Lianna Arnold and Joseph Schwalbe

Woodruff School students Lianna Arnold and Joseph Schwalbe

Woodruff School Students Named Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers for 2024

May 15, 2024
By Ashley Ritchie

Two students in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering have been named outstanding undergraduate researchers for 2024. Lianna Arnold, a nuclear and radiological engineering major, and Joseph Schwalbe, a mechanical engineering major, were honored at the 18th Annual Undergraduate Research Spring Symposium, held last month on the Georgia Tech campus.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program hosts the annual awards reception to honor students who have exemplified excellence in research. Each college is invited to nominate a student to receive the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award on the basis of involvement in long-term research projects, participation in conferences, published research papers, displayed leadership within the research environment, and unique contributions to the field.

A first-generation student from California, Arnold graduated with a bachelor's degree earlier this month, completing the program in just three years. During her time at Tech, she worked in the Radiological Engineering, Detection, and Dosimetry Laboratory (RED²) where she was advised by Assistant Professor Shaheen Dewji. She recently focused on an internal seed grant project with Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) entitled, “Assessing Medical Countermeasures to Protect Brain Health in the Space Radiation Environment.” She had the opportunity to conduct neutron measurements and Monte Carlo simulations, investigating linear energy transfer comparisons to determine the suitability of ground-based analogues for countermeasures development for long-duration space mission radiation exposure. Looking ahead, Arnold will continue her studies by pursuing a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering at Georgia Tech this fall under Dewji.

"I have observed Lianna to approach her studies with high dedication and rigor, demonstrated by her excellent academic record and research acumen. She has an intellectual curiosity and passion for her work, to which she brings excellent energy, initiative, and gusto," said Dewji in her nomination letter.

Schwalbe also graduated with a bachelor's degree this month. During his time at Tech, he was an undergraduate research assistant in the Sensing Technologies Lab where he was advised by Assistant Professor Ellen Mazumdar. Schwalbe's research was focused on the additive manufacturing process to produce emerging technologies through the use of a 3D printer. Looking ahead, he plans to stay at Georgia Tech and pursue his master's in robotics.

Mazumdar praised Schwalbe in her nomination letter. “Joseph’s performance and dedication put him in the top 1% of undergraduates that I have mentored at Georgia Tech. He is not afraid to try new things, learning new manufacturing methods, delving into material science for 3D printing, and writing custom algorithms in the space of a few weeks. With a small amount of guidance, he has been able to synthesize and execute new high-risk ideas for his research. He is mature, not deterred by setbacks, and always looks for ways to perfect his results. Joseph is very hard-working and devoted; I always find him in the lab making adjustments to the printer or designing new components. The graduate students in my lab also often praise his hard work, independence, and interest in creating novel designs. Joseph works well with others and he has been a pleasure to have in the lab.”