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05-07-2016

Clarkson University Senior Leah Granger Receives Levinus Clarkson Award

Graduating senior Leah C. Granger of Flowery Branch, Ga., received the Levinus Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s 123rd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.

LevinusThe Levinus Clarkson Award was established by University founders Elizabeth and Frederica Clarkson in memory of their brother, Levinus, and was first awarded in 1909. This award and the Frederica Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.

Granger, a member of Clarkson’s Honors Program, earned a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering as well as a bachelor of science degree in mathematics. She was a presidential scholar for all eight semesters at Clarkson and graduated with a 3.98 GPA.

While attending Clarkson, Granger had the opportunity to work with several research advisors, each of whom helped guide and shape her academic interests. Her experience in chemical engineering began in the lab of Associate Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Sitaraman Krishnan, where she helped synthesize and test polymer electrolyte membranes and ionic liquids.  Transitioning into theory and simulation based research, she worked under Professor / Chair of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering John McLaughlin and Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Marco Satyro to learn about molecular dynamics and other types of simulations. This experience lead to her working with Satyro on a project for the Gas Processors Association, for which she collected and analyzed vapor-liquid equilibrium data to improve the performance of thermodynamic models for process simulations using equations of state.

To enrich her mathematics background, Granger participated in a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded mathematics REU during the summer following her freshman year. She and a team of students worked with Associate Professor of Computer Science Christino Tamon on a project on algebraic graph theory, investigating and proving various properties of universal state transfer on graphs. Her honors thesis research was also in mathematics; working with Professor / Chair of Mathematics Joseph Skufca, Granger developed a mathematical model to simulate group dynamics, exploring the variables which influence the outcomes of collaborative and cooperative learning. She presented her work at the 2015 MAA Mathfest Conference in Washington, D.C.

With a passion for education, Granger was involved in various positions to serve the community and gain teaching experience. She was a teaching assistant for various courses, including differential equations, Calculus I, and Calculus II, and worked as a small group tutor for a thermodynamics course. In her junior and senior years, she served as a project mentor for the Honors Program sophomore community project. She also volunteered with STEP Impetus, Clarkson’s outreach program to encourage and support local middle and high school students in their science and technology education. She helped the program directors develop a mentoring program through which Clarkson students mentor local high school students as they begin thinking about college.

Outside the classroom, Granger served as the president of the Association for Women in Mathematics and represented the chapter at a national conference. In addition, she was the president of Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society, the treasurer of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and a member of Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematics Honor Society. To diversify her perspectives, Granger participated in Clarkson’s Global Business Program through which she and a group of students from various majors traveled to Uganda and Kenya to meet and interview leaders of microfinance businesses. In terms of extra-curricular activities, Granger loves to dance. She was an active member of Clarkson’s Swing Dance Club and danced in the Clarkson Theater Company’s 2016 production of All Shook Up.

Granger has received numerous awards throughout her time at Clarkson, including the R. Shankar Subramanian Prize in Chemical Engineering and the Chemical Engineering Outstanding Senior Award. From the mathematics department, she received the Pi Mu Epsilon Award in Mathematics, the R. Gerald Bradshaw Award, and the Hamlin/Darraugh Award.

Following commencement, Granger will be pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at North Carolina State University. She is excited to continue her studies and hopes to someday inspire students just as so many of her teachers and professors inspired her.

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, New York, and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, 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 innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University President Tony Collins (left) presents the Levinus Clarkson Award to Leah Granger.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/levinus-2016.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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