Graduating senior Sarah Duclos of Clifton Park, N.Y., received the Frederica Clarkson Award during Clarkson University’s spring 2019 commencement ceremony on May 11. She was selected for the $1,000 award by a vote of the full University faculty based on her scholarship and promise of outstanding achievement.
The award was established in 1921 as a bequest in the will of Frederica Clarkson, sister of Thomas S. Clarkson, for whom the University is named. This award and the Levinus Clarkson Award are traditionally given to the two top students in the graduating class.
Duclos, a member of the Honors Program, received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. She has been a presidential scholar each semester at Clarkson and graduated with a 3.99 GPA. She is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, twice recognized by Phalanx with Commendable Service and Leadership Awards and subsequently tapped into Phalanx in 2018, serving as the president’s liaison. She has served as vice president of Engineers Without Borders and led a two-week trip to Uganda.
She has conducted research in Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Arthur Michalek's Connective Tissue Lab since the summer of 2016. Her work has focused on measuring residual strain in intervertebral discs and is published in the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. It was also selected as a finalist in the poster-teaser category at the 2017 Orthopedic Research Society Annual Meeting.
Duclos' honors thesis is a culmination of her residual strain research and her recent work on how intervertebral disc structure and composition is affected by muscle loading.
Last summer, Duclos participated in a research experience for undergraduates at the University of Rochester, where she conducted research in a biomedical optics lab. Duclos interned at GE Renewable Energy under the Edison Engineering Development Program during summer 2017, participated in the Clarkson Honors Summer Research Program during summer 2016 and studied abroad at the Technical University of Denmark in the spring of 2018. She was also a recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2018.
In addition to her outstanding academic achievements, Duclos is also an accomplished athlete serving as captain of both the Cross Country and Nordic Ski teams, as well as having completed all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks! She performs community service as well, founding her own organization, the Potsdam Summer Youth Running Club, and working as a tutor for chemistry and teaching assistant for First Year Seminar.
After graduation, Duclos will start her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan.