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McKelvey Engineering Awards
The McKelvey Engineering Awards honor the professional accomplishments and service of distinguished alumni and friends.
Andre Audi excels at problem solving, whether he is engaged in designing a project or passionately leading the Alper Audi team in its growth and development as president. Since 1950, Alper Audi has delivered structural engineering consulting of the highest caliber for architects, contractors, developers and government. Based in St. Louis with a growing network of satellite locations, Alper Audi engineers are registered in more than 45 states.
With over 70 years in business and high-profile projects completed across the country, Alper Audi is regularly recognized as a leader in the field. More than 50% of the company’s assignments are performed on a design-build basis. The firm’s work produces an annual aggregate value of more than $2.5 billion.
As an early proponent of the design-build methodology, Andre is extremely proficient in delivering projects in a timely and efficient way, coupled with a parallel commitment to client service and adaptability. Andre’s expansive experience as a structural engineer enables rapid-fire thinking in structural shorthand and helps ensure ease of construction and reliable budgeting.
Since joining Alper Audi in 1987 and becoming a partner in 1997, Andre has leveraged the power of his approach and knowledge by mentoring and guiding young engineers in the firm. As a partner invested in fostering the interdisciplinary nature of engineering, the company was part of the Danforth Campus transformation as structural engineers for the Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall and the John M. Olin Library.
As an undergraduate, Andre was a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. He graduated top of the class with magna cum laude honors. Andre is an Eliot Society Patron member, supports the Alper Audi Scholarship and serves as a member of the Alumni Advisory Board.
Andre earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and a master of science degree in structural design from WashU in 1984.
As chief executive officer of Weyland Ventures and co-founder of Common Bond Hotel Collection, Mariah Gratz is an innovator at heart. Under her leadership, Weyland Ventures has more than doubled in size and scope as it continues bringing new life to urban communities by revitalizing the built environment through unique mixed-use developments. Weyland projects emphasize respecting the local fabric of each community while creating dynamic, 24-hour mixed-use neighborhoods full of charm, stories and vibrancy. Mariah’s recognition of the inevitability of change, the necessity of perseverance, and the importance of preserving local character is reflected across the Weyland Ventures portfolio.
Common Bond Hotel Collection, a Weyland Ventures subsidiary, is the continuation of Mariah’s vision for the company. Common Bond is a collection of revitalized properties throughout the heart of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country™, with each hotel showcasing a bespoke design. These projects demonstrate the flexibility of Mariah’s approach to development, creating concepts and designs that are authentic to communities.
Prior to Weyland Ventures, Mariah worked in medical device product development for ABIOMED. She chose to pursue her passion after realizing that like medical technology, real estate is – at its core – a product that can improve people’s lives in immeasurable ways.
Mariah has been recognized for her outstanding leadership, including the 2016 Louisville Business First “Forty Under 40” honoree, 2020 Louisville Business First “Enterprising Women” honoree, 2020 finalist for “Family Business CEOs to Watch” from Family Business Magazine and the 2021 Louisville Business First “Most Admired CEO.”
During her time as a WashU student, Mariah was a Woodward Merit Scholar and an athlete on the varsity soccer team. As an alum, she is involved with the Women & Engineering Center, past chair of the Alumni and Parent Admission Program and is an Eliot Society member.
Mariah earned a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering from WashU in 2002. She also holds a master of science degree in biomedical engineering from Imperial College London and a master of business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
With more than 30 years of experience in real estate investing, financing, development, and management, Craig Kaufman has created value through opportunistic real estate transactions while being a good steward of investor capital. In 1994, he founded the real estate investment company Kaufman Realty Group, now Kaufman Capital Partners, and has been a principal in property acquisitions, development, various joint ventures, structures, and financing.
Craig deliberately studies macro trends, markets and property types to develop disciplined investment strategies that leverage his real estate knowledge and collaborative professional relationships. During 2006 to 2007, Craig was a net seller of assets as it harvested returns during the peak of the commercial real estate cycle. Since the Great Recession, he has focused primarily on value creation in the multi-family sector, land strategies, and niche lending opportunities. Craig previously worked as a financial analyst and real estate consultant in New York City and St. Louis.
As an active volunteer, Craig’s community involvement runs deep. He is the president of the American Jewish Committee in Atlanta and member of the Urban Land Institute. He has served in leadership roles for the Small-Scale Development Gold Council, Camp Sunshine and the Jewish Education Loan Fund. The American Diabetes Association honored Craig with the Father of the Year award in 2012.
Dedicated to the university’s mission, Craig is the chair of the Atlanta Regional Cabinet, member of the Alumni Board of Governors and past executive chair for his Class Reunion committee. He is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and serves on the fraternity’s National Housing Board. He is an Eliot Society Benefactor and Life member and supports the Craig Kaufman Scholarship.
Craig earned a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree in civil engineering from WashU in 1986 and 1987, respectively.
