Two ChemE seniors selected as Andrew Carnegie Society Scholars

Lauren Smith

Oct 31, 2023

Tal Dassau and Anais Del Rosario Martinez are among the 2023-24 Andrew Carnegie Society (ACS) Scholars. ACS Scholars embody Carnegie Mellon's high standards of academic excellence, volunteerism, leadership, and involvement in student organizations, athletics, or the arts. They are selected each year by their deans and department heads to represent their class in service and leadership.

Each scholar receives a monetary award—made possible by the generosity of ACS members—to support their academic and personal growth. The ACS Scholars Program was launched in 1975 and has recognized almost 1,300 students to date.

Tal Dassau

Tal Dassau

Dassau is a senior majoring in chemical engineering, with an additional major in biomedical engineering. She is currently president of CMU Hillel. Dassau has served on other boards across campus, including the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), the ChemE Student Advisory Council, and Achayot Shel CMU, a Jewish feminist organization.

Dassau is also involved with Apex Buggy, an open source buggy team. "It's near and dear to my heart to be able to be open about your work," she says.

In Rosalyn Abbott's lab, Dassau has developed a novel open-source software for automated adipocyte tracing. Dassau's trajectory in tissue engineering, medicine, and disease intervention has been inspired by her grandfather, who has type 1 diabetes. "All the projects that I do end up being, to some extent, either quality of life, quality of care, or ease of use," she says.

As an intern at Tandem Diabetes Care, Dassau worked on computational fluid dynamics and machine learning models for multi-day insulin compatibility assessments. "The concepts and constructs that were taught to me early on in my chemical engineering education came into effect as I was tackling this project," she says. "How do I break down a problem, what are the key components, and how do I make the correct assumptions to deliver the product I was tasked with?"

Dassau says that the thought processes and work ethic instilled at CMU have prepared her for her career path. After graduation, she plans to work in industry before applying to graduate school. Dassau is considering MD/Ph.D. programs. "I like the idea of being both patient-side and in research," she says.

Anais Del Rosario Martinez

Anais Del Rosario Martinez

Del Rosario Martinez is a senior majoring in chemical engineering, with an additional major in biomedical engineering. When she started at CMU, however, she was exploring mechanical engineering. It was in her biomedical engineering classes that she became more interested in chemistry. "I noticed that mechanical engineering, when combined with biomedical engineering, focused on larger systems, like medical devices," she says. "I found cellular and molecular engineering more interesting."

Her first research experience was with Victoria Webster-Wood's Biohybrid and Organic Robotics Group, through the university's Summer Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship (SURA) program. Del Rosario Martinez built models for neural networks. "I was given an open-ended problem, possibly with no solution," she says. "It was my first introduction into that gray space and started my journey into research."

To supplement her research experience, Del Rosario Martinez wanted work experience in industry. Through the Practical Internships for Senior Chemical Engineering Students (PISCES) program in the Department of Chemical Engineering, she spent last year working at Corteva Agriscience.

"They had a rotational program through which I worked first in the manufacturing area and then with their data science team," she says. "It was great finding out the variability in the roles for chemical engineers in the company." Del Rosario Martinez noticed that the roles she would like to have in the future required a Ph.D. Her internship experience solidified her plans to go to graduate school.

On campus, Del Rosario Martinez has served in several leadership positions in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. She currently runs their mentorship program. "Being part of that community and having that support has been a highlight of my CMU journey," she says.