Pragya Singh, Altarash Barthakur, Piyada Chaiyakiturajai, Mark Mao pose for their senior photo in front of the beach.

Image caption: Pragya Singh, Altarash Barthakur, Piyada Chaiyakiturajai, Mark Mao pose for their senior photo in front of the beach.

Image credit: Jacob deNobel

Commencement 2019

Seniors salute those who made a difference during their time at Hopkins

We asked several soon-to-be graduates who had the biggest impact on their experience at Johns Hopkins. This is what they told us.

Even with hard work, brilliance, and dedication, no one makes it to the Commencement stage without some help. Behind every Hopkins graduate is a network of family, friends, faculty, and staff who helped them get to this point by providing support, guidance, and advice.

As Commencement approaches, the Hub asked some soon-to-be grads to reflect on the people who have made the biggest impact during their time at Hopkins.

Here's what they said.

Sonia Trakru

Biomedical engineering

Sonie Trakru

"Professor [Annette] Leps in the Center for Leadership Education. I had a big change in career interest that she helped me navigate. I came in as pre-med but became interested in working in finance. I hadn't spoken to her much in the course, but I stopped by her office hours one day, and she helped me outline a plan for this new career in a totally different industry. I managed to get an internship with Goldman Sachs and she gave me the support I needed in finding my way in this totally new field."

Bilal Sadik

Computer science

Bilal Sadik

"Joanne Selinski of the computer science department has always had my back. I had trouble with classes sometimes, but she was always someone you could go and talk to. I respect her a lot and even ended up TAing for her. I feel like she was a really positive presence for me and the entire department."

Mark Mao, Altarash Barthakur, Piyada Chaiyakiturajai, and Pragya Singh

Chemical engineering

Mark Mao, Altarash Barthakur, Piyada Chaiyakiturajai, and Pragya Singh

Image credit: Jacob deNobel

"These people right here with me," said Pragya Singh (far right).

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"We're chemical engineering majors, so there's a lot of group work. Senior design. Senior lab. We have to work together and build that bond," added Mark Mao (far left).

"We stuck together in class," said Piyada Chaiyakiturajai (center right). "We went on trips together. We went to Puerto Rico and to Miami together. We were basically a home away from home."

"I think the emphasis on group work, and being such good friends creates a family feeling," added Altarash Barthakur (center left). "That's what we are. We feel like a family."

Kush Mansuria

Molecular and cellular biology

Kush Mansuria

"TAing for Dr. [Larissa] D'Souza showed me how much I enjoy being in an environment where you get to teach others. That was a really great experience that shaped what I want to do going forward."

Jonathan Dong (right)

Biology

Eric Waelbroeck, Michael Sun, Jonathan Dong

Image credit: Jacob deNobel

"My friends Eric (left) and Michael (center). We formed study groups, because we were in the same class. We'd study for exams together and we blended that boundary between academics and social life to make life easier. There was one night we were studying for a bio exam where we had a swearing-in ceremony, where we all put our hands on a stack of biochem textbooks to form that bond."

Annie Xie

Applied mathematics and statistics

Annie Xie

"There were two professors I connected with here, Professor [Donniell] Fishkind and Professor [Avanti] Athreya in the applied mathematics and statistics department. They just taught in a way that I thought. So learning from them was just very comfortable. It was a really good experience."

Rory Cole

Materials science and engineering

Rory Cole

Image credit: Jacob deNobel

"Professor Orla Wilson of the Materials Science and Engineering department. She works really hard with all of the Math Sci kids and created such a really great relationship with all of us."

Lexi Scholtz

Biomedical engineering

Lexi Scholtz

Image credit: Jacob deNobel

"I have to say Rory Cole. I lived with her for four years, and she's gotten me through a lot of stuff, and was always there for me when things got hard. It's ok she didn't say me."