SEAS Class of 2015: Top Honors

Apr 08 2015 | By Melanie Farmer

Top academic honors for the Class of 2015 go to Nicole Lewis and Andrew Kaluzny, who have been named class valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. As valedictorian, Lewis will be awarded the Illig Medal and is set to deliver the valedictorian speech at Engineering Class Day, May 18, 2015, on the south lawn of the Morningside Campus. In the following Q-and-A, we learn a few fun facts about each outstanding graduate, from their go-to places to study on campus, favorite classes and hobbies, to where they’re off to next.

>Nicole Lewis
Nicole Lewis, Valedictorian

Nicole Lewis, Valedictorian

Major:  Mechanical Engineering, minor in Computer Science
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, CO

Favorite place to study:
A tie between Lehman Library in the School of Public and International Affairs (SIPA) and Barnard Library in Lehman (and not just because once I mixed them up!)

Favorite CORE class:
Technology, Religion, and the Future; I really enjoyed exploring the different hypothetical possibilities of where technology will take us.

Senior design project:
An exoskeleton that will be capable of transmitting forearm, wrist, and finger motion and replicating it on a 3D printed hand.

Post-graduation plans:
Joining the propulsion team at Virgin Galactic in August, but before that, I’m hoping to explore a new part of the world.

Who’s coming to graduation:
My family! I’m excited to see my sister, parents, and grandparents.

Dream job:
Going to space

Words to live by:
Look good, feel good, do good.

Hobbies:
Running (thanks to Columbia Road Runners); reading (books, BuzzFeed articles, blogs, etc.); and relaxing with friends, family, and Netflix

Last book you read:
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch; 10/10 would recommend!

Unforgettable SEAS memories:
I will definitely remember the amazing opportunities that I’ve had (like traveling to Morocco to build a bridge and start a water supply project) and the fantastic people I’ve met—fellow engineering nerds, AXO sisters, Hartley 5 survivors, and too many others to list here!

Your definition of engineering:
Engineering [n]: The endless world of problem solving, creative designing, hands-on building, and 2 a.m. coffee.


Andrew Kaluzny, Salutatorian

 

Andrew Kaluzny, Salutatorian

Major: Applied Mathematics, minor in Computer Science
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Favorite course:
COMS W4995: Cryptography & Financial Processes taught by Michael Rabin

Senior project:
I did a project looking at data on NYC health inspections. I was mostly looking for patterns in how restaurants fared from one inspection to the next.

Favorite CORE class:
Contemporary Civilization; It was a great introduction to some thinkers and ideas I don’t think I would have encountered otherwise.

Favorite place to study:
If I’m writing a paper, probably the Science & Engineering Library; for problem sets, I like working in my room where I have a couple of whiteboards set up.

Hobbies: 
Hiking, LEGO, and baking; I’m currently refining a recipe for chocolate caramel shortbread bars!

Words to live by:
Correlation does not imply causation.

Post-graduation plans:
An internship with Redfin back in Seattle for the summer, and then I’ll be pursuing a PhD in applied math at Brown.

Who’s coming to graduation:
My parents and my aunt and uncle

Your definition of engineering:
The systematic application of human knowledge to solve problems

What did you gain most from SEAS:
A solid understanding of the basics, of first principles—I’ve acquired a good sense of technical intuition that will serve me well in whatever kinds of problems I may encounter in the future.