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Yonatan Shavit ’18, a mathematics major in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the 2018 recipient of the Marion A. Bills Memorial Endowed Scholarship that supports two years of graduate study at the prestigious University of Oxford in Oxford, England.
“Shavit is one of the most gifted and mathematically advanced undergraduate students that I have encountered in 30 years of teaching,” says Professor of Mathematics Robert Decker.
Decker’s praise is echoed throughout the Mathematics Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, where Shavit has made a lasting impression on the faculty and his fellow students.
He is known for his academic excellence, problem solving acumen, and mathematical insight. “I was stunned by how readily Yoni absorbed, as if they were second nature, some of the basic concepts and structures of analysis, algebra, and topology,” says Associate Professor of Mathematics Diego Bernardete, who taught Shavit in two classes. “It is an uncanny natural gift.”
Shavit has a passion for several other fields of mathematics, including geometry, number theory, and logic. It was his interest in nonlinear partial differential equations that led to a research project with Professor Decker. Shavit and his classmates presented their findings at the Hudson River Undergraduate Research Conference and Decker praised him for taking advanced concepts and presenting them to an audience. That ability to simplify complex ideas helped Shavit in his role as a math tutor and during math club meetings, when he would often solve the puzzles and explain the solutions to the other members.
Through the Marion A. Bills Scholarship, Shavit will pursue a graduate degree in mathematics at the University of Oxford. He then plans to earn a PhD and go on to a career in academia or in an industry fundamentally connected to mathematics, such as cryptography.
Scott Veilleux ’18, an economics and finance major in the Barney School of Business, is the 2018 recipient of the John G. Lee Medal that is awarded annually to an exemplary graduating senior based on academic excellence, community service, and a permanent home address in one of 30 designated towns in Greater Hartford.
Veilleux is renowned among Barney School of Business faculty for mentoring and tutoring his fellow students. It is this contribution and his success in the classroom that make him the ideal candidate for the John G. Lee Medal, awarded for academic excellence and a deep commitment to the community.
As a sophomore, Veilleux, who majored in economics and finance and minored in data analytics, mentored seven students in Professor James Fairfield-Sonn’s Introduction to Business class. Most recently, he mentored students in Associate Professor Charles Canedy’s marketing course. “He is a cosmological seeker-of-knowledge, willing to challenge the conventional wisdom of the course content, be it delivered by textbook or lecture,” says Canedy. “More than that, Scott exercises his leadership gravitas and supportive empathy of others in group learning projects.”
Veilleux was an economics tutor for all undergraduate economics sections, as well as microeconomics classes in the MBA program. He says he now defines his success not only by achievement, but also by how connected he is with those around him.
“Although I will be starting full-time at Aetna in June, I am almost certain I will become a college professor one day,” Veilleux predicts. “I love working with people. Passing on knowledge to others is an admirable purpose and I hope to be able … to continue the cycle that my professors began by teaching me.”
Veilleux is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society for AACSB-accredited schools, which are the top 5% of business school programs around the world. He is also the recipient of the Junior Regents’ Honor Award and an endowed Charles R. Canedy III prize.
Jarrett Lagler ’18, an acoustical engineering and music major in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture is the 2018 recipient of the Belle K. Ribicoff Prize that is awarded annually to an exemplary graduating senior who has demonstrated academic excellence, intellectual curiosity, originality of thought, and a commitment to extracurricular activities and community service.
Lagler has a cumulative 3.98 GPA and is a University Honors student. But he says it is the “simultaneous breadth and depth” of his involvement outside the classroom for which he is most proud. While majoring in acoustical engineering and music and minoring in mathematics, Lagler consistently sought out opportunities to enhance his education. As a first-year student, he researched mathematical models for acoustic wave propagation in neurons and presented his findings at a mathematics conference. After his sophomore year, he interned at Longman Lindsey, an architectural acoustics consulting firm. The following summer, he secured a highly competitive hardware engineering internship at Apple and will return there as a full-time engineer after Commencement.
Assistant Professor Eoin King, Lagler’s faculty advisor, says those experiences will help him succeed. “It is important that students see acoustical engineering in a larger context with connections to, and impacts on, many other disciplines,” explains King. “Jarrett has repeatedly shown a deep understanding of how engineering fits into this greater context.”
King and Lagler worked together extensively in and out of the classroom. Lagler is helping King develop a vehicle system that recognizes the sound of an emergency siren and then alerts the driver to the emergency vehicle’s relative location. King expects to publish their work and Lagler will be credited as a co-author. King also supervised Lagler’s honors thesis, which grew into a collaboration and technology licensing agreement with the UK-based company Ultrahaptics.
In addition to his research projects and internships, Lagler was a physics teaching assistant, an engineering tutor, president of the student chapter of the Acoustical Society of America, and a resident assistant.