Meet the Class of 2015 Valedictorians

Class of 2015 Valedictorians
(From left) Brett Baker, Grace Kuo and Eric Hsu, the Class of 2015 Valedictorians for the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

Brett Baker, Biomedical Engineering. Baker is an outstanding example of a scholar-athlete at Washington University. During his four years in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, he has been a varsity athlete in cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and was a national competitor in cross-country in 2013. In the fall of 2014, he was captain of the cross-country team. In addition to his coursework, he was an Organic Chemistry I teaching assistant in the fall of 2013 and was a Problem Solving Team Leader for Introduction to Biomedical Engineering in the fall of 2012. During the summers, the Wayland, Mass., native participated in various research opportunities, including the summer of 2012 in the lab of Eric Galburt, PhD, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine; and the summer of 2013 as a Wiese Fellowship recipient at Sigma-Aldrich Corp., where he spent 10 weeks as an intern developing techniques to transiently produce large quantities of recombinant protein therapeutics. In the summer of 2014, he was an intern with The Boston Consulting Group working on a project with a non-profit foundation working to improve health-care delivery in the developing world. He will join The Boston Consulting Group full time after graduating. Baker received the Antoinette Frances Dames Award for Productive Scholarship in Engineering and was named Sophomore Student of the Year. In his free time, Baker enjoys rock climbing.

Eric Hsu, Biomedical Engineering, Systems Science & Engineering and Electrical Engineering. While a Washington University Engineering student, Hsu has taken advantage not only of the academic opportunities in the school, but extracurricular research and leadership opportunities as well. In addition to having three majors, Hsu has worked in the lab of Jonathan Silva, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, since January 2013, studying cardiac sodium channels. Previously, he worked for one year in the lab of Gustav Akk, PhD, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine. In addition, he had summer research opportunities for the last four summers, including at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory Bioengineering Division in Lexington, Mass. Outside of the classroom and the lab, Hsu, a St. Louis native, has been involved with the WU Asian Multicultural Council, serving as president and treasurer; has been president and treasurer of the WU Asian Christian Fellowship and has been a teaching assistant and tutor in biomedical engineering, electrical & systems engineering and chemistry. In addition, he has been a systems science student advisory board member in Electrical & Systems Engineering; a proctor and scribe for students with disabilities through WU Cornerstone; and was a surgery registration volunteer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Hsu earned numerous awards and scholarships during his time at Washington University, including the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, the David H. Levy Outstanding Senior Award, the Outstanding Senior Award in Biomedical Engineering, the Russell M. Pfeiffer Outstanding Junior Award, the Outstanding Junior Academic Achievement Award in Biomedical Engineering; the Antoinette Frances Dames Award. He also is a member of numerous academic honor societies. Next fall, he will begin an MD/PhD program at University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center.

Grace Kuo, Electrical Engineering, with minors in physics and art. Kuo has been very active both academically and with extracurricular activities in her four years at Washington University. As president of the Washington University Rube Goldberg Club since Fall 2012, she earned national recognition when the team won first place in the 2013 National Rube Goldberg Competition and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. The team also won the People's Choice Award and second place in the 2014 competition. The Ellicott City, Md., native also took advantage of summer research opportunities, working as a summer research intern at Johns Hopkins University Medical School in 2012; as an international research intern at the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2013; and as a summer research program intern at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2014. At Washington University, she was a Peer Led Team Learning Leader and a teaching assistant for the Engineering Electromagnetics course. She is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu electrical and computer engineering honor society and is vice president of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. In 2014, she was the undergraduate student representative on the search committee for the dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science. She recently received an honorable mention from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program and earned the David H. Levy Outstanding Senior Award from the Department of Electrical Engineering. In addition, Kuo is president of the Washington University Juggling Club. She organized the annual St. Louis Jugglefest Showcase in 2013 and 2014 and performed annually in the Lunar New Year Festival Show, for which she was choreographer in 2014 and 2015. Kuo will begin a doctoral program in electrical engineering next fall at the University of California, Berkeley.

The School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis focuses intellectual efforts through a new convergence paradigm and builds on strengths, particularly as applied to medicine and health, energy and environment, entrepreneurship and security. With 91 tenured/tenure-track and 40 additional full-time faculty, 1,300 undergraduate students, more than 900 graduate students and more than 23,000 alumni, we are working to leverage our partnerships with academic and industry partners — across disciplines and across the world — to contribute to solving the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.