By GRACE GERASS
Published April 27, 2023
UB recognized students for their many research and academic accomplishments at the annual Celebration of Student Academic Excellence on April 26.
The celebration began with the Student Showcase, where over 300 undergraduate and graduate students gathered in Alumni Arena to present the mentored research, scholarship and creative and community projects they have worked on during the current academic year. The showcase, coordinated by the UB Experiential Learning Network, highlighted students across every academic unit.
Among the presenters was anthropology student Angelina Emmons, who received the UB Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award. To illustrate evolutionary questions about the interspecific differences in nasal cavities of primates, she created a comic that told the story of a primate proved innocent in a courtroom through facial recognition software.
“I chose a comic because I wanted to help people who had no background in primatology understand my research,” Emmons said “That’s where my spoof of facial recognition in a courtroom came from. I wanted to tell a story outside the means of research.”
Engineering students Safwan Chowdhury, Sarita Das, Matthew Garrison, Andrew Houseman, Muhammed Moinuddin and Emma Ulatowski were eager to discuss their work with Christopher Romano, assistant professor of architecture. The team sought to bridge the gap between architecture and engineering to help people in Tanzania access clean water. Together, they developed a step-by-step universal manual for the construction of water collection tanks comprised of bricks made from local soil.
“Tanzanian people often have to walk two or three hours every day to access water, and then they have to carry it back,” Houseman said. “Helping them access clean water is the first step to improving their quality of life. By using this graphic guide, people across the world — no matter their language — can use their local soil to build a water storage system.”
School of Management junior Kelly Luu showcased her work with Read it and Eat, a startup that sells book and food subscription boxes based on reading habits and snack preferences; a portion of the proceeds are donated toward fighting hunger in Buffalo.
"As the marketing assistant, my role is to develop the startup’s influencer program,” Luu said. “It’s been an amazing opportunity to develop communication and design skills, and learn how to appeal to users through engaging social media content.”
After the Student Showcase, participants moved to the Student Union Theatre for the Celebration Ceremony, a tradition that recognizes UB students who received prestigious awards and fellowships during the academic year. President Satish K. Tripathi kicked off the celebration with welcoming remarks.
“As a university community, we are so proud of all you have accomplished and are excited to recognize your wonderful achievements,” Tripathi said. “You are truly among UB’s most talented and ambitious students. As today’s celebration demonstrates, you’re making the most of your UB experience by pushing the boundaries of scholarly research and broadening your perspectives, making new discoveries and ultimately accomplishing what you set out to do through dedication and hard work.”
A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, also spoke about students’ abilities to lead through critical thinking.
“Your research posters and presentations, and the prestigious awards and fellowships recognized during today’s celebration demonstrate your outstanding creative engagement,” Webber said. “It’s clear from these experiences that what has been instilled in you is the capacity to pose and answer critical questions and meet global challenges, while providing you with all the tools and confidence you need for continued success.
"Well done, and congratulations,” he added. “Keep doing such marvelous things to better the world. We are in good hands with your leadership.”
The ceremony featured on-stage recognition of students in several categories:
A full list of honorees is available on the celebration website.