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2022 Graduate Student Excellence Awards

The College of Engineering is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Graduate Student Excellence Awards: Caitlin Banks, Matt McNulty, Dayane Oliveira and Hanna Koster.

The second annual awards recognize the outstanding achievements of the College of Engineering’s master’s and Ph.D. students in research, service, safety and diversity, equity and inclusion. Recipients receive a $500 award and will have their name added to a permanent display in the Kemper Hall lobby. These students will be honored at a ceremony in late spring quarter.

More information on the students and awards is below.

Excellence in Graduate Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award

Caitlin Banks, biomedical engineering

caitlin banks uc davis biomedical engineering phd student diversity equity inclusion graduate award

This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in promoting equity, diversity and inclusion.

Caitlin Banks is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group (BMEGG). Her research focuses on walking and leg function in people with stroke. She currently serves on the Biomedical Engineering Health, Equity and Wellness committee, where she is helping to improve equity and inclusion for students in the graduate group. Outside of UC Davis, she is the Allyship & Inclusivity Director of the International Women in Biomechanics group and a member of the Black Biomechanists Association Organizing Committee. Caitlin identifies as a half-black woman with a disability, and she is passionate about improving the graduate student and early career experience for everyone, especially those from underrepresented or marginalized groups.

Learn more about Caitlin.

Excellence in Graduate Student Research Award

Matt McNulty, chemical engineering

matt mcnulty chemical engineering phd student uc davis graduate student research award

This award recognizes a graduate student who has made significant contributions to their field of research or discipline.

Matt McNulty is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemical Engineering and a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow. His primary research interest is in the production and accessibility of pharmaceuticals and other high-value products for limited-resource environments. This has led him to topics spanning plant-based manufacturing, virus-based nanomaterials, space systems bioengineering and techno-economic analysis. He is currently developing a filter-based retention device for a plant virus-based nanomaterial capable of capturing and purifying biopharmaceuticals.   

Excellence in Graduate Student Safety Award

Dayane Oliveira, materials science and engineering

dayane oliveria uc davis materials science engineering graduate student award safety

This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to promoting and enhancing safety culture within the college.

Dayane Oliveira is a Ph.D. candidate in the materials science and engineering department, working in Professor Jeffery Gibeling’s lab. She completed her bachelor’s degree with honors in Materials Engineering at the Federal University of Itajuba in Brazil. In collaboration with Sandia and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, she currently investigates how deformation and fracture occur in metallic materials exposed to cyclic loading conditions and in the presence of internal hydrogen. As a lab safety coordinator of a shared workspace, she facilitated the separation of laboratory hazard assessment tools (LHATs) and created an electronic version of the safety documents while managing individual and group training for both research groups. She is also a regional graduate student leader in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

Excellence in Graduate Student Service and Leadership Award

Hanna Koster, biomedical engineering

hanna koster uc davis biomedical engineering graduate student leadership award

This award recognizes a graduate student who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in service to their community.

Hanna Koster is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the biomedical engineering department. She holds a B.A. in physics and biochemistry from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In her current role, she researches novel nanomaterials for targeted cancer diagnostics using extracellular vesicles and Raman spectroscopy. She is the president of the Biomedical Engineering Student Organization (BESA) and sits on multiple departmental committees, including the Graduate Student Advisory Board and the BMEGG Executive Committee.

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