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Kevin Camelo Bonilla and Natalie Petryk Receive Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Contributions to Human Values
The Office of Academic Affairs announced that Kevin Camelo Bonilla and Natalie Petryk have been selected to receive the 2021 Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Contributions to Human Values. Candidates for this award are nominated by faculty members. A committee of faculty then reviewed student nominations and recommended graduating seniors for the honor.
This award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to the beauty of the world, to human values and to ending human abuse anywhere in the world. It acknowledges the recipient’s passion for excellence, creativity and originality in academic or artistic fields. Those chosen are determined to have the ability to motivate and bring out the best in others. Each recipient receives a cash prize intended to further their ongoing contributions to human values.
Camelo Bonilla will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and in information management and technology from the School of Information Studies. He is an accomplished designer with a passion for accessibility and inclusion who has received several awards for his graphic design work. He has held several digital and web positions with The Daily Orange. He works as a peer mentor for the Kelberman Center, an autism services provider in Utica, New York, and with InclusiveU. Bonilla is also an Our Time Has Come Scholar.
“Kevin has a unique capability to get along with anyone,” says Seth Gitner, associate professor of magazine, news and digital communications and visual communications in the Newhouse School. Gitner called Bonilla “an exceptional person who understands how to work with just about anyone then make that experience transformative for both him and everyone else.” Gitner sees him as “an inclusive designer who aspires to create a design agency someday that works specifically for and with people of marginalized disabilities. He wants to inform and engage others on topics of accessibility and diversity.”
Natalie Petryk will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering from the College of Engineering and Computer Science and a minor in mathematics. An ECS Leadership Scholar, she works in the Monroe Biomaterials Lab researching shape memory polymer foams with potential applications for wound healing and bleeding control. She will be second author on two research papers on the subject. She completed an independent design project to develop a sleeping position monitoring system for premature infants. Beyond her academic work, Petryk is a long-term volunteer with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and with Engineering World Health, an organization focused on improving health care delivery in low-income countries.
As an ECS Leadership Scholar, Petryk has also earned first place in the Engineering and Computer Science Undergraduate Research Symposium for her work on degradable shape memory polymer foams.
Mary Beth Monroe, assistant professor of biomedical and chemical engineering, calls Petryk one of the best communicators she has worked with out of more than 20 undergraduate researchers. “Natalie is exceptionally talented at telling an effective story, selecting the most important results, and presenting them in a logical order. While it isn’t often discussed, strong communication is the key to good research,” Monroe says. “It has the power to compel diverse audiences to engage in your work, can broaden participation, and increases impact.”
Douglas Yung, associate teaching professor and director of the bioengineering undergraduate program, adds, “I had the pleasure to work with Natalie in her senior capstone design project. Throughout the design process so far, Natalie demonstrated great perseverance, creativity and initiative.”