The Class of 2024 entered college at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and are leaving amid protests on campuses across the country, but through these challenges graduates have shown “courage, determination and optimism,” Dean Andrea Goldsmith said at the Class Day ceremony on Monday, May 27.

“You found new ways to support each other, to work, to study and to socialize utilizing technology as well as the very human skills that make up the fabric of our society and our Princeton community,” Goldsmith, the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said to graduates, family and friends gathered in the Friend Center courtyard.

Goldsmith said that she and other faculty members were inspired by the resilience students demonstrated during the pandemic and the compassion they showed for victims of conflict and violence. She said the new graduates’ achievements have been remarkable despite these challenges.

Woman speaking at a podium in an orange blazer
Dean Andrea Goldsmith praised graduates’ resilience and compassion.

“I hope that going forward you will continue to engage as scholars and citizens of the world in bringing about positive change to benefit humanity,” Goldsmith said. She said that the students’ education, both in engineering classes and in the broader University, would allow them to create technology and solve complex and urgent problems facing the world. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact you all will have as engineers and as leaders in the years ahead. Your hard work, your dedication and perseverance are the attributes that led you to Princeton and to be so successful here, and they will be the foundation of your future.”

Goldsmith also congratulated graduates’ parents and family members for raising such a talented and extraordinary group of individuals. “I know that you are so proud of their accomplishments. I can feel that pride overwhelming me on this stage, and we are so very proud of them too.”

The Princeton Engineering Class of 2024 included 376 students receiving engineering degrees and 58 receiving bachelor of arts degrees in computer science, for a total of 434 members. Of the engineering graduates, 162 were women, representing 43% of engineering degree recipients, nearly double the national average.

“You are not just engineers,” Goldsmith told graduates. “This year’s graduates have played intercollegiate athletics. They’ve performed in theater, dance and musical events. They’ve developed novel technologies through their research as well as outside of the classroom and research labs. They’ve made incredible scientific discoveries and published them. They’ve composed art and music, and they’ve served the community and the world. You’ve been wonderful friends and mentors to each other, including being teachers to your faculty. You’ve inspired all of us with your passion for learning your deep curiosity, your diverse talents, and, most of all, your thoughtful perspective on the world.”

As well as honoring graduates, the engineering school recognized Maria Garlock with its Distinguished Teaching Award. Garlock, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, was honored for her dedication to her students and outstanding teaching. In presenting the award, Antoine Kahn, the vice dean of engineering, said that Garlock has had a transformative impact on engineering education.

A woman in an orange jacket, a woman displaying an award plaque, and a man in a blue jacket
Maria Garlock, recipient of the 2024 distinguished teaching award, standing with Andrea Goldsmith and Antoine Kahn.

“Professor Garlock has not only been a great course developer, a teacher, a mentor, but also an extraordinary innovator in teaching and a role model who has pushed the boundaries of modern engineering to the next level,” said Kahn, the Stephen C. Macaleer ’63 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science.

In addition to teaching foundational courses in civil engineering, Garlock also serves as head of Forbes College, co-director of the program in architecture and engineering, and interim director of the Council on Science and Technology.

Award winners at the 2024 Princeton Engineering Class Day, as presented by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs Peter Bogucki, included:


Awarded for scholastic performance that demonstrates the potential for future engineering study and practice

Varun Deb

Deb, an electrical and computer engineering major, used his senior thesis to apply graph language models to finance. His thesis coupled a graph language model and knowledge graph extraction to eliminate hallucinations and explain decisions and applied his model to financial portfolio diversification. Deb will be an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs while holding a reserve commission in the U.S. Army.

Anne Grinder

A civil and environmental engineering major, Grinder studied the historic Morris Island Lighthouse at Charleston, South Carolina, for her thesis. Cracking in the lighthouse had been attributed to an 1886 earthquake, but Grinder determined that the real cause was corrosion of iron beams. She proposed remediation based on her findings. After graduation, she will work for West Monroe as a consultant.


