PSAAA Recipients for 2022-2023

psaaa-winners-2022 Provost's Student Academic Achievement Award Recipients - 2022

Below are the 2022 honorees and some of their accomplishments: 

Elise Belanger, Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics

Elise has also earned the Lockheed Martin Leadership Certificate, a competitive and highly
challenging set of courses and requirements, which she completed in addition to her double
majors. As a member of a research team focused on understanding functional analysis in novice
designers, she received Miami University’s Undergraduate Research Award as a leading
contributor. She is the first student author on two manuscripts related to this project, and has
served as a teaching assistant in MME courses. Elise’s leadership is illustrated in her role as a
tutor for the Rinella Learning Center and her leadership role in Engineers Without Borders.
Elise’s nominator, Dr. Jinjuan She, wrote: “Elise demonstrates a variety of her high-bar qualities
that are important to researchers, such as teamwork, leadership, communication, creativity,
independence, and persistence.”

Evan Danielson, Chemical Engineering and Piano Performance

Evan’s accomplishments include several awards and honors, such as: the Miami University
Undergraduate Summer Scholars Award and Undergraduate Research Award, first prize in the
Geoffrey P. Hall Undergraduate Artist Competition, and winning the Miami University Concerto
Competition Winner. Evan’s research with his nominator Dr. Jason Berberich, focuses on
creating cleaning products that are effective and use fewer environmentally damaging
chemicals. Evan has presented his research results at the National Meeting of the American
Institute of Chemical Engineers, at the North Central Meeting of the American Institute of
Chemical Engineers, and the National Meeting for the American Chemical Society. He has one
accepted research article as well. Dr. Berberich, notes that “Evan learns new skills and
techniques with ease; I have been quite impressed how quickly he has become independent in
the lab and how well he works with other students.”

Shianne Baldwin, Studio Art, Art Education

Shianne is a thoughtful individual who is engaged with and excited for arts education and therapy. She has taught in the Saturday Art program and has served as a teaching assistant for other Saturday Art teachers—offering them mentorship, advice, and service.  One of her nominators, Dr. Stephanie Danker, commented, “Shianne is a caring, respectful and open-minded young artist and art educator, and exhibits an excitement to learn and grow from her life experiences. She embraces diversity and building relationships with others and she embodies Miami University’s motto of love and honor.”

Jessica Flower, Biomedical Engineering

Jessica’s is also earning a mechanical engineering minor. Her nominator, Dr. Andrew Jones,
wrote that, “I estimate that by the end of Spring 2022, Jessica will have spent approximately
800 hours working in my research lab. The dedication Jessica shows to her research proves to
me that she has the work ethic and mental mindset required for future success in graduate
school.” Jessica’s research focuses on the production of psilocybin, which is used in the
treatment of substance abuse and addiction, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress
disorder. Her work forms the proof-of-principle foundation for a patent application, and has
been presented at the National Meeting of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers,
where she won third place in her section’s poster competition.

Zoe Platow, Biochemistry and Psychology

In addition to her double-major, Zoe is completing a co-major in neuroscience. Her research on
rats explores whether benzodiazepine exposure in adolescence increased the likelihood of drug
and alcohol abuse in adulthood. Related to this research Zoe has received a Doctoral
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Scholarship, a University Summer Scholars award, an
Undergraduate Research Award, and a research grant from the Honors College. She has has
presented her research at a Society for Neuroscience meeting and the International Behavioral
Neuroscience meeting, and will be an author on at least four publications related to the work.
Zoe’s nominator, Dr. Matthew McMurray, notes that, “She demonstrates a strong commitment
to research, driven by both her personal experiences and a deep understanding of the
importance of research in guiding healthcare and public policy.”

Hannah Seinfeld, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology

Hannah is also completing minors in child studies and youth development and disability studies.
She was nominated Dr. Arnold Olszewski, who wrote that her “contributions to research
have been exceptional for an undergraduate- often commensurate with the level of
involvement of a typical of a Master’s thesis student.” In this work, she evaluates the
instructional quality of education apps, and also seeks to understand how accessible these
learning tools are for students from different cultural backgrounds, and with linguistic and
learning differences. In addition to working with Dr. Olszewski, Hannah has engaged in research
with Dr. Katherine Kuvalanka. She has presented her multiple strands of research at ASHA
Schools Connect Conference, the National Council on Family Relations Conference, and at the
Miami University Undergraduate Research forum.

Haley Sieg, Biomedical Engineering and Theatre

In addition to her double majors, Haley is a co-major in pre-medical studies and is completing a
minor in musical theater and dance. Haley leads a research team for her nominator, Dr. Jessica
Sparks, which is focused on developing a fully synthetic anatomical model of the human lumbar spine for medical student training. Dr. Sparks notes that “Haley’s love of theatre and her ability
to merge two such disparate fields as theatre and biomedical engineering into a wildly
successful undergraduate career make her one of the most remarkable students I have
encountered here at Miami.” Additionally, Haley served as a COVID-19 contact tracer for Miami
University and the Butler Country Health Department, and is actively engaged in student
organizations both in engineering and theatre.

Kyra Stillwell, Physics

Kyra is also minoring in mechanical engineering. Her research has focused on the fabrication
and characterization of intermetallic materials, which involves detailed experimental
techniques. Her nominator, Dr. Mahmud Kahn, writes that “Kyra is a highly motivated and
talented student with great dedication for science. She is pleasant, sincere, and has
demonstrated a great potential to be an excellent researcher.” She has presented her research
at the University of Texas and the Joint MMM-Intermag Conference, which is the premier
international conference in her area, and she is a co-author on one publication related to this
work. Kyra spent a summer as an intern with a company working on defense and space
manufacturing, where she demonstrated her ability to work across disciplines.

Kinshuk Tella, Geology and Environmental Science

Kinshuk’s research focuses on toxic metals that are present in road paint, which has
implications for human health and for the environment. Kinshuk was nominated by Drs. Mark
Krekeler and Claire Mcleod, who wrote that, “In addition to traditional research, Kinshuk has
obtained two extremely high-profile internships indicating a level of balance between academic
research and professional experience not commonly realized by STEM students.” Kinshuk
worked as an environmental health and safety intern, who worked on air pollution control as
well as stormwater compliance and hazardous waste management, and also as an intern for the
Earth Day network, where he excelled in research, planning, and implementing projects.
Further, he served as a Resident Assistant at Miami University, which exemplifies his
commitment to serving his community.