Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stellar Students to be Honored at Commencement

Three exceptional members of the Class of 2013 will receive the top student awards during the undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19.
Miles Aaron

Peter Bowers

Dana Eckstein

Dana Eckstein,  who has been pursuing a double major in cinema and English in the College of Arts and Sciences, will receive the Belle K. Ribicoff Prize, which is awarded for academic excellence.

Evidence of Eckstein’s incredible energy lies in the long list of activities, awards, papers, and projects submitted with her nomination for the Ribicoff Prize. Eckstein has been on the Dean’s List and the President’s List every semester of her undergraduate career. Inducted her first year into Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, she eventually served as treasurer and president of the Psi Phi chapter. A presenter at the Undergraduate Colloquium all four years, a two-year Humanities Center fellow, and a Junior Regents’ Honor Award recipient, Eckstein was named editor of the English department’s Aerie literary journal her senior year.

Eckstein served in several roles, including general manager, of the student-run STN Channel 2 News. Her original stop-motion animation film appeared in the University’s 2012 Goldfarb Exhibition at the Hartford Art School, and she received the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Regional 10-Minute Play Award.

"My father used to tell me, 'You can’t dance at two weddings with one tuchus,'" says Eckstein. "It’s been my life goal to dance at all the weddings." Eckstein will be preparing her writing portfolio for application to a Master of Fine Arts program.

Miles Aron, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Acoustical Engineering and Music program, is the winner of the John G. Martin Scholarship. The Martin Scholarship provides an extraordinary opportunity to study for two years at the University of Oxford’s Hertford College in England. Aron will start his master’s in biomedical engineering in the fall at Oxford, researching drug delivery through the blood-brain barrier in the treatment of cancer and other brain diseases.
Jazz guitar lessons with Rich Goldstein, artist teacher at The Hartt School, convinced Aron to enter the rigorous Acoustical Engineering and Music program. In the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA), Aron has impressed his professors. “Miles is one of our top honors students and has consistently performed well in all of his classes, even as he averaged almost 19 credits each semester,” wrote Robert Celmer, professor of mechanical engineering, in nominating Aron for the Martin Scholarship.

While at the University of Hartford, Aron has had challenging internships, including working for the U.S. Department of Energy at the SLAC National Linear Accelerator; PVI Systems; and NASA Ames Research Center through the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium. Aron also has presented and submitted research on nonlinear partial differential equations completed with Aslihan Demirkay, assistant professor of mathematics, and Robert Decker, associate professor of mathematics.

The John G. Lee Medal will go to Peter Bowers, who majored in mechanical engineering with a concentration in acoustics and minored in electrical engineering and mathematics.  The John G. Lee Medal is awarded annually to a graduating senior from Greater Hartford who has excelled academically while demonstrating a deep commitment to community.

Although Bowers’s dream of becoming an acoustical consultant brought him to the University of Hartford, his dream has changed somewhat since he arrived. “From my course work in acoustics, I learned about hearing loss and current treatments. There are limitations to these treatments that need to be addressed.”

With a part-time job, interning at Westinghouse Electric Company, and volunteering in the community, Bowers will graduate with a 3.99 GPA.  Bowers also has collected regents’ honors and numerous scholarships. His volunteer contributions include serving meals to low-income individuals in Hartford through the Hands on Hartford program, participating in the Whole Plant Foundation established by Whole Foods Market to aid the self-employed poor, and volunteering with Don’t Go Deaf to raise awareness about hearing loss.

In the fall, Bowers will enter Harvard University’s Harvard/MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology. Ultimately he hopes to advance technology involving hearing aids and cochlear implants.

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