Honoring excellence in molecular engineering

Filed Under: News

Aug. 31, 2023

Gocke Altin-Yavuzarslan, Samantha Borje and Olivia Dotson received
Gokce Altin-Yavuzarslan, Samantha Borje and Olivia Dotson with their student achievement awards.

Gokce Altin-Yavuzarslan, Samantha Borje and Olivia Dotson received Molecular Engineering and Science student achievement awards at the MolES’s graduation celebration on June 1. This is the second year awards were given out at the ceremony.

Altin-Yavuzarslan won the Scientific Achievement Award, which recognizes students that demonstrate extraordinary productivity in their research and scholarship and have contributed meaningfully to the scientific community.

“Gokce’s most impactful contribution to the field of engineered living materials thus far, is the demonstration of 3D printed ones with bio-augmented mechanical properties,” said Alshakim Nelson, professor of chemistry, Gokce’s advisor and Director of Education for MolES. “In this study, she created a protein resin to encapsulate, and 3D print engineered E. coli to control the material properties. This work, “Additive Manufacturing of Engineered Living Materials with Bio-Augmented Mechanical Properties and Resistance to Degradation,” was recently published in Advanced Functional Materials and it represents an exciting advancement toward engineered living machines.”

In addition to acknowledging academic achievements, the program also gave Borje and Dotson Outreach and Service Awards for their dedication to making an impact in their community—specifically drawing awareness to STEM and molecular engineering-related topics through their outreach.

Borje has shown continual commitment to bettering laboratory culture by taking the lead on discussing topics of mental health in the workplace and academia. She also represented the MolE community by giving an educational talk at Town Hall Seattle and participated in mentoring and training Rainier Scholars, a program for first-generation/low-income high school and undergraduate students of color.

Dotson was recognized for her personal mission to make the path to research clear, accessible and attainable for all students. She is a founding member of the newly formed chapter of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers and serves on the executive board. Additionally, she is involved in numerous clubs and organizations, including outreach with A Vision for Electronic Literacy & Access (AVELA) and Husky Science Committee, where she hosted a science workshop at Denny Middle School. Next year, Olivia will serve as the Vice President of the MolES Graduate Student Association, using her experiences and network across campus to strengthen the MolES community.

More information about these annual awards can be found here.