Today's outstanding graduates: Tomorrow's Nobel laureates?

Jelena Culic-Viskota has been named Polytechnic University’s 2007 Outstanding Graduate for her exemplary combination of academic achievement and her involvement in a wide array of extracurricular activities.

Graduating with a degree in chemical and biological engineering with a 3.878 GPA, Culic-Viskota conducted research on biological sensors in the Microparticle Photophysics Laboratory. The paper resulting from that research was published in Applied Physics Letters and the Applied Physical Society’s Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research. The project was also presented to the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics in May.

In addition to her academic and research achievements, Culic-Viskota served as a tutor and teaching assistant, co-captain of the women’s volleyball team, vice president of the student council and president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society.

Culic-Viskota grew up in Split, Croatia, where she attended high school before settling in Astoria, Queens, with her family. She will continue her studies at the California Institute of Technology in September.

The Outstanding Graduate Award is presented annually by the Polytechnic Alumni Association to the member of the graduating class who best combines high academic achievement with a record of extracurricular and community service. Students are nominated by faculty and staff members and go through a rigorous selection process that includes submitting essays and interviewing with a panel of judges. The winner receives a plaque and a check for $2,500.

“Meeting and interviewing students who represent the best of the Polytechnic is an exciting annual ritual,” said Edward S. Sawchuk ’76, ’78, chair of the alumni scholarship committee and executive vice president of the alumni association. “In my opinion, these students are Polytechnic’s Nobel laureates in the making.”

The runners-up for this year’s award were: Luke Gawronski; Eugene Klitenik, the Class of 2007’s valedictorian; and Anshuman Panda.

The award was announced at the University’s 152nd Commencement in June.