University of Pittsburgh
May 3, 2012

Pitt University Scholar Laura Dempsey Named Emma Locke Award Winner

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh graduating senior Laura Dempsey has been awarded the 2012 Emma Locke Award. Dempsey, a University Scholar, graduated April 29 with a BS degree in bioengineering from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and a BA degree in studio arts with a minor in chemistry from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. The Emma Locke Award was announced during Pitt’s Honors Convocation earlier this semester. 

Established in 1946 by Charles A. Locke in memory of his mother, the Emma W. Locke Award is presented annually to a graduating senior in recognition of high scholarship, character, and devotion to the ideals of the University. The student must have at least a 3.85 GPA and plan to continue his or her education after graduation.

This fall, Dempsey, of Bellvue, Colo., will move to England to pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in clinical neuroscience; she also is one of only 50 recipients worldwide of this year’s Whitaker International Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. 

During her time at Pitt, Dempsey has participated in numerous research internships, including a an industrial internship at the bioengineering company ICx-Agentase, where she helped develop a novel strippable coating formulation for military equipment that would disclose and potentially decontaminate G-series nerve agents and sulfur mustard. While most recently interning at UPMC’s MRI Research Center, Dempsey researched a novel Near-Infrared-Spectroscopy imaging system to be used primarily on neonates. 

Dempsey has also gained international experiences while at Pitt. In 2008 she participated in the Plus 3 Study Abroad Program offered by Pitt’s Business School in Beijing, China. Last summer, she also partook in a study abroad program in Florence, Italy, where she studied studio art and art history. 

Involved in many leadership roles, Dempsey has served as vice president for the Pittsburgh Taiko Japanese Drumming Group, as well as serving as business manager of the Strolling Strings, an Honors College-based string group she initiated. She also was a member of the Student Honors Activity Committee. 

In addition to being a University Scholar, Dempsey was a recipient of the Honors College Scholarship and also received the George Washington Scholar Award as the single outstanding engineering senior in 2011.





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