Congratulations to Our 2022 Undergraduate Department Award Winners

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Pictured left to right, top row: Esa Adil, Zachary Breit and Daniel De Leon; center row: Catherine Gao, Caitlin Lee and Wensen Liu; bottom row: Sophia Seo, John Ting and Alexander Tran.

On May 4, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with the Clark School of Engineering celebrated undergraduate students for their outstanding excellence in academics, leadership, and service during the annual A. James Clark School of Engineering Honors and Awards Ceremony.

Among this year’s 69 award recipients were nine electrical and computer engineering students recognized with the following awards:

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Outstanding Academic Performance Award is presented to a junior for academic excellence. The 2022 awardee was:

  • Wensen Liu

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Service Award is presented to graduating seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to both their fellow students and the department. The 2022 awardees were:

  • Muhammad (Esa) Adil
  • Catherine Gao

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chair’s Award is presented to a senior for outstanding academic performance.

The 2022 electrical engineering awardees were:

  • Caitlin Lee
  • Sophia Seo
  • John Ting

The 2022 computer engineering awardees were:

  • Zachary Breit
  • Daniel De Leon
  • Alexander Tran

About this year’s awardees (in alphabetical order)

Esa Adil is a senior electrical engineering major with a computer engineering minor. He has been an undergraduate teaching fellow with the electrical and computer engineering department for three years. Esa has also served as a tutor for ENEE140, 205, and 303. Starting last semester, he assumed the role of recruiting assistant to support the department with recruiting and creating materials for teaching fellows. Esa was also awarded the Michael Barr Teaching Fellows scholarship for his teaching and leadership services. After graduation, he will be working in the embedded systems field before starting graduate school.


Zachary Breit is a senior computer engineering major and a Gemstone Honors student. For his Gemstone research, Zach studies the security of biometric authentication with a team of nine honors students. He also conducts research under Dr. Gil Blankenship to develop a robot for transporting surgical equipment inside hospitals. Outside of class, Zach is the Mobile App Lead for Bitcamp, a 1000-person hackathon at UMD, where he oversees a small team of mobile developers. After graduation, Zach plans to work as an embedded computer engineer at Key Tech Inc., a medical device company in Baltimore.

Daniel De Leon is a senior computer engineering student. He has a 3.99 GPA and was a member of the College Park Scholars program. During his first summer as an engineering student, Daniel conducted research at the Information Technology Laboratory within the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). For his second internship, he worked virtually on AI research at UMD’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS). Last summer, Daniel interned for a government contractor developing a software application. He plans to work for a software company following graduation and may pursue a graduate degree in the future.

Catherine Gao is a senior electrical engineering student. She served as the president of IEEE @ UMD, and is a member of the ECE Undergraduate Affairs Committee and Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society. Catherine is a mentor in the ECE Peer Mentorship Program, as well as serving the IEEE Region 2 as Student Representative, where she organized activities and advocated for over 2,600 IEEE student members in Region 2. She was also a member of the Technica hackathon organizing team and an Honors Ambassador. Catherine will be joining NVIDIA as a patent engineer after graduation and plans to attend law school in the future to pursue patent law.

Caitlin Lee is a senior electrical engineering student. She is an undergraduate teaching fellow and was a tutor for the Electric Circuits course in the electrical and computer engineering department. Caitlin has also been a session leader for Differential Equations through the Guided Study Sessions program. She is a member of the Gemstone program on Team MIND, working on addressing the ethical challenges of medical AI. After graduation, Caitlin will be working at Key Tech in Baltimore, MD.

Wensen Liu is a junior mechanical and electrical engineering student. He is a member of the Gemstone Honors Program as part of team BCIPRO, which seeks to develop a non-invasive, brain-computer interface controlled prosthetic device. He is also the lab coordinator for the Instructional Fabrication Lab at Terrapin Works being primarily responsible for providing design and manufacturing advice to student teams and research groups, as well as guiding Terrapin Works as an organization. Wensen plans for his career to be in robotics and autonomous systems research and development and hopes to make robots ubiquitous.

Sophia Seo is a senior electrical engineering student. Sophia is an active member of Tau Beta Pi, in which she stays connected with fellow engineers. She currently researches the rapidly growing field of human-robot interaction in the Intelligent Servosystems Laboratory. The culmination of this project will award her Clark School Honors. Sophia will remain committed to excellence in her new position at Northrop Grumman and in graduate studies in the near future.

John Ting is a senior electrical engineering student with a 3.991 GPA. He is a member of Team GECKO in the Gemstone Honors Program. As a member of Team GECKO, John conducts research on the fabrication of soft, magnetically controllable films. In the coming fall, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

Alexander Tran is a senior computer engineering student with a 3.97 GPA in the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students honors college program. He is an Honors Ambassador and has served as a mentor for ClarkWELCOME and Clark COMMUNITY as well as vice president of IEEE @ UMD. He has completed internships at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Amazon. After graduation, Alexander will join Amazon in Seattle as a software development engineer.

Published May 12, 2022