Update to Our Classmates
With our Class of 1957 Spectrum Award now in its 7th year, we are very pleased to introduce and congratulate this year’s winner, Dianna Stuzhuk '23. It is the intent of the eligibility criteria our class set out for Spectrum to focus not only on strong academics, but also leadership and service. Dianna’s experience at RPI epitomizes that spectrum of ideals.
Immigrating with her family from Ukraine as a young girl, Dianna came to RPI as a Rensselaer Medalist from Massachusetts to study Biomedical Engineering. Remembering how her family was welcomed “…with open arms…” by a small community that included many other refugees, Dianna says this endless kindness to her family was instrumental in developing in her a deep sense of community and service. Working “odd jobs” prior to coming to Troy, she immediately sought opportunities in other service-oriented roles while pursuing her studies.
As a Freshman, Dianna participated in an “EMT for a day” program sponsored by RPI Ambulance (RPIA), a 911 agency founded in 1977 and the first of its kind in the Troy area. In her words, she “fell in love with it”. She explains that as a young girl medicine had been her “princess dream”, so even though she did not think she would ever have an opportunity to pursue a medical career, she saw RPIA as her chance to make at least part of that dream come true. She devoted thousands of hours to this collegiate run agency and club, which serves both RPI and several nearby communities, training drivers, leading an ongoing drive to obtain a new ambulance, and serving as Secretary, Scheduling Coordinator, 2nd Lieutenant, and 2 years as 1st Lieutenant.
In the middle of her first year, COVID 19 sent her back home where she found her family needing help to make ends meet. She took the next semester off and managed a restaurant while anxious to be back on campus.
In addition to RPIA, Dianna found other ways to “give back” to the community as a member of both Engineers Without Borders and Circle K, the largest service-oriented program for college students in the world, sponsored by Kiwanis International.
Working every semester as an on campus Resident Assistant as a way of helping her family “…make ends meet”, she advocated for the residents and worked to improve working conditions for her fellow RAs. As a student worker at the Rensselaer Union, she worked to become a Staff Coordinator, later leading student staff after regular business hours, working at both campus fitness centers, the Mueller Center and the East Campus Athletic Village (ECAV).
As a sophomore she was a leading member of the only hybrid (part in-person, part virtual) team in the Introduction to Engineering Design course creating a piece of equipment meant to improve the health of students around the globe. As an upper-class student, she enjoyed Biomechanics 2 and Muscle Modeling and Mechanics, both taught by her favorite professor, Dr. David T. Corr, who was elected into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in 2023. Playing a leading role in her Senior capstone project, she helped research, design, build, test and present a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection device designed to significantly reduce risk of infection, for which a patent is in process.
Following graduation, she chose to work in the Medical Device Industry for a time before deciding on advanced education. As we write, she is working at Olympus Medical Corporations of America, a child of Olympus Corporation that has been making high-quality cameras since the early 1900s. OMCA is a leading developer and manufacturer of high-grade imaging devices and other equipment for medical applications. After being a part of her first project involving Cystoscopes and Ureteroscopes, Dianna advises everyone to drink plenty of water!
Based on what she has already accomplished, we expect Dianna is on her way to a brilliant career.
About the Class of 1957 Spectrum Award
The Class of 1957 Spectrum Award was created in 2017 in honor of the Class of 1957’s 60th Reunion. The Reunion Planning Committee wanted to plan a class gift which would be directly tied to their class and leave a lasting impact on Rensselaer.
To accomplish that objective, to re-emphasize the Class’s long-standing legacy of generosity, and to keep their strong commitment to Rensselaer and to community service, they created an endowed prize fund which will carry the class name in perpetuity: The “Class of 1957 Spectrum Award: Academics, Service, and Involvement.” This award is given annually to a junior or senior engineering student with an outstanding academic record who also exemplifies the heart and attitude of community service.
Thanks to the generous support from many of the members of the Class of 1957, we are nearing a donation total of $200,000, and the award has now been presented to seven outstanding students.
If you would like to support the Spectrum Award via check or other offline giving method, please contact the Office of Annual Giving via email or by phone at (518) 276-6055.