Awarded to the outstanding student in the Engineering Physics program as determined by the Engineering Physics faculty

Yiming (Cady) Feng

An electrical and computer engineering major, Feng’s thesis was entitled “Control Components for Rare Earth Ion Quantum Repeater Nodes.”  Establishing robust quantum networks with quantum repeater nodes is crucial for scalable quantum computing. Solid-state rare-earth ions offer a promising platform for such nodes. Feng explored new designs for components controlling these nodes and fabricated and tested custom circuits. After graduation, Feng will pursue a Ph.D. in applied physics at Stanford.

David Shustin

A computer science major, Shustin implemented a vector quantized variational autoencoder for heterogeneous reconstruction in cryo-electron microscopy for his thesis. Current approaches for modeling this heterogeneity use a generic neural field, whereas Shustin applied a structured generative model and evaluated the method on an experimental dataset. Next year, Shustin will pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Princeton.


Awarded to the graduate who has significantly contributed a major part of his or her time to service to the school

Brendan Kehoe

Kehoe, an electrical and computer engineering major, organized engineering tours for prospective students as vice president of the engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi. He also served as a lab assistant for two engineering courses and helped organize departmental open houses. Kehoe’s senior thesis examined ways to avoid corrosion of metal electrodes by iodine in halide perovskite devices. He will work as an electrical hardware engineer at Lutron Electronics.

Owen Travis

A computer science major, Travis assisted with a range of school events including the Science and Technology Job Fair, Princeton Preview and Take Your Child to Work Day. After a semester at ETH in Zürich, he served as a B.S.E. Study Abroad Global Ambassador. Travis was also the editor of Tortoise, the writing program’s showcase of student writing. His senior thesis evaluated how moves made by humans playing the board game Go differed from those made by an AI. Travis will work as a software engineer at Netflix.


Awarded to a senior who has done the most to advance the interests of the school in the community at large

Paige Silverstein

Two women in class jackets display award plaques
Yenet Tafesse, left, and Paige Silverstein, recipients of the 2024 Joseph Clifton Elgin Prize

Silverstein, a civil and environmental engineering major, analyzed climate resilient, sustainable food systems with the Environmental Defense Fund over several years. Her senior thesis analyzed lead contamination in tap water and concluded that removal of lead water service lines is justified because of the lines’ significant contribution to contamination. The work also provided more detailed information about lead contamination in drinking water and potential sources of lead. After graduation, Silverstein will practice sustainable agriculture at Red Dog Farm in Washington State.

Yenet Tafesse

A computer science major, Tafesse served as president of the student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. She was instrumental in reviving the group after the COVID-19 pandemic, and she led large delegations to regional and national conferences. Her senior independent work, done jointly with Jad Bendarkawi, an electrical and computer engineering major, is an interactive, robotic display called “The Swarm Garden.” The exhibit consists of 36 modules that react to movement and noises from a wearable device. Tafesse will work as a software engineer for American Airlines.


Recognizes a senior who has combined high scholarly achievement in the study of engineering with quality performance in intercollegiate athletics

Emily (Leilani) Bender

A civil and environmental engineering major, Bender was a flanker and co-captain for the women’s rugby team. She was an Academic All-Ivy player and National Intercollegiate Rugby Association All-Academic player. Bender received the rugby team’s annual Phil Rogers award for leadership and the Varsity Club’s Chris Sailer Award for leadership and service. Her senior thesis analyzed the effect of wind on canopies that transform into flood barriers. After graduation, Bender will pursue a master’s degree in education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Fry

Fry, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major, is a member of the women’s lightweight crew and the stroke of the number one varsity 8 in the country. She has been the stroke for the past two championship runs for a team that has had three consecutive undefeated seasons. Fry was named a Pocock Lightweight All American and a member of the IRA All-Academic team. Her senior thesis analyzed rotating detonation, a technique to improve engine efficiency. She refined her system, resulting in a plasma reactor design that could provide propulsion for robotic space exploration. She will pursue a graduate degree in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.


