Dean's Medal for Academic Excellence

Each year, the UW Engineering dean recognizes two exceptional students for academic excellence. Students must meet specific eligibility requirements and are selected from among those nominated by department chairs and reviewed by a selection committee.

Selection criteria include grades, rigor and distribution of courses, research experience, extracurricular activities, and leadership.

Congratulations to the 2013 Medalists!

Natalie Larson

Materials Science & Engineering

Natalie Larson photo

Natalie started her undergraduate career conducting research in the Lamborghini Lab the summer before her freshman year. During this research experience, she learned that she really enjoyed breaking things and wanted to pursue a career researching structural materials from the Materials Science and Engineering standpoint.

More about Natalie Larson

At the end of her freshman year, she joined the Flinn group in MSE where she conducted research on interpenetrating polymer networks and fluorescent probes. She recently presented her research at SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) Tech, JEC, SAMPE, and ISNDCM. Her research and travel were funded by a Washington Research Foundation Fellowship and a travel award from the UW Office of Research, the Mary Gates Endowment, the Levinson Emerging Scholars Program, the WRF, and the UW URP.

Natalie is also a Washington Scholars Scholar, a NASA Space Grant Scholar, a National SAMPE Student Leader Experience Award Recipient, and a CRC Freshman Achievement Award Recipient. She will graduate with departmental and college honors.

Outside of her classes, Natalie is a part of the UW SAMPE Chapter. Every year, SAMPE competes in a student bridge contest at the SAMPE Conference. As VP her junior year and president her senior year, she helped give undergraduates hands-on experience with the design and manufacturing of composite materials.

Natalie will begin her PhD in the fall at UCSB with support from an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a Chancellor's Fellowship, and an Institute for Energy Efficiency Fellowship.


Raymond Zhang

Computer Science & Engineering

Raymond Zhang photo

Raymond entered the UW in 2008 at the age of 12 through the Robinson Center's Early Entrance Program and enrolled in Computer Engineering at 13. He is graduating with double degrees in Computer Engineering and Biology.

More about Raymond Zhang

Raymond was named a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar in spring 2012. He has received the Kildall Endowed Scholarship and Microsoft Scholarship in CSE and a UW Mary Gates Research Scholarship, and he is a member of multiple honor societies.

In addition to his research work at the Samudrala Computational Biology Research Group, he has broadened his experience through a summer internship at Arista Networks and a summer undergraduate research program at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Raymond has many interests outside the classroom. He has played the piano for well over a decade. Prior to admission to his department, he had already received many awards such as winner of his age group in the international Young Pianists Competition. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and several times at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Raymond is also a former member of the Columbia Choirs in Seattle and this year played Hortensio in the Early Entrance Program Drama Society’s production of "The Taming of the Shrew."

After graduation in June, Raymond plans to start work in October at Google as a software developer for a few years. He is contemplating returning to academia down the road to complete a PhD or a combined MD/PhD.