Research Park Honors Most Valuable Interns of 2016

Categories : Recognition & Awards, Research Park
Posted on: August 1, 2016

CHAMPAIGN – Research Park’s most outstanding interns were honored on Thursday, July 28, 2016 at the Research Park Summer Picnic.  Almost 600 highly skilled students work for Research Park tenant companies, where they gain valuable work experience as well as make significant contributions to internal corporate research and development programs.  The interns nominated for this year’s intern awards represent a wide range of backgrounds, and are all students at the University of Illinois. A team of Research Park professionals evaluated all nominations and voted on the finalists and winners.

The honorees are as follows:

Best Entrepreneurial Leadership in a Startup

Jessica Su, Technology Management, PhotoniCare. “Jessica exemplifies the startup mindset of problem-solving. If she does not know something, she figures it out. In my opinion, this is the single most-defining quality of a useful start-up team member. When everything you do it pushing the envelope, there are precious little resources you can use to figure something out. Learning to make do with what you have and learn need to learn as soon as possible is absolutely crucial, and Jessica models this behavior every day while pursuing a Masters degree.”

Finalists: Wesley Roth, Xerion Advanced Battery Corp.; Andrew Cona Van Castile, IllinoisRocstar; Kai Lopez, Intelinair

Best Technological Innovation

Anna Madison, Psychology, State Farm RDC “Anna is leading a team of interns to create a learning platform for new driving students to better learn the rules of the road. They are using 3D programming to create a VR environment so that students can become fully immersed in their learning. Anna is not only leading the project, but she has learned to program in Unity so that she can contribute and help with the pace as they fine tune the 3D assets used in the simulator.

Finalists: Mitch Van Swol, Riverbed Technology; Adrian Daneshvar, Granular

Most Advanced Marketing and Business Development

Sara Hoke, Communication, Common Ground Publishing. “Sara has led the redevelopment of our company social media plan; she built the strategy, that for the first time integrates all our departmental plans. She has also doubled social media traffic to websites.

Finalist: Tiffany Zhang, AbbVie; Annie Mengzhen, AE Machines

Most Outstanding Undergraduate

Noah Flynn, Bioengineering, AbbVie. “Noah’s primary focus was on developing a chord chart, which we will eventually incorporate as part of our toolbox. However, due to his outstanding aptitude and velocity, Noah went ahead and added a chord view to the interactome viewer, which has now been put into production and is utilized within the company. It’s a huge accomplishment for anyone in R&D IT, especially a student.

Finalists: Mariana Vetromille, Agrible; Raaji Khan, CEB Data Innovation Center

Most Outstanding Graduate

Avinash Ahuja, Computer Science, Anheuser-Busch InBev Bud Analytics Lab. “As a result of Avinash’s contributions with our Eagle Eye project, we have improved our customer data consolidation and analysis tool in a way that has allowed it to become scalable to any market in the world. As a result, I believe that AB InBev’s yearly revenue will increase greatly as we are able to leverage our consolidation data and analyses to reach new customers more efficiently than ever before.”

Finalists: Alexander Kaczkowski, Caterpillar; Alessandro Gondolo, Agrible; Zinnia Zhang, Abbott Laboratories