Twenty SEAS Students honored at UB's Celebration of Academic Excellence

By Peter Murphy

Published April 27, 2022

Awardees include SUNY Chancellor Award for Student Excellence and NSF Graduate Fellowship recipients. 


Students across the University at Buffalo will be honored for their achievements and awards over the past year at the annual Celebration of Academic Excellence. The two-part event will take place on April 27 in two new locations: the Student Showcase will be held from 1 – 2:45 p.m. in Alumni Arena, with the Celebration Ceremony following at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. This is the first time the UB community will gather in-person for the ceremony in two years. Twenty students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are set to be honored at the ceremony. 

SUNY Chancellor Award for Student Excellence

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 and is given annually to recognize high-achieving SUNY students who excel in such areas as leadership, community service, campus involvement of the arts.

A headshot of Anoop Kiran.

Anoop Kiran, Aerospace Engineering, Recipient

Anoop Kiran of Nanuet is a Ronald McNair scholar, as well as a past recipient of the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship. He was recognized by the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as one of the 2020 Leaders in Excellence for his efforts as a student ambassador, a mentor for underrepresented students and as lead volunteer for the Future Alumni Leadership Council. Kiran also has interned at Boeing, where he worked on improving aviation safety. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

A headshot of Clayton Markham.

Clayton Markham, Environmental Engineering, Recipient

Clayton Markham of Syracuse is a presidential scholar in the University Honors College. Markham has performed research at UB, SUNY College of Environment and Forestry, and Syracuse University, and is a teaching assistant for first-year engineering seminar courses. He also developed a module for the first-year computer science seminar, challenging students to make computing antiracist. Markham founded the UB Solar District Cup Team and has performed with the a cappella group Buffalo Chips. He will graduate with a bachelor’s in environmental engineering.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. The award provides three years of support, including $40,000 per year plus tuition waiver and fees. Below is a list of SEAS students who either received, or were nominated for, the Fellowship:

  •  Riley Blasiak, Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering, Recipient
  • Anthony Cabanillas – Electrical Engineering, Nominee
  • Jesse Canavan - Chemical and Biological Engineering, Nominee
  • Evan Chugh – Computer Science and Engineering, Honorable Mention
  • Grant Hecht, Aerospace Engineering, Recipient
  • Isys Johnson, Computer Science and Engineering, Recipient
  • Anoop Kiran, Aerospace Engineering, Recipient
  • Matthew McCormick – Biomedical Engineering, Nominee
  • Andrew Mikalsen – Computer Science and Engineering, Nominee
  • Chi Nnoka – Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, Nominee
  • Kristen Place – Chemical and Biological Engineering, Nominee
  • Dylan Tua – Electrical Engineering, Nominee

National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships

The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships are awarded by the Department of Defense (DoD) to applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in, or closely related to, an area of DoD interest within one of fifteen disciplines. 

Maxwell McManus, Electrical Engineering PhD and recipient of the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Maxwell McManus, Electrical Engineering, Recipient

McManus is a PhD student and research assistant working with Electrical Engineering assistant professor Zhangyu Guan in the Wireless Intelligent Networking and Security (WINGS) lab. McManus’ research focuses on New Spectrum Technologies and Wireless Network Security. 

University at Buffalo Three Minute Thesis Competition

The Three Minute Thesis competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by PhD students by cultivating students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. 


Hamed Khorasani, Second Place

From Delijan, Iran, Hamed Khorasani is a PhD candidate in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Geophysical Union. In his research, he is developing a model to simulate the presence of wastewater effluent in US rivers and lakes. In the future, he would like to work in national labs as a large-scale modeling scientist.

UB Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award

This award recognized outstanding Student Showcase projects from each decanal area that achieve superiority in presentation, content and scope, and which therefore merit acknowledgement as efforts worthy of university-wide distinction. The UB SEAS Recipients are listed below:

  • Nika Rajabian, Chemical Engineering, Graduate Honoree
  • Achira Boonrath, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Undergraduate Honoree
  • Safiya Dodoo, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Undergraduate Honoree
  • Cailean Woods, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Philosophy, Undergraduate Honoree

Jacob Landerer, a student in Mechanical Engineering was nominated for the Critical Language Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

For a full list of honorees, visit the celebration website