The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis will celebrate one of the largest groups of valedictorians in the school’s history. This year, 21 students were recognized for having a 4.0 cumulative GPA with no repeated courses.

“These are students who were the highest academic achievers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Kroeger, associate dean for undergraduate student services in McKelvey Engineering. “They were able to focus despite the many other things going on. I’m very impressed with the resilience they’ve shown in overcoming one of the greatest challenges their generation will face.”

According to Kroeger, the average GPA throughout the university increased this year as the university community adjusted to changes brought on by social distancing and other public health policies.

“There was greater sensitivity shown to students related to their mental health and well-being because of the concern that the faculty and the university had about COVID-19,” he said.

McKelvey Engineering will celebrate the Class of 2022 during the Engineering Recognition Ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 19, at the Washington University Field House.

Biomedical Engineering | Computer Science & Engineering | Electrical & Systems Engineering |
Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

Biomedical Engineering

Cameron Bleem

Majoring in biomedical engineering
Hometown: Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Extracurriculars: Engineering Student Council
Post-graduation plans: Bleem plans to return to WashU to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.

“Leave your dorm. I get it: You're an introvert and people are scary because you assume the worst about them. I still feel that to this day, but if you expect things to go badly, they will. If you think you'd get along with someone, then you've already won.” 

 

Kathleen Cheng 

Majoring in computer science and in biomedical engineering
Hometown: San Jose, California
Extracurriculars: Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Ensemble.
Post-graduation plans: Cheng plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Stanford University.

“I will miss the people the most. I feel fortunate to have started and ended my time at WashU in person rather than online, and it's been really nice to live so close to my friends in my senior year before we all go our separate ways.”

 

Michael Qiu

Majoring in biomedical engineering
Hometown: Stow, Massachusetts
Extracurriculars: Design/Build/Fly and Studio: TESLA
Post-graduation plans: Qiu plans to attend medical school.

“Get involved early and often in anything that might interest you. Don't worry about whether you'll have too much on your plate; you can always adjust your commitments as you transition to life in college and discover what you really care about.” 

 

Computer Science & Engineering

Isaac Bock

Majoring in computer science with a second major in cognitive neuroscience and a minor in Spanish
Hometown: Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Extracurriculars: TEDxWUSTL, Studio: TESLA and the Langsdorf Scholars
Post-graduation plans: Bock will work as a software engineer at Invisibly, a content platform founded by WashU alumnus Jim McKelvey.

“I’m so grateful for my time at WashU and all of the amazing, driven and humble people I’ve met here. One of my favorite WashU memories is my first TEDxWUSTL event, from team bonding in the chaos backstage to being able to share something I was excited about with friends.” 

 

Yuanqi 'Reggie' Cai

Majoring in computer science with a second major in finance and minor in mathematics
Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin
Extracurriculars: Student Investment Fund, Arch Consulting, Campus Y, Tau Beta Pi, Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Delta Phi
Post-graduation plans: Cai will work as a software engineer at OpenStore, a startup in Florida.

“I will miss the tremendous community of friends, mentors and professors that I have had the privilege of getting to know and befriend. A community that fostered my entrepreneurial spirit, pushed me out of my comfort zone and supported me when I failed. My WashU community transformed me for the better in nearly every aspect of my professional and personal life, influencing everything from my career endeavors to my taste in music.”

 

Michael Casey

Majoring in computer science and applied chemical engineering
Hometown: Seattle
Extracurriculars: Design for America, Lock and Chain and the Student Sustainability Board
Post-graduation plans: Casey will work as a software engineer for Snap Inc. in New York City.

“My favorite WashU memory is crosswords with friends! Sophomore year, I started doing the New York Times crossword every Tuesday and Thursday with groups of friends in Schnucks Pavilion and Law Cafe. It was always fun trying to race to finish the Tuesday crossword before class and to puzzle over the Thursdays' themes over lunch. When COVID hit, we kept up the tradition and hopped on weekly Zoom calls, which helped us remain connected even though we were scattered across the country.”

 

Kathleen Cheng 

Cheng is also listed under the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

 

Grayson Derossi

Majoring in computer science with minors in biology and in music
Hometown: Las Vegas
Extracurriculars: Running Club and undergraduate researcher in the lab of Barani Raman, professor of biomedical engineering.
Post-graduation plans: Derossi plans to pursue master’s degrees in computer science and in innovation and management at Tufts University.

“I'm looking forward to exploring a new place. One of the reasons I decided to come to WashU was because I'd never really spent time in the Midwest before, and I was excited about being somewhere new with different opportunities and cultures. I'll be doing the same thing this fall, and while it is a bit scary, I think once I get settled it will be a great experience.”

 

Shifan 'Tim' Dong

Majoring in computer science with a second major in mathematics
Hometown: Nanjing, China
Extracurriculars: Association of Computing Machinery, Math Club, Table Tennis Club and WU Racing.
Post-graduation plans: Dong plans to complete an internship at Google before returning to WashU to begin master’s studies.

“College opens up to us a whole new horizon, where we could discover, fail and adjust.”

 

Michael Ginn

Majoring in computer science with a minor in classics
Hometown: Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Extracurriculars: Club Volleyball, After Dark A Cappella, Alpha Delta Phi and Tau Beta Pi
Post-graduation plans: Ginn plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computational linguistics.

“I’ll miss the friends that constantly push me out of my comfort zone and have helped me find some of the things I'm most passionate about.”

