2021 Undergraduate Student Award Winners

May 04 2021

The APAM Department proudly celebrates the achievements of their 2021 undergraduate award winners!


Alex Paskov - 2021 Salutatorian

Alex Paskov (BS ‘21, Applied Mathematics) was named the 2021 Columbia Engineering Salutatorian. Next year, he'll be heading to MIT to pursue a PhD in optimization, machine learning, and statistics at MIT. Learn more aboout Alex in this Columbia Engineering interview.

Alex Paskov - 2021 Salutatorian

Joseph Lee - Applied Physics Faculty Award Winner

Joseph Lee (BS '21, Applied Physics) is the recipient of the 2021 Applied Physics Faculty Award. He took numerous graduate level courses, maintained a 4.03 GPA, and received second place at the 2019 Columbia Fast Pitch Competition. He was heavily involved in research with Prof. Sebastian Will, focusing on experimental AMO work and also on a theoretical/computational project in Condensed Matter and AMO. In the summers, he also worked with Dr. Jim Freericks at Georgetown University on quantum computing and its applications to condensed matter. Their work has led to a publication, and they are currently finishing their second. After graduation, Joseph will pursue a PhD at Columbia and work with Prof. Ana Asenjo-Garcia on quantum optics theory.

Joseph Lee

Joseph Lee, Applied Physics Faculty Award Winner

Junhui Zhang - Applied Math Faculty Award Winner

Junhui Zhang (BS '21 Applied Mathematics) is the recipient of the 2021 Applied Math Faculty Award. She is an outstanding student who took many challenging courses while maintaining a 4.07 GPA. She also performed research with Professor Henry Lam in the IEOR Department on distributionally robust optimization, and with Professor John Wright in the EE Department on robust Principal Component Analysis. In addition, she was a TA in the Math Department for Modern Analysis I and PDE. After graduation, Junhui will begin pursuing a PhD at MIT, studying Operations Research. 

Junhui Zhang - Applied Math Faculty Award Winner

Ruby Aidun - Materials Science Frances B.F. Rhodes Prize Winner

Ruby Aidun (BS '21, Materials Science) is the winner of the Frances B.F. Rhodes Prize for materials science. She took a series of challenging courses, maintained a 3.95 GPA, was on the Dean's List each semester, and was elected to Tau Beta Pi.  She participated in materials research in several groups at Columbia, as well as at Sandia National Labs, where she became a coauthor on four scientific publications in the area of energy-related materials. She served on Columbia's Undergraduate Integrity Advisory Board, led trips with the Urban New York program, and was a teaching assistant and camp counselor for high-school summer STEM programs. After graduation, Ruby will serve as an Americorps VISTA volunteer.

Ruby Aidan

Ruby Aidun - 2021 Materials Science Frances B.F. Rhodes Prize Winner

Anjali Verma - King's Crown Leadership and Excellence Award & Senior Marshal

Anjali Verma (BS '21, Applied Physics) is the winner of the 2021 King's Crown Leadership and Excellence Award for Inclusion and Advocacy and was named a Class of 2021 Senior Marshal. She is a powerful advocate in Applied Physics, Columbia Engineering, and across Columbia University. As president of Columbia Spectra and through the Society for Women in Physics, she pushed for the discipline to be more socially and culturally responsible. She also successfully campaigned to rename a classroom after C.S. Wu, one of the only women in the Manhattan Project. Additionally, Anjali created critical spaces for Black students as co-chair of the Columbia Mentoring Initiative's Black Family Tree and through her work with Mobilized African Diaspora in challenging public safety practices/structures. After graduation, she plans to continue her research in the lab of Dr. Ruben Gonzalez and will apply to graduate school.

Anjali Verma

Anjali Verma - King's Crown Leadership and Excellence Award & Senior Marshal

Samantha Mayers - Wendell Memorial Prize Nominee

The APAM Department was thrilled to nominate Samantha "Sam" Mayers (BS '21, Applied Mathematics) for the 2021 George Wendell Memorial Medal in recognition of her exceptional aptitude in leadership, service, and scholarly activities. Her senior presentation for Columbia's Applied Mathematics Seminar was on "Understanding Pregnancy Prediction from a Self-Reporting Women’s Health Mobile Application" and she also worked on an international research project at Imperial College, London, on "When Will We Know Global CO2 Storage Capacity?”. Next year, Sam will start a Master’s degree at Columbia in Computer Science.

Samantha Mayers

Samantha Mayers - APAM Wendell Memorial Prize Nominee