools like education and political activism to advocate for needed change.”
Raven Brzeszkiewicz is a senior studying biology and medical sociology who is also active with Women4Change along with Jagathon.
“Community service is important to me because it allows me to see pressing issues on our campus and in the surrounding community,” says Brzeszkiewicz. “I am planning to enter a future career in public health, and seeing these issues helps me to know what kinds of changes I need to work towards making for people to be both physically and mentally healthy and thrive as individuals.”
Our final Plater Medallion recipient is Supriya Chittajallu, a senior studying biology, medical humanities, and health studies. She is recognized for her work in the Honors College Peer Mentor Program, IUPUI Regatta, VIDA, Riley Hospital, VA Hospital, and the 500 Festival Princess Program.
“As a first-generation American, my parents and sister were the only family I had growing up in Indiana,” explains Chittajallu. “The Indianapolis community played a valuable role in raising me as I spent most of my childhood visiting institutions like our libraries, parks, and museums with my family. Giving back means the world to me because the person I am today is a result of the time my family and community has invested in me.”
The School of Science is also proud of Faith Prochaska, a junior, double majoring in Biology and Neuroscience. She received the Bowling-Jones-Russo Memorial Undergraduate Research Award.
The award is made in memory of members of the IUPUI academic community who displayed, to the highest degree, the ideals of commitment to a discipline and to the concept of mentoring others on the path toward excellence.
“This award means that all the nights or weekends in the lab were worth it and that I am on the right path,” said Prochaska. “It shows just how far hard work and incredible mentors can take you.
Prochaska has been involved in research looking at behavioral and cognitive effects of a possible treatment for Down Syndrome. She’s also helped characterize the developmental phenotype for Down Syndrome.
“I would not have been able to accomplish any of this without Laura Hawley, Charles Goodlett, Ph.D., and Randall Roper, Ph.D.,” said Prochaska.
Grace Mattingly, a junior, received the IUPUI Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research.
The School of Science also had 50 students named as Top 100 IUPUI students, and five graduate students, plus four alumni named as part of the Elite 50.
All these campus awards earned are in addition to the numerous awards announced at the School of Science Honors Convocation in mid April.