Five bioengineering students honored as 2021 Knights of St. Patrick


Huan Song

Five bioengineering students have been selected as 2021 Knights of St. Patrick. Bioengineering seniors Berat Gulecyuz, Ashley Mitchell, Thomas Romanchek and juniors Mia Ko and Vongai Tizora hold five out of the 12 honorary positions selected for this year. 

The Knight of St. Patrick is a prestigious annual award given by The Grainger College of Engineering to approximately 8-15 students annually. The award is one of the highest honors received by an engineering student at the University of Illinois. An engraved plaque of each Knights class is permanently hung in the main hallway of Engineering Hall.

“We cannot think of a more deserving group of students to be recognized for leadership, excellence in character, and exceptional contributions to the Grainger College of Engineering and students.  They all represent bioengineering well,” said Maddie Darling, assistant director of undergraduate programs at the department of bioengineering. 

Meet the 2021 bioengineering Knights:

Bioengineering senior Berat Gulecyuz
Bioengineering senior Berat Gulecyuz
Berat Gulecyuz
Campus involvements: Student Alumni Ambassadors, Society of Women Engineers, and Illinois Enactus, Course Assistant TAM 210/211, an undergraduate researcher in professor Mariana Kersh’s Tissue Biomechanics Lab
Proudest accomplishment(s): “Something that I am most proud of is being a student coordinator for Women in Engineering Freshman Orientation, welcoming the incoming freshman class for the past two years. I am honored and humbled to be recognized for my work and dedication to the Grainger College of Engineering”



Bioengineering junior Mia Ko
Bioengineering junior Mia Ko
Mia Ko 
RSOs and campus involvements: Engineering Ambassadors, Engineering Open House, Illinois Women's Rugby Football Club, undergraduate researcher in professor Karin Jensen’s lab, Senior Desk Clerk for University Housing and a barista at Starbucks
Proudest accomplishment(s):  “Before I took my semester off I was struggling academically and financially, but when I returned back to campus I had my best semester and was able to better engage in classes/ RSO's and so I am extremely humbled to receive this award in recognition of those efforts.”

Bioengineering senior Ashley Mitchell
Bioengineering senior Ashley Mitchell
Ashley Mitchell
RSOs and campus involvements: National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Engineering Ambassadors, undergraduate researcher in professor Abigail Wooldridge’s Human Factors lab, and the Mixed Student Union
Proudest accomplishment(s): “I am so proud that on a campus this large, I have been able to leave my mark. One of my biggest accomplishments was placing 3rd in the SHPE national conference research symposium. It was my first time being involved in research and I was really passionate about the work. That experience taught me that I am capable and that I can influence how others view technology, and it's inspired my career path going forward. Thank you!”

Bioengineering senior Thomas Romanchek
Bioengineering senior Thomas Romanchek
Thomas Romanchek 
RSOs and campus involvements: Neuroscience Society, Engineering Ambassadors, undergraduate researcher in engineering mental health through professor Karin Jensen’s lab. 
Proudest accomplishment(s): “I am the President of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Society (UNS) and work in conjunction with Brain Matters Journal (an undergraduate neuroscience journal I started two years ago) to broaden understanding and support for the brain sciences, to create new opportunities in scientific journalism for engineering students who traditionally lack the opportunity to apply their skills in such ways, and to bring awareness to big topics of neuro research such as degenerative diseases and emerging imaging technologies. I am very proud of the Journal because of the tremendous impact it has had on both student culture and academic outcomes in our college.”

Bioengineering junior Vongai Tizora
Bioengineering junior Vongai Tizora
Vongai Tizora 
RSOs and campus involvements: National Society of Black Engineers, Alpha Omega Epsilon 
Proudest accomplishment(s): “Something that I am proud of during my time at UIUC would be planning Infusion 2020, a week-long event that was dedicated towards celebrating the diversity seen throughout the Grainger College of Engineering (GCOE). As the Diversity and Inclusion Director of the Dean's Student Advisory Committee, I had the pleasure of contributing to the GCOE through this event along with Ying Guan.”



Congratulations also to the following Knights from other engineering disciplines: 
Amanda Batista, ChBE
Tommy Carver, CS
Nina Chatrath, ABE
Jose Hernandez , MechSE
Amanda Hsu, ECE
Courtney Leverenz, AE
Emily Williams, AE