2023 Student Impact Award Winners

Congrats to the winners of the 2023 Student Impact Award. Below are the nominations that were submitted by their respective supervisors.

2+ Work Term Winner

Sam Duckworth

Sam Duckworth  SIA award winner

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summer 2022, Fall 2022

What were the student's main responsibilities?

Broadly speaking, Sam’s responsibilities as a research intern were to conduct research and experiments in the field of biomaterials. This includes biochemical assays, chemical synthesis, material characterization, and mechanical testing. Sam primarily focused on two projects: one which aims to increase the bioavailability of orally administered biologics, and one to develop new materials to manage non-compressible torso hemorrhage. Sam’s work with us has consistently far exceeded expectations and he demonstrates excellent research skills for his career stage.

What is one specific accomplishment of your intern/co-op?

Sam’s made huge contributions to all his projects. To sum it up as one accomplishment: Sam has made multiple key discoveries which have spawned major research programs in our lab. Sam independently developed two concepts for devices which administer oral biologics. He prototyped these concepts and demonstrated compelling proof-of-concept for each of them, which is an astounding feat for his career stage. Sam also independently developed an in vitro model of torso hemorrhage, which is a major challenge in the field of hemostasis and could transform how hemostatic materials are tested. 

What impact did the student have on your organization?

Sam’s had huge impact on our lab. He has independently made multiple scientific discoveries which are now the bases for major research streams in our lab. I expect these discoveries will culminate in at least one high impact publication (sensibly, a Nature sub-journal) and a highly marketable patent application. Sam’s concepts for delivering oral biologics may transform how patients take biologic drugs, like insulin and antibodies. Sam’s model of hemorrhage also could accelerate how new hemostatic materials are screened and tested; this could decrease worldwide mortality due to bleeding. Findings like Sam’s are key to the success and longevity of research labs; they enable us to publish high-impact papers, secure new research funding, and advance knowledge so that it can improve patient care.

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the Student Impact award?

The research prowess and independence that Sam demonstrated are those of a scientist far beyond his career stage – typically those of a mid- to upper-year doctoral student. Sam has an exceptional ability to conceive translatable medical devices, to distill those devices to key scientific hypotheses, and to design experiments to test those hypotheses. Sam’s creativity and productivity are far beyond those of other interns in our lab; while other interns achieved incremental progress, such as assisting their mentors or completing pre-defined assays, Sam independently made significant discoveries and research advancements. I have mentored and supervised 21 scientists – including undergraduates, technicians, graduate students, medical students, and postdoctoral researchers – and Sam is easily in the top 10% of my previous mentees and highly deserving of this award.

What three words would you use to describe this student?

Driven, respectful, prodigious 


Single Work Term Winner

Megan Pond

Megan Pond SIA Award Winner 2023

Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Spring 2022

What were the student's main responsibilities?

Megan was assigned to the process optimization group (POG) at Marathon's Garyville, LA refinery. In this role, Megan expanded a utility baseline tool to gain insight into utility usage refinery-wide, developed project scope to separate a high octane product from a low octane product to optimize gasoline blending, and created a product giveaway tracking tool to optimize refinery operation.

What is one specific accomplishment of your intern/co-op?

Megan's biggest accomplishment was developing a definition-stage design support package (DSP) for a project that will separate a high octane product from a low octane product to optimize gasoline blending. This started off as a basic idea from one of the full-time engineers, and Megan ran with it. She worked closely with the process engineers, project engineers, and operations to develop and finalize project scope. There were several hurdles that Megan encountered during this project, but she handled them with grace while maintaining a positive attitude. On her second-to-last day of her co-op, she presented the definition DSP to the refinery leadership team and got approval from the plant manager to implement the project. This project will create $1.1 million dollars in profit for the company per year, which gives a ~170% internal rate of return.

What impact did the student have on your organization?

Outside of Megan's impressive work performance, Megan took advantage of several volunteering and leadership opportunities during her second co-op term with Marathon. She was heavily involved with the women's employee network that supports women in refining, volunteered to read to elementary school children through Read for America, volunteered to plant 500+ trees in Lake Pontchartrain near New Orleans, was selected for the competitive intern/co-op advisory board where she planned and executed events throughout the semester for all interns/co-ops across the company, and participated in Toastmasters where she refined her public speaking skills. Megan was truly a joy to work with and her work will benefit the refinery for years to come.

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the Student Impact award?

Megan is one of the most driven and inquisitive co-ops that I have seen come through the Marathon co-op program. Everyone that worked with Megan has spoken highly of her positive attitude, her ability to manage priorities, and her passion for learning. Megan already carries herself like a full-time engineer with bountiful leadership qualities. She took initiative to plan unit tours with several engineers so that she and the other co-ops could learn about refining technology. She also took the lead on the group co-op project that involved teaching people how to use the new conference room technology. Based on what I witnessed over the past few months, I can't wait to see what Megan accomplishes in the future. 

What three words would you use to describe this student?

Innovative, driven, and servant-leader





2023 Student Nominees

William Ayres
Fuyao Glass America Inc.

Michael Brummett
Republic Airways Inc.

Alex Chen 
MindHome Inc.

Robert Crawford

Gianluca DiStaola

Sam Duckworth 
Brigham and Women's Hospital

Jill Feilen 

Samuel Harmeyer
Cincinnati's Children's Medical Center

Muheeb Hijazeen 
GE Aerospace

Zoe Kayafas

Faiz Khan 
Corteva Agriscience

Ed Klute

Jon Lemieux
Honda Development & Manufacturing of America 

Brianna Mallare
Air Force Lifecycle Management Center 

Nicholas Mascolo 

Nathan McLaughlin 
Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth LLC

Jacob Qvick

Jason Roussos
GE Aviation

Daniela Schmitz
Hasbro, Inc.

Caden Spurlock 
Cenovus Energy/ Husky Marketing and Supply Company

Ruchira Sumanasekera
GE Appliances

Kyle Walter
Applied Sciences, Inc.

Ying Xue

Mackenzie Yoke 
Sands Decker