 

Aidan Kelley

Majoring in computer science with a second major in mathematics
Hometown: St. Louis
Extracurriculars: Run Club and Swing Club
Post-graduation plans: Kelley plans to pursue a doctoral degree in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

“While there are many great things I will miss at WashU, I will undoubtedly miss my mom the most. She works at WashU’s University College.”

 

Katie Lund

Majoring in computer science with a second major in cognitive neuroscience and a minor in music
Hometown: Libertyville, Illinois
Extracurriculars: Women in Computer Science, Studio: TESLA, teaching assistant for the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and research assistant in the lab of Keith Hengen, assistant professor of biology
Post-graduation plans: Lund will work as a software engineer for Google in Seattle.

“I’m so excited to move to Seattle! I have talked to recent WashU grads who live there, and they love the atmosphere and all the relaxing outdoor activities. Workwise, I’m really hoping to one day work on projects and products that promote accessibility and technology to support people with disabilities.”

 

Sam McGarey

Majoring in computer science
Hometown: Wellesley, Massachusetts
Post-graduation plans: McGarey plans to move to the Bay Area to work for Meta.

“After two years of COVID isolation I’m excited to enter a work environment with in-person interaction. I would like to thank my friends and family for being an unshakable support network for me and for making my time at WashU so memorable.”

 

Josh Pullen

Majoring in computer science and math
Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
Extracurriculars: Teaching assistant for the Department of Computer Science & Engineering and academic mentor for the Department of Mathematics
Post-graduation plans: Pullen will work as a junior cloud engineer at Applied Research Associates Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“I'll certainly miss being a TA, from the satisfaction of teaching to making memes for CSE 131. I'll miss living close to all my friends and somehow always bumping into people I know on campus. And, of course, I'll miss my classes and the relationships I have formed with my professors. I would especially like to thank Professor Dennis Cosgrove and Professor Doug Shook for being incredible professors and for being reliable sources of guidance whenever I needed it.” 

 

David Shen

Majoring in computer science and math
Hometown: Shanghai
Extracurriculars: Math Club
Post-graduation plans: Shen plans to earn a doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

“As much as it's human nature to be risk averse, I encourage you to be bold to take risks, as long as they are educated. By educated, I mean to both consider the probability of each scenario and the stakes. For an oversimplified case, check out the Kelly criterion.”

 

Aaron Stein

Majoring in computer science with a minor in mathematics
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Extracurriculars: Pit band member for Cast ‘n’ Crew and All Student Theatre, and a volunteer for the YMCA
Post-graduation plans: Stein plans to enroll in the University of Virginia’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program.

“It’s okay to not be sure of your path. Take time to figure out what you truly want to do, and make time to decompress with friends, pursue hobbies and explore the city.” 

 

Katie Stender-Moore

Majoring in computer science and economics
Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland
Extracurriculars: WashU women’s soccer, Engineering tutor and the Women & Engineering Leadership Society
Post-graduation plans: Stender-Moore plans to either pursue a master’s degree in computer science or data science or get a job.

“Honestly, I have no idea what I want to do after I graduate. I’m quite stressed about taking the next step. Sometimes, it feels like everyone else has it figured out; but, in reality, that is so far from the truth. If you’re having any of these same feelings, you are not alone. It will all work out.”

 

Zach Young

Majoring in computer science with minors in human-computer interaction and in entrepreneurship
Hometown: Green Brook, New Jersey
Extracurriculars: Developer Student Club, PGN, Sling Health, Lunar New Year Festival and teaching assistant for the Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Post-graduation plans: Young will work as a software engineer for Vanta, a security compliance startup based in New York.

“My most quintessential St. Louis experience happened in my freshman summer. The Blues had won the Stanley Cup and there was a huge parade downtown to celebrate. A couple of my friends and I decided to go. There were people absolutely everywhere — in parking garages and office buildings — watching the parade. It was pretty electric.”

 

Alan Zhu

Majoring in computer science and mathematics
Hometown: Houston

 

Electrical & Systems Engineering

Thomas Emerson

Majoring in applied science in systems engineering with a second major in finance
Hometown: Dallas
Extracurriculars: Moneythink
Post-graduation plans: Emerson will work as a restructuring analyst for Houlihan Lokey in Chicago.

“I’m most excited to meet new people and try new things! Whether that’s crossing paths with a successful entrepreneur or a foreign backpacker, it’s through shared experiences that I’ve always learned the most.”

 

Leo Karp

Majoring in electrical engineering
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Extracurriculars: Washington University Student Associate (WUSA), ESE Undergraduate Advisory Board, Resident Adviser, Peer-Led Team Learning and Tau Beta Pi
Post-graduation plans: Karp will work as an electrical engineer at Burns & McDonnell.

“When I first started at WashU, I began in the College of Arts & Sciences. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to study, and I had a whole four-year plan mapped out. Despite this, I veered away from that plan and decided to try out classes in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering. I ended up choosing electrical engineering when it came time to pick a major. Things sometimes change, so branch out, take that class that sounds interesting even if it doesn’t go towards a specific degree requirement, and explore different fields, as you never know what you might end up enjoying.”

 

Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering

Michael Casey

Casey is also listed under the Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Katy Moran

Majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in energy engineering
Hometown: Ballwin, Missouri
Extracurriculars: Women’s Squash, Society of Women Engineers, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Crow Observatory
Post-graduation plans: Moran plans to earn a master’s degree in energy engineering.

“Many of my best memories come from my time at Crow Observatory. The moment that stands out is when I first viewed Saturn through the Yeatman telescope. I could clearly make out the rings and, for a split second, I thought it was fake. Ever since, looking at the night sky has helped to reset my perspective on my place in the universe.”

 

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