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Celebrating the brightest student scholars

On April 14, Honors Day will salute extraordinary undergraduates who have distinguished themselves through talent, hard work and intellectual endeavor

April 12, 2012

One is an avid chess player who applies her fascination of the game’s emphasis on creative problem solving to her research on retinal image processing.

Kelly Moynihan and Anjali Datta
Kelly Moynihan (left) and Anjali Datta are among the 3,914 students who will be recognized for academic excellence during Honors Day at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Frank Erwin Center.Photo: Caleb Horn/Cockrell School of Engineering

Another is an Austin native who decided to devote her life to cancer research after her father was diagnosed with advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Anjali Datta, a Plan II Honors and electrical and computer engineering senior, and Kelly Moynihan, a biomedical engineering senior, are among only 15 students in the nation selected this year to receive a five-year, $250,000 Hertz Foundation Fellowship to pursue graduate research at the university of their choice.

And both students are among the 3,914 students at The University of Texas at Austin who will be recognized for their academic excellence during the university’s 64th Annual Honors Day ceremonies at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the university’s Frank Erwin Center.

Introduced in 1948, Honors Day is a chance for the university’s brightest student leaders to be honored by deans, faculty members and administrators for their work in and out of the classroom. The honorees include 3,213 students who will be recognized as College Scholars and 701 who qualified as Distinguished College Scholars.

Datta and Moynihan will be honored as Distinguished College Scholars.

Datta’s research could help lead to earlier diagnosis of glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide. Moynihan, who will pursue her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall, hopes to develop a nanostructured drug delivery system that improves disease treatment.

“Our mission is to develop future engineers who are the brightest, most innovative and committed in their field. Anjali and Kelly have achieved this through their hard work and creativity in the classroom, the research lab and in their service to the university,” said Gregory L. Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering.

Honors Day, Saturday, April 14

Moynihan says she was motivated to pursue biomedical engineering after her father was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma when she was in high school. She has worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Biomedical Engineering Professor George Georgiou’s lab to characterize a novel method of antibody identification.

She has also taken leadership roles in organizations whose missions are centered on mentoring, outreach and service, including leading a team of mentors to work with low-income middle school students every week through Student Engineers Educating Kids.

Datta, of Grapevine, will graduate in May and is an Ernest Cockrell Jr. Engineering Scholar, the top scholarship awarded in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and a Robert H. Dedman Distinguished Scholar, the top scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts. Her undergraduate research has focused on retinal image processing for a glaucoma diagnosis system in Biomedical Engineering Professor Mia Markey’s lab.

Datta has served as a tutor, mentor and leader in numerous student organizations, including the Engineering Honors Council, Eta Kappa Nu (the Electrical Engineering Honor Society) and the Society of Women Engineers. She has not yet decided where she will pursue her Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Communication Studies Sharon Jarvis will speak at Saturday’s Honors Day celebration. Jarvis, who serves as the associate director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation at The University of Texas at Austin, is a member of the university’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers and holds the title of distinguished teaching associate professor. She is also a prolific author.

All honorees during Saturday’s ceremonies will receive honors cords they can wear at spring commencement ceremonies in May. Distinguished College Scholars will be presented with medallions on stage by their academic deans as a part of the ceremony.

In recognition of the student honorees, the Tower will be lit orange on April 14.

For more information, contact: Melissa Mixon.

1 Comment to "On April 14, Honors Day will salute extraordinary undergraduates who have distinguished themselves through talent, hard work and intellectual endeavor"

1.  Shakera Ali said on April 16, 2012

Wow! These two women are so inspiring! Wish you both all the best! Keep up the great work !!! This is amazing!!!