Recognizes the senior thesis or project work that is most distinctive for its inventiveness and technical accomplishment

Holly Cheng

A molecular biology major, Cheng studied the large nuclei of frog eggs in the lab of Professor Clifford Brangwynne. She developed a system to harvest the eggs and inject RNA and chemicals into them. She developed a collaboration with the labs of Professor Howard Stone in mechanical and aerospace engineering and Professor Zheng Shi at Rutgers University. Cheng presented her work at a meeting of the Biophysical Society and won the Undergraduate Poster Award competition. In the fall, she will begin work on a Ph.D. at MIT.

Marina Mancoridis

Mancoridis, a computer science major, examined scientific publishing through a lens of cultural evolution. She framed her analysis as a multi-generational interplay between scientists and publishers and developing a multi-armed-bandit simulation model to examine the effects of different publication practices on the accuracy of the scientific record, leading to specific policy recommendations. Her work has been accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mancoridis will pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

Melissa Woo

An operations research and financial engineering major, Woo’s thesis examined sophisticated models used in areas such as credit scoring and risk assessment. Often these models operate as black boxes, with opaque decision-making processes that raise concerns about fairness and accountability. Woo’s work included a systemic study to assess the relative performance of algorithms across a suite of machine learning models along with a set of widely used model-agnostic post-hoc variable importance models to show the impact of feature correlation and target expression complexity. After graduation, Woo will work as a trading analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Three women wearing class jackets and holding award plaques stand next to a woman in an orange blazer.
Recipients of the Senior Thesis Award with Dean Andrea Goldsmith. From left: Holly Cheng, Marina Mancoridis, Melissa Woo.


Recognizes a student who has participated in research that has resulted in a contribution to the field, has added to the quality of the university life, and intends to pursue a career in engineering or applied science

Yiming (Cady) Feng

Feng, an electrical and computer engineering major, has participated in multiple research projects at Princeton. She began by doing research with professor Nathalie de Leon on superconducting qubits, which resulted in a co-authored paper in Physical Review X. She also worked with professor Jesse Jenkins and Dr. Erin Mayfield on multi-objective optimization of electricity infrastructure, which led to the co-authorship of a public report. A summer at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics resulted in the assembly of a 2D magneto-optical trap. Her senior thesis, with professor Jeffrey Thompson, was recognized with this year’s Kephart Prize. In the fall, Feng will begin studying for a Ph.D. in applied physics at Stanford.

Devdigvijay Singh

A mechanical and aerospace engineering major, Singh began in the lab of Professor Emeritus Lex Smits, in which he designed and constructed a motorized x-y platform with sub-micron positioning of intersecting lasers for stereo distortion calibration to measure turbulent pipe flow. Singh moved on to spend the summer of 2022 at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab working on stripping-cell charge energy ion analysis techniques. He conducted his thesis work with the TigerSats group with professor Ryne Beeson and Michael Galvin. The work studied dampers to de-tumble a spinning nanosatellite. After graduation, Singh will pursue a doctorate in mechanical engineering at Stanford.


Awarded to a student who has manifested excellent scholarship, a marked capacity for leadership, and promise of creative achievement in engineering

Amélie Lemay

A civil and environmental engineering major, Lemay worked with professors Barry Rand and Sigurd Wagner on a project in which she analyzed the status and potential of rooftop solar adoption in the United States. Her findings led to a paper in the journal Energy Policy. For her senior thesis, Lemay worked with professor Ian Bourg to examine the group of environmental contaminants, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly known as forever chemicals. The work created computer simulations that could one day lead to removing the chemicals from the environment. The study has been submitted to the journal Science. In the fall, Lemay will begin work toward a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering at MIT.

Reha Mathur

Mathur, a chemical and biological engineering major, is the recipient of a Barry S. Goldwater Scholarship. As a first-year student, she worked with Professor Thanos Panagiotopoulos to use quantum mechanical calculations to produce a machine-learning model for molecular dynamics simulations for carbon dioxide. The results were published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Her senior thesis developed a machine learning framework to explore where and how nutrients are used in metabolism. Her adviser, Professor Joshua Rabinowitz, said Mathur’s system performs better than previously available ones and advances the state of the field. She will join Dimension Capital as a biotech venture capital associate.


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    Andrea Goldsmith

  • Portrait of Antoine Kahn

    Antoine Kahn

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