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Congratulations to the 2016 Steiner Honorees


PUBLISHED: May 6, 2016

2016 Steiner Awards: Honoring Undergraduate Excellence

Rev. Thomas A. “Pops” Steiner, C.S.C., served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1928-38.
An 1899 civil engineering graduate of the University, Father Thomas Steiner, C.S.C., was dean of the College of Engineering from 1928 to 1938. He made a great impact on the course of the College of Engineering, but he made an even greater impact on the lives of his students. In 1948 former students of “Pops” Steiner established this award in his memory.

The six recipients of the 2016 Reverend Thomas A. Steiner Award are representative of the bright futures ahead for this year’s graduates. In particular, these seniors — Steven Brill, Huili Chen, Max Ducey, Adam Farchone, Zachary Imholte, and Laura Paquin — are being recognized for their all-around excellence, their commitment to engineering, and to the common good while undergraduates at Notre Dame.

This year’s honorees will be pursuing a variety of dreams after graduation that will keep them as engaged in engineering pursuits as they were during their undergraduate careers in the College of Engineering.

The 2016 Steiner recipients, from right to left, Adam Farchone, Steven Brill, Max Ducey, Laura Paquin, and Zachary Imholte. Huili Chen is not pictured.
As an undergraduate studying mechanical engineering, Brill worked as a student researcher in the Center for Shock Wave-processing of Advanced Reactive Materials. He was also a member of Tau Beta Pi and served as president of the Notre Dame Juggling Club. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he will be pursuing a doctorate in computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford University after graduation.

Pursuing a double degree — in computer science and psychology — with a minor in peace studies, Chen is from Guizhou, China. She has worked as an undergraduate researcher in both the Complex Networks Lab and the Emotive Computing Lab. She helped the University establish its first international social service learning program in her hometown and has participated in a variety of volunteer activities both locally and internationally, including the Appalachia Seminar, Great Lakes Caring, and Jaguar Animal Rescue Center. After graduation she will be entering the MIT Media Lab, a two-year, fully funded master's program in media arts and sciences.

A Portland, Ore. native, Ducey is graduating with a degree in civil engineering. He has served as a resident assistant in Keenan Hall, conducted undergraduate research with high-strength materials for use in nuclear energy infrastructure, and volunteered with other Notre Dame students through the University's Empowering through Engineering Development (NDSEED) program. Immediately after graduation, he will travel with an NDSEED team to build a bridge in Nicaragua after which he will begin full-time employment with Chicago Bridge & Iron as part of the company's rotational training program.

Farchone, who is receiving his bachelor's in chemical engineering with a concentration in biomolecular engineering. is taking his experience in the classroom on the road after graduation as he pursues a master's in education through the Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellows Program. He will be teaching high school chemistry at Tampa Catholic High School for two years before pursuing his doctorate in either education or engineering. While an undergraduate this native of Detroit, Mich., served as a section leader of the saxophones in the Band of the Fighting Irish and served as president of the Indiana Gamma Chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society as well as president of the Engineering Honors Program and Engineering Scholars Program.

Imholte, who is also from Cincinnati, is receiving his degree in electrical engineering. In addition to his studies on campus, he completed some of his coursework abroad at the University of Oxford in England. Volunteering was also part of his time at Notre Dame, serving as site leader of an urban plunge service immersion experience to combat urban poverty and as president of the Notre Dame Chapter of Quest Bridge, an organization focused on matching low-income students with top tier universities. After graduation he will be working with Palantir in the company's London office as a deployment strategist, helping to solve some of the world's most important data problems.

Graduating with a degree in aerospace engineering, Paquin is also finishing  up her third semester of undergraduate research in hypersonics. She has also served as a teaching assistant, grader, and software tutor to fellow students, none of which she says was as challenging or as fun as teaching first-grade Sunday School in her hometown of Baltimore, Md. Paquin has also been active in the Notre Dame Right to Life and served as senior outreach commissioner and planned events at a nursing home close to campus. Upon graduation she will be interning with Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, Calif., before pursuing her doctorate in aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland this fall — part of the National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship Program sponsored by the Department of Defense.