Two University of Bridgeport School of Engineering students have won scholarships from Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), the international honors society for students majoring in computing and information disciplines. Wafa Elmannai, a doctoral student of computer science and engineering, was one of three students in the U.S. to win a $2,500 UPE Executive Council Award. Larissa Vilaboim Oliveira, who earned a bachelor’s in computer engineering in May 2015, won a $500 UPE Honorable Mention Award. UPE was founded at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, in 1967, but now includes international chapters at colleges and universities throughout North America and overseas. Dedicated to recognizing academic excellence in computing and information disciplines, the UPE Executive Council each year evaluates scholarship applications from undergraduates and graduate students at universities across the United States. “The awards are a testament to the fact that hard work and perseverance know no limits. Both Wafa and Larissa are exceptional role models for students in engineering — men and women alike!” said Abhilasha Tibrewal, the UPE faculty adviser and a professor of computer science and engineering at UB. Elmannai was previously awarded a $20,000 fellowship by the American Association of University Women; she was the only student from Connecticut to win the prestigious grant. She has also been recognized as one of the most innovative women in Connecticut by the Connecticut Technology Council, which in 2014 selected her for one of its Women in Innovation awards. The mother of four daughters, Elmannai has spoken passionately about her desire to open doors of educational opportunity for young women in her home country of Libya. Oliveira, an honors student from Brazil, was been on the President’s List throughout her entire UB career and last spring was awarded the 2015 School of Engineering Academic Achievement Award. During the 2014-15 academic year, she served as vice president of the UB chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and was captain of the women’s volleyball team.
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