Songita Choudhury is 2011 President’s Medalist

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Songita Choudhury is 2011 President’s Medalist

Songita Choudhury, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, received the President’s Medal – the highest award to an undergraduate – at California State University, Fresno’s 100th Commencement.

A Smittcamp Honors College President’s Scholar from Clovis, she has demonstrated excellence in academics, research, leadership and service.

In 2008, as a sophomore, she joined a multidisciplinary biomechanics laboratory on campus to study the effects of a neurotoxin that causes Parkinson’s disease-like symptoms in fruit flies.

This project involved student researchers from electrical engineering, computer engineering and chemistry. Choudhury excelled as a contributing researcher in the lab. She also contributed to successful grant proposals, made presentations at two international conferences and five abstracts (two as first author).

She co-authored two pending peer reviewed journal articles. Her capstone senior design project in electrical engineering combined her medical and engineering passions in design and implementation of a wireless heart-rate monitor.

Choudhury served as Associated Students Inc. senator for the Lyles College of Engineering, president of the Lyles College Officers Council and vice chair of the ASI Finance Committee. She also held leadership positions in the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu honor societies and was a member of the university’s Centennial Leadership Committee.

She has volunteered at a summer camp for girls interested in engineering, a robotics competitions for elementary-school children and MESA competition for elementary and junior high students that encourages pursuit of engineering, math and science.

“As a female in a heavily male-dominated field, encouraging future generations of women to pursue engineering and sciences has been one of my cherished activities,” said Choudhury.

She completed her degree with a 4.0 grade point average. Choudhury plans to work toward a medical degree and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering or bioengineering.

She says that growing up with an engineer for a father led her to view the world from scientific and mathematical standpoints very early in life. She was fascinated observing her father apply engineering principles to solve biological problems.

“As a child, I was encouraged to study science and math and participate in activities related to these two fields,” she said.

Coming to Fresno State allowed Choudhury to realize her educational goals. “I will forever be thankful for the opportunities I had while I was a student in the Lyles College of Engineering and Fresno State,” she says.

Dr. Nagy Bengiamin, who chairs the Department of Electrical Engineering, said Choudhury’s contributions to her field of study brought have honor to the university. “She has a passion for engaging and helping others as a participant and a leader,” he said.

She was recognized during the ceremony Saturday, May 21, at the Save Mart Center to confer bachelor’s degrees on 4,279 new graduates. Master’s degrees were awarded to 916 students, while 40 received doctorates and nine educational specialist degrees.

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