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 2019 Medalists!
Industrial Systems & Engineering
Since entering the UW, Thanika Painruttanasukho has been ISE’s top performing student in her academic work, research and extra-curricular activities. A Mary Gates Scholar, Thanika has dedicated her time to undergraduate research with a global impact. In her first research project, she optimized transportation and logistics for the distribution of childhood vaccines in Africa. Her work was recognized with an Undergrad Research Symposium Population Health Award. She is now designing an optimization tool for the distribution of medical supplies in Africa. In Seattle, Thanika is working on a research project with the homeless assistance organization WA 2-1-1, evaluating their call center in order to better utilize resources.
Outside of her academic work, Thanika is an active member of the UW community. She serves on the ASUW Senate and on the board for the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS). She volunteers as a library assistant to the blind and has held multiple internship positions at companies in Thailand. After her success in computer science courses, she was offered a place in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering as a post-baccalaureate student following her graduation in June 2019.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
With passion and enthusiasm, Alex Ratcliff has dedicated his time at the UW to improving sustainability on both a local and international level. As vice president of the student group UW Solar, Alex oversaw installations of solar arrays on three west campus residence halls, and led the incorporation of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) panels on the Life Sciences Building, the second installation of a BIPV system in the state of Washington. He also designed a rooftop solar array for the building, which will begin construction in summer 2019. Currently, Alex is working on a feasibility study for solar installations in the UW Greek system, the Population Health Building and the Burke Museum.
In his undergraduate research, Alex investigates the impact of climate change on rice production in southeast Asia. In 2017, he was part of a team of students and faculty that deployed small-scale alternative energy systems in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. He is currently exploring the use of groundwater in Drumheller Foundation to reduce the use of municipal water. After graduating as part of the inaugural cohort in the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering program, he plans to pursue a career in the sustainable building industry.