Six students recognized for mechanical, nuclear engineering achievements


The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering held its spring Senior Recognition Reception and Banquet to honor its outstanding mechanical and nuclear engineering students. Karen Thole, department head, mechanical and nuclear engineering, and Arthur Motta, program chair, nuclear engineering, presented awards to six students for exceptional achievements. The guest speaker at the event was Danielle Zurovcik, Penn State alumna and winner of the Penn State Mechanical Engineering Alumni Society 2015 Early Career Award.

Blake Maloney received the Boeing Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Junior Award for scholastic achievement as well as his interest in the aerospace industry. Maloney started his Penn State journey at Penn State Greater Allegheny where he was an honors scholar and received first place in the Penn State Greater Allegheny Research Conference for his design of a small-scale model of a self-balancing, two-wheeled vehicle. Maloney is a Blue and White Scholarship and a Renaissance Scholarship recipient. He especially enjoys working with other students and has been a peer tutor and a teaching intern during his time at Penn State. In spring 2014 he was awarded entrance to the Schreyer Honors College.

Rachel Perini and Maryellen Overbaugh received the Thomas Briggs Hunter Memorial Award for Student Leadership for their outstanding leadership qualities, volunteer spirit and citizenship directed into programs that have positively influenced the department, college, University and community. Perini is an Engineering Ambassador and a member of the Penn State Women in Engineering Program. She has volunteered with Catholic Campus Ministries, Mission Mexico and Habitat for Humanity. Perini is a recipient of the AMETEK Outstanding Student Leader Award, the GE Woman’s Network Award and the Louis A. Harding Memorial Scholarship. She is a Schuman Scholar, an undergraduate research position awarded to mechanical and nuclear engineering students, and a winner of the Leonhard Center Speaking Contest.

Overbaugh is the recipient of many scholarships and awards, including the II-VI Foundation Scholarship, the Penn State College of Engineering Scholarship, the President’s Freshman Award, the President Sparks Award, the Evan Pugh Junior Scholar Award, the Penn State Crowley Scholarship, the Louis A. Harding Memorial Scholarship and the Bayard D. Kunkle Scholarship. She was a Leonhard Center Speaking Contest winner and a New York Times Speaking Contest winner. She is actively involved with the Penn State Dance Marathon and the Penn State Women in Engineering Program. Overbaugh has led technical communications workshops with the Undergraduate Teaching and Research Experience in Engineering (UTREE). She was also a teaching intern and undergraduate research assistant.

Daniel Ruth received the Dr. John P. Karidis Department Head’s Award for Research Achievement in Mechanical Engineering for making important contributions in forwarding research in mechanical engineering. In 2014, Ruth received a College of Engineering Research Experience Grant to continue research in the reacting flow dynamics lab. Ruth is also doing a co-op in the Advanced Technology and Research division of Volvo Group Trucks. In addition to his research achievements, Ruth is part of the Penn State Soaring Club, the Penn State Glee Club and the Penn State Liszt Society, an organization for pianists studying at Penn State.

Mara Levy received the Beecher Loftus Leadership and Service in Nuclear Engineering Award for her excellence in leadership and service in the field of nuclear engineering. Levy is in the Penn State Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Women in Nuclear, the American Nuclear Society and the Penn State Rifle Club. Levy was a Postal Service Merit Scholarship award winner. She was an Exelon Intern Mentor and was recognized by the department for being a good upperclassman mentor to younger Exelon interns. Levy will be working for Three Mile Island after graduation.

Kelly McClure received the John Brennan Excellence in Nuclear Engineering Award for her academic excellence. McClure, a Schreyer Scholar, is involved with the American Nuclear Society and helped to run the 2014 student conference. She is also a member of Women in Nuclear and the Alpha Nu Sigma Honor Society. McClure was awarded the Bernadetta and Warren Witzig Nuclear Engineering Merit Scholarship, the Smidansky Family Scholarship in Engineering and the National Academy of Nuclear Training Scholarship. McClure will be working with Exelon Corp. after graduation.


Share this story:

facebook linked in twitter email


Shea Bracken

Blake Maloney
Blake Maloney and Karen Thole

Rachel Perini
Rachel Perini and Karen Thole

Maryellen Overbaugh
Maryellen Overbaugh and Karen Thole

Daniel Ruth
Daniel Ruth and Karen Thole

Mara Levy
Mara Levy and Arthur Motta

Kelly McClure
Kelly McClure and Arthur Motta



The Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Penn State is one of the nation’s largest and most successful engineering departments. We serve more than 1,000 undergraduate students and more than 330 graduate students

We offer B.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and nuclear engineering as well as resident (M.S., Ph.D.) and online (M.S., M.Eng.) graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and mechanical engineering. MNE's strength is in offering hands-on experience in highly relevant research areas, such as energy, homeland security, biomedical devices, and transportation systems.

Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

137 Reber Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4400

Phone: 814-865-2519