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05-09-2015

Clarkson University Senior Rick Wang Receives Frederica Clarkson Award

Graduating senior Ruisheng (Rick) Wang of Potsdam, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University's 122nd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 9. He was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on his scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

Rick WangThe award was established in 1921 as a bequest in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named. This award and the Levinus Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.

Wang, a member of Clarkson’s Honors Program, received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering. A graduate of Potsdam High School, he will graduate with a 4.0 GPA.

During his undergraduate career, Wang contributed to a variety of research projects in the fields of mechanical and biomedical engineering. He began his research career in his first year under the mentorship of Associate Professor Ratneshwar Jha. In collaboration with one of Jha’s graduate students, Wang investigated a structural health monitoring strategy for detecting delamination in aerospace composites using Lamb waves and piezoelectric sensors, contributing to the ongoing effort to improve aviation safety.

Wang transitioned to biomedical research under the mentorship of Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Charles Robinson the following year, and he has since been involved in various projects ranging from postural control to cardiovascular assessment.

For his honors thesis, Wang investigated an inexpensive and noninvasive method of assessing cardiovascular disease risk that involves the use of accelerometers to measure the carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity, a clinical metric that is a consistent independent predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. He was awarded the Technology Serving Humanity Award by Clarkson and the Coulter Foundation for this work. In addition, Wang received national recognition when he was awarded a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in support of this project and his academic pursuits.

This past summer, Wang worked at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital through a fellowship granted by the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.  Under the mentorship of Walfre Franco from Rox Anderson Lab, Wang investigated the feasibility of using ultraviolet fluorescence spectroscopy to noninvasively assess the biomechanical properties of collagenous tissues.  Findings from the project had implications for the post treatment assessment of RGX, a second generation keratoconus treatment procedure being developed at Wellman. For this work, Wang was awarded a student travel grant to present his findings at the 2015 American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery Conference.

Wang has served as a physics teaching assistant, peer educator and research mentor for the Honors Program, and is also involved in the Adirondack Regional Science Olympiad competition held annually at Clarkson. Wang was recipient of the Department of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering's most outstanding junior and most promising senior awards, and he also is a member of Pi Tau Sigma and Tau Beta Pi. He received an honorable mention in the 2015 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship competition.

Outside of academics, Wang is a fitness enthusiast and is an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.

After commencement, Wang will attend Cornell University for a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. He aspires to eventually start his own biotech company.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (right) presents the Frederica Clarkson Award to Ruisheng (Rick) Wang

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/frederica-2015.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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