SEAS faculty and students recognized for outstanding leadership

Outdoor view of sunset over lake.

Two SEAS faculty members and students were honored at the University at Buffalo's 2024 Pillar of Leadership Awards.

By Elizabeth Egan 

Published May 20, 2024

Multiple faculty members and students from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences were honored at the 2024 Pillars of Leadership Awards, previously the LEAD Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to leadership and service at the University at Buffalo. Winners were nominated by students, faculty and staff. 


Alina Vereshchaka, assistant professor of teaching in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Kristen Moore, associate dean for equity and inclusion and associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education; and Daysia Augustin, a senior in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, were all presented with leadership and development awards at a ceremony on April 25. The UB chapter of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), a student group in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, also received a recognition.

Vereshchaka was presented with the Exemplary Mentorship Award for mid-level faculty, recognizing her outstanding commitment to mentoring, developing, supporting and positively impacting students. She takes a holistic approach to mentorship, prioritizing her student’s professional, personal and academic development while demonstrating genuine care for their overall well-being.

One of her nominators said, “She invested significant time in nurturing my skills and confidence, providing guidance that has been instrumental in my development.”

Moore was presented with the Exemplary Mentorship Award for senior faculty, for her efforts to provide students with tangible opportunities while also making them feel heard and included. She has spearheaded a number of initiatives to provide valuable opportunities, including helping to send over 50 students to a National Society of Black Engineers conference that took place in March.

Moore’s nominator said, “She is truly a rarity and a gem in our UB faculty and deserves her due recognition for her outstanding commitment to mentoring, developing, supporting, and positively impacting undergraduate students through her participation, support, and active engagement.”

Augustin was honored with the Exemplary Student Leader Award, acknowledging her excellence in leadership and advocacy in the UB community as well as her commitment to addressing societal inequalities. Augustin founded the UB Women’s Healthcare and Wellness Association to raise awareness of women’s health issues. She is a mentor in the UB Upward Bound Program, where she works with underrepresented high school students to help them pursue their goals in higher education. Augustin will attend the University of Rochester in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in genetic counseling.

INFORMS members received the Student Organization Award for Excellence in Academics and Service. The group is recognized for the numerous programs they organized in the spring semester, such as a student tour of the Linde Corporation, an industry and academia panel with alumni, and workshops to help new PhD students to prepare for qualifying exams. The group has also worked with the International Institute of Buffalo to help immigrants and refugees in the area as well as participated in several other service projects, outreach initiatives and pro bono projects for community members.