Andrew Schiermeier, PhD
Alumni Achievement Award
For the past two decades, Andrew Schiermeier has served as an executive in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. His experience ranges from managing operations for startups to directing the strategic expansion of global brands. He is passionate about oncology, immunology, gene editing, cell therapy, and global health. In his current role as chief executive officer at AvenCell Therapeutics, Andrew leads the company in their mission to overcome the limitations of current-generation CAR-T cell therapies with an improved therapeutic window and substantially expand the types of cancer treatable with adoptive cell therapy.
Prior, Andrew served in a series of successive leadership roles within Intellia Therapeutics, Inc., a world leader in the biotech industry working to harness the genome editing technology CRISPR/Cas9 for human therapeutic use. It was the first company to demonstrate clinical efficacy in a systemically administered CRISPR-based therapeutic.
Andrew has previously served as the senior vice president and global head of Merck KGaA’s Oncology Business, the chief operating officer of Aura Biosciences, Inc, and was the chairman and chief executive officer of Lantibio, Inc. He spent seven years as chief executive officer of Medicine in Need Corporation, an international not-for-profit supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at developing and manufacturing affordable and effective vaccines that allow widespread use despite the economic and logistical challenges of the developing world
A former Woodward Merit Scholar, Andrew is an Eliot Society Patron member and supports the Langsdorf Scholars program which offers merit scholarships to engineering students with exceptional potential.
Andrew earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from WashU in 1991. He also holds a master of science degree in biomechanical engineering from Stanford University, a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge, a doctor of philosophy in engineering and applied mathematics from Harvard University and a master of business administration from College des Ingenieurs in Paris, France.
Engineering Entrepreneurship Award
Parag Mallick is recognized as an influential figure in the global proteomics community based on his innovative research and entrepreneurial success. He has over 100 publications and holds patents in the fields of artificial intelligence, proteomics technology, biomarker development, and nanotechnology.
In 2016, Parag co-founded Nautilus Biotechnology, a company with a vision to revolutionize biomedicine by unlocking the complexity of the human proteome. As chief scientist at Nautilus, Parag’s mission is to integrate breakthrough innovations in computer science, engineering, and biochemistry to develop a protein analysis platform of extreme sensitivity and scale. The objective at Nautilus is to enable important discoveries in biological research and health care by making it possible for every lab and researcher to benefit from this emerging frontier of biological science.
Parag’s array of research spans proteomics, computational and experimental systems biology, cancer biology and nanotechnology. In particular, he has been pioneering systems-biology and big-data approaches towards understanding disease mechanisms, discovering biomarkers and enabling personalized medicine.
His group at Stanford University, where he teaches and conducts research as an associate professor, has been developing a mix of quantitative proteomics, machine learning, and nanotechnology to perform systems biology studies of cancer initiation and progression that drive precision medicine approaches for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, as the initiator and principal investigator of the ProteoWizard Project, his group is at the forefront of developing open-source multi-omics data analysis methods.
Outside of his scientific interests, Parag is a professional magician and variety performer whose adventures in circus and magic have taken him all over the world for clients ranging from A-List celebrities to Fortune 500 companies. Parag stays civically involved as a member for the Canary Foundation and former site lead for Habitat for Humanity International. He is an Eliot Society member and supports scholarships for students from underrepresented communities.
Parag earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from WashU in 1997 and a doctor of philosophy in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2005, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship in systems biology from the Institute for Systems Biology.
Dave Rossetti and Jan Avent, PhD
As the vice president of university relations and research, Dave Rossetti was responsible for research collaborations at universities and institutions worldwide for Cisco Systems until his retirement in 2011. He held a variety of executive and engineering positions during his 17 year tenure with Cisco. His responsibilities ranged from managing product software development, to business unit management, to leading the Advanced Technology Center and the Cisco Research Center.
Jan Avent is a professor emerita in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at California State University, East Bay. She joined the faculty in 1989 and is the founder of the Aphasia Treatment Program, a unique intensive approach to speech and language rehabilitation following stroke and brain injury. Through her research, she authored the “Manual of Cooperative Group Treatment for Aphasia” as a chapter in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and other professional articles.
Dave is a member of the McKelvey Engineering National Council, the Class Reunion committee and trustee for the Computer History Museum. He is a passionate collector and builder of wood mechanical puzzles, regularly attending the annual International Puzzle Party, a gathering of the most serious mechanical puzzle collectors in the world. Jan is a board member of the Yosemite Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Yosemite National Park's resources and providing enriching visitor experiences in the park. They enjoy hiking with their rescued greyhound, Zoe.
Dave and Jan established the New Mexico Endowed Scholarship to make a WashU education accessible to more students in their community. As Eliot Society Patron and Life members, they support a Langsdorf Merit Scholarship for students to pursue unlimited opportunities for innovation and discovery. Dave was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award from McKelvey Engineering in 2004.
Jan earned a bachelor of science degree from Texas Tech University in 1977. She holds a master of arts degree from University of Kansas and a doctor of philosophy from the University of California, Santa Barbara and San Francisco.
Dave earned a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics and computer science from WashU in 1974. He holds a master of science degree in electrical in engineering and computer science from Stanford University.