George Hacks Former and Current Directors, Caitlyn Pratt and Karen Rius, Receive the Neilom Prize for Social Impact

George Hacks is proud to congratulate the GW Class of 2020! Each graduate has worked tirelessly to achieve his or her degree and leave a lasting legacy here at GW. Today and always, we celebrate how their dedication to learning and a passion to make a difference in the world have culminated into one outstanding achievement that foreshadows a promising future for society.

Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, GW graduates were not able to celebrate their long-awaited commencement ceremony on the National Mall this year. Invited instead to join the 2021 GW Commencement the following year, seniors and graduates were still recognized virtually through a series of videos that aired from May 14th to 17th.

The GW School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) recognized their own seniors in a SEAS Commencement Celebration on May 15th. At the ceremony, faculty members presented awards to recognize students that have made a significant impact on the SEAS community whether academically, socially, or otherwise. Among these awardees were George Hacks Former and Current Directors, Caitlyn Pratt and Karen Rius respectively, both of whom received the Neilom Prize for Social Impact.

The Neilom Foundation was founded in 2013 by GW alumnus Davinder Anand, a Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus and Director of the Center of Engineering Concepts Development (CECD) at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Last year, Professor Anand was inducted into the GW Engineering Hall of Fame for his positive contributions to society, one of which is his own Neilom Foundation established in memory of his son Dilip Anand. The foundation’s mission: “To leverage the transformative power of mentoring and education through awards and grants that recognize, encourage and empower young people to generate and explore meaningful ideas and engage in activities with positive social impact that would lead to a better life.” Thus awards given to students from this foundation are in recognition of those who have made a positive social impact and change.  

This year marks the inaugural appearance of The Neilom Prize for Social Impact Award at GW. According to the Celebration Program for the 2020 SEAS Commencement Celebration, the award “is given to a junior or senior with a clear and articulated interest in the application of engineering to a particular area of social change.” With Caitlyn and Karen both actively involved in aiding SEAS’s response to the influx of COVID-19 related projects received by the school, we cannot think of any two individuals more deserving. We are proud of their dedication to these initiatives and their commitment to bestowing a positive social impact on the DC community even during this challenging time.

At the end of yet another academic year, George Hacks would like to close by thanking all the students that participated in Kogan Makerspace and our annual Medical Solutions Hackathon. We are also thankful to each of our partners, sponsors, and GW faculty for their continued support of our mission to promote an impact-driven healthcare innovation at GW. It is most certainly because of everyone’s support that George Hacks is the student organization it is today.


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