CBE School of Engineering Award Winners

April 19, 2017

2017 SOE/CBE award winners

2017 SOE/CBE award winners Omar K Abudayyeh, Bram Hunt, Julian Vigil, Maria Kelly and Esmeralda Arreguin-Martinez
Meet the Winners!

The School of Engineering has announced the 2017 Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) student award winners. In addition to the department student awards, each year the School of Engineering awards the George E. Breece Prize. The George E. Breece Prize was established in 1921 and is probably the oldest endowment in Engineering. The Prize is awarded to the School of Engineering graduating senior with the highest GPA. CBE senior Julian Vigil has been awarded the George E. Breece Prize for Spring 2017! The awards ceremony is Thursday, May 4 at 3:30 pm in the Centennial Engineering auditorium with a reception to follow in the Stamm room.

Congratulations Julian, Esmeralda, Maria, Bram and Omar. Below find a short bio on each of the winners.

2017 School of Engineering recipient of the George E. Breece Prize
Julian is originally from Albuquerque, NM, and became interested in chemistry and chemical engineering during a high school mentorship position in a chemistry group at Sandia National Laboratories. After the mentorship, he was hired as a year-round intern and has remained in this research group for the past five years. His research in materials chemistry and electrochemistry focuses on the development of non-precious metal electrocatalysts for energy conversion and storage. Julian has pursued a BS in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Materials Processing at UNM to further his education for these research efforts in developing sustainable energy technologies. After graduating this May, Julian will attend The University of Cambridge in the U.K. for a M.Phil. in Chemistry starting in Fall 2017, then return to the U.S. and Stanford University for a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering beginning in Fall 2018. His professional goal is an academic position to teach and conduct research in materials chemistry and catalysis. In his free time, Julian enjoys the outdoors, cycling, and running.

Outstanding Sophomore Award for the 2016-2017 academic year
Esmeralda Arreguin-Martinez was born and raised in Gallup, NM. She is currently studying Chemical engineering, with a concentration in bioengineering. She finds engineering as something that fascinates her and that she believes she is really passionate about. After completing her bachelor’s, she hopes to pursue a career as a biomedical research scientist. In her free time, she enjoys reading books, spending time with family, and playing the guitar.

Outstanding Junior Award for the 2016-2017 academic year
Maria Kelly is an Albuquerque native and is studying chemical engineering with a concentration in materials processing. After she graduates, she hopes to pursue an advanced degree in either materials science or chemical engineering. In her future career, Maria would like to apply chemical engineering to the development of renewable energy technologies or green chemical processes. Outside of her coursework, Maria enjoys volunteering, playing tennis, and spending time with friends.

Outstanding Senior Award for the 2016-2017 academic year
Bram Hunt came to Albuquerque from Annapolis, Maryland. After building with Lego sets as a kid and taking many science and math classes in high school, he became interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Bram's main purpose in becoming an engineer is to create solutions to the technical challenges that will face society in the future - especially those in the field of medical technology. After graduation, he will be working at Sandia National Laboratories, and afterward intends to continue studying engineering in graduate school. Portrait drawing, art projects, and tutoring fill his time when not at school or in the lab.”

Outstanding Graduate Student Award for the 2016-2017 academic year
Omar K Abudayyeh is a post-doctoral research engineer working at the US Air Force Research Laboratory located at Kirtland AFB, NM.  Omar has completed his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of New Mexico under the guidance of Prof. Sang M Han.  His graduate research involved developing new composites as gridlines for advanced space photovoltaic cells.  These composites consist of Carbon nanotubes embedded in a silver matrix capable of withstanding fractures in the underlying semiconductor.
Omar was born and raised in Jordan.  In 2005, he moved to New Mexico for his undergraduate education and has been living here since then.  After a short period of working as a medical technologist, Omar realized the need and strong desire to further his education and embark on the journey of exploring the engineering field.  Omar has joined the Ph.D. program in chemical engineering in 2012, few years after graduating with his bachelors in chemistry from UNM.  Graduate school has been challenging yet equally rewarding, affording Omar much growth professionally, intellectually, and spiritually.  In each trial and new challenge Omar always managed to find the love, support, and encouragement from his family, church, friends, and loving fiancée.  The future is bright and the sky is the limit!  Omar hopes one day he will manage his own startup company.
Outside work, Omar is an active member of his local church, serving with young children during Sunday school.  “Doing nothing by way of selfish ambition nor by vainglory, but in lowliness of mind considering one another more excellent than yourself; not regarding each his own virtues, but each the virtues of others also (Phil. 2:3-4).”