SEAS Graduate Student Prizes Announced

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School of Engineering & Applied Science Dean T. Kyle Vanderlick announced the winners of the 2012 graduate student awards at the Crest & Fest celebration on Tuesday, May 15.

Mehmet Baykara, winner of the 2012 Henry Prentiss Becton Prize.

The first, the Henry Prentiss Becton Prize for exceptional achievement in research, consists of a certificate and a check for $500. The 2012 Becton Prize was awarded to Mehmet Baykara of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Baykara's work involved the development of a new imaging technique, three-dimensional atomic force microscopy, and applications of the technique to various surfaces, offering insight into the nature of surface chemistry and surface interactions.

His advisor, Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and Chemical & Environmental Engineering Udo Schwarz, said, "Mehmet's research in doing his PhD was truly outstanding, with high-quality results in three-dimensional atomic force microscopy. He demonstrated a higher level of imaging than anyone has done thus far in terms of information you can get from a sample."

Another faculty member, in nominating Baykara for the prize, wrote "I clearly identify Mehmet as one of the best graduate students I have worked with in close to 20 years at Yale – his research accomplishments are second to none."

The second award, the Harding Bliss Prize, is awarded to the graduating doctoral student who has done the most to further the intellectual life of the department, and consists of an engraved silver bowl and a check for $500. The 2012 Bliss Prize was awarded to Michael Look of Biomedical Engineering. Look's work focused on the development and testing of nanoparticles for autoimmune disease and transplant rejection.

Michael Look, winner of the 2012 Harding Bliss Prize.

His advisor, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Chemical & Environmental Engineering Tarek Fahmy, said, "Michael Look is a role model researcher and student. His exemplary patience, methodical and hard consistent work has earned him many prizes and admiration from students and faculty alike. Michael is also a very mild-mannered, dependable person who is the go to help for technical support or questions about any biomedical engineering problem. Michael is a critical gear that moves research in our lab."

In nominating Look for the Bliss Prize, a fellow student said, "Michael has set an example for me and other newer students that hard work and patience are critical for a productive time in graduate school... I intend to follow his example and make just as much out of my experience here as he has."

Another wrote, "Michael provides a template for all of us of what an ideal graduate students should be: he is hard working, self-driven, paper publishing, mild mannered, affable, a mentor and a role model, but most of all, he has a lot of humility and that is what I most respect about him and try to emulate as a fellow graduate student."

Baykara and Look will both graduate this month. Baykara has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the Bilkent University Department of Mechanical Engineering; Look is still considering his future plans.