Challenging the status quo. Shining a light on problems. Asking big questions. Proposing innovative solutions.
These 14 IU students and recent graduates have accomplished so much—just in their time at IU—that it’s hard not to feel hopeful for the future.
Salina Tesfagiorgis, senior/first-year MA student
International Studies and Human Rights and International Law
Tesfagiorgis is a co-founder of Enough is Enough, a peaceful protest in Bloomington in June 2020 that drew thousands in response to George Floyd’s killing and has since grown into an organization focused on building community and advocating for police accountability. As a member of the Hamilton Lugar School’s dean’s advisory board, Tesfagiorgis pitched Black Lives Matter as a Global Movement, a course that will be available at IU in winter 2020.
Vakar Ahmed, MS’20
Veda Narayana Koraganji, PhD student
Intelligent Systems Engineering
Winners of IU’s 2020 Cheng Wu Innovation Challenge with their project on creating affordable limb prosthetics, Ahmed and Koraganji will use their $7,500 prize money to purchase simulation software and raw materials to test their Modular 3D-Printed Elastomeric Prosthetics project and bring it to market.
Lauren Meadows, BA’20
Political Science, History, Spanish
Meadows was the 2020 recipient of the Herman B Wells Award, given to a senior who has excelled academically and is an established leader within the IU community.
After graduation, Meadows headed to Washington, D.C. One of only 12 junior fellows at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Meadows will research populism, polarization, and political representation in the U.S. and internationally.
Tara Hodson, BS’20
Hodson started pursuing her college degree in 1990 but never finished. Family, work, and bilateral sensorineural hearing loss got in the way.
But 30 years later, Hodson has completed her bachelor’s degree through IU East online. In 2019, Hodson was a Summer Research Scholar and developed “Successful Communication Strategies for the Hard of Hearing in the Workplace,” a research project aimed at increasing workplace inclusion through tips and strategies for employers.
This degree isn’t the end for Hodson. She’s currently pursuing her Master of Science through IUPUI.
Alan Tyson, PhD student
Music and Arts Technology
School of Engineering and Technology
An accomplished musician with a passion for mathematics education, Tyson is researching and developing MuSciQ, a methodology and future digital app that breaks down songs, or parts of songs, through math techniques. He’s finding that music can be a useful intervention for math anxiety that can start as early as elementary school and plague individuals well into adulthood.
Ashley Lopez, senior
As co-chair of the Indiana Latinx Leadership Conference, Lopez helped bring the ILLC to IU Southeast for the first time in the event’s 20-year history.
In the spring of 2020, Lopez was one of only four students in Indiana to receive a Verizon Communications Intern Scholarship, in recognition of her work as an intern with the Indiana General Assembly, getting a front-row seat to the legislative process.
Zachary Patterson, BS’20
During his senior year, Patterson worked with Professor M. Abdullah Canbaz to create an algorithm for more efficiently distributing available human organ donations.
In December 2019, their publication documenting this project was accepted for the International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, which accepts only about 25 percent of submissions.
Carmen Zavala, BS’20
During her freshman year at IU, Zavala’s mother died of an opioid overdose. That tragic event led Zavala to change her major and dedicate herself to helping others affected by opioid addiction.
As an Advanced Summer Research Scholar, Zavala worked in an IU lab researching non-addictive pain treatments as part of IU’s Grand Challenge initiative Responding to the Addictions Crisis.
Coral Lee Dorsch, BFA’20
Graphic Design, Cinematography
IU South Bend
On a mission to save the world’s coral reefs, Dorsch is using her cinematography skills to shine a light on the devastating effects of climate change on coral habitats.
Shanalee Gallimore, PhD student
Higher Education and Student Affairs, Counseling Psychology
Gallimore is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious John H. Edwards Fellowship, awarded to an IU graduate student who demonstrates good citizenship, character, and an attitude toward public service.
“Through my research and my profession, I will work toward helping to create an environment in which minorities do not have to deny certain parts of their identities in order to be considered successful,” Gallimore says.
Laila Nawab, BS’20
From a self-proclaimed shy high school student, Nawab grew into a confident leader in her time at IU Northwest, serving as president of the Student Government Association and in leadership roles with the Muslim Student Association and Student Activities Board.
With the support of the Minority Opportunity for Research Experience grant, this aspiring physician worked on a multidisciplinary research project related to hydroponics. Up next is med school.
Jordan Saunders, med student
Aaron Gilani, med student
IU School of Medicine
Saunders and Gilani are two of the IU School of Medicine students (along with Alexandra Jostes and Eric Galante) who co-founded Prescribe it Forward, a national nonprofit providing free mentorship to aspiring doctors.
The program is geared toward those who might not otherwise have a mentor in the field—especially underrepresented minorities, first-generation, LGBTQ+, nontraditional, and otherwise disadvantaged applicants.
This article originally appeared in the fall 2020 issue of IMAGINE magazine.