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2013 Top Seniors & Outstanding Thesis Awards

President Mohammad Qayoumi will recognize four top graduates at Commencement, which begins at 9:30 a.m. May 25 in Spartan Stadium. Approximately 8,000 candidates who completed their studies in August 2012, December 2012 and May 2013 will be eligible to participate. Around 25,000 graduates, family and friends are expected to attend the ceremony.

Maimona Afzal and Travis Lopez have been named SJSU’s 2013 Outstanding Graduating Seniors in recognition of their scholarship and contributions to the community. Sarah Swift and Shruthi Thirumalai have received the 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award in recognition of the exceptional quality of their research.

Maimona Afzal

Maimona Afzal, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Maimona Afzal is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She says that her college experience has given her opportunities to interact, collaborate, and serve her community in many ways. A Kaucher Mitchell Honorable Mention recipient, Afzal is graduating with a 3.98 GPA. She led 15 volunteer tutors as a coordinator for the Homework Club and managed the Reading to Children program. Off campus, Afzal advocated for orphaned children as a volunteer with the GiveLight Foundation and spent her summers as a counselor and troop leader for a youth camp. Graduating at the age of 18, Afzal hopes that her drive will inspire others to act on their dreams. Afzal has accepted a position at Teach for America, where she will be working with special needs children in East San Jose.

Travis Lopez

Travis Lopez, 2013 Outstanding Graduating Senior

Travis Lopez is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He says he has enjoyed increasing awareness about globalization while at SJSU. He is graduating with a 3.936 GPA. Lopez served as a leader in the Entrepreneurial Society and the Executive Leadership Council, and still found time to pursue entrepreneurship through the Spartups Incubator and the MIS Association. A Salzburg Scholar, Lopez also worked in Hong Kong through the Thompson Global Internship Program and analyzed mobile applications for the city of San Jose and Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, as part of two honors student programs. Lopez has accepted an offer to work at NetApp, a network storage and cloud computing company, and will continue with his most meaningful contribution, Mobedio, a start-up that uses an online public opinion platform to increase civic participation.

Sarah Swift

Sarah Swift, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Sarah Swift is graduating with a master’s degree in communicative disorders and sciences. For her thesis “Low-tech, Eye-Movement-Accessible AAC and Typical Adults,” Swift studied augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some types of AAC make use of eye movements as a means to communicate wants and needs, engage in social relationships and continue with daily life for those who have lost the ability to speak. Swift focused on low-tech eye-gaze methods in typical adults. Before her study there was not much research on the preference of commonly used eye-movement accessible AAC systems by non-neurologically impaired adults. Her study added to the knowledge in the field by providing a baseline for low-tech eye gaze methods. Swift is currently a speech pathologist in Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s rehabilitation unit.

Shruthi Thirumalai

Shruthi Thirumalai, 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award

Shruthi Thirumalai is graduating with a master’s degree in general engineering. She dreams of continuing research that will help people lead healthy lives. For her thesis, “Opto-Acoustic Interrogation and Ultrasound Imaging Of Acoustically Sensitive Microcapsules,” Thirumalai examined the use of ultrasound to locate and modulate the release of cancer-killing drugs from microcapsules when they are implanted in breast tumors. Her biomedical engineering research crossed the fields of ultrasound, microencapsulation and microfluidics, and has resulted in two conference publications, one journal article, one poster presentation and the San Jose State research award for engineering. Thirumalai says that each class at SJSU has given her different ways to challenge herself. She is currently considering biomedical engineering doctoral programs and hopes to give back as a mentor by becoming a professor one day.