Eleanor (Lily) Turaski has been awarded the Tau Beta Pi Senior Engineering Cup, the highest honor from the Georgia Tech College of Engineering, recognizing academic excellence, leadership, and service. Turaski was selected from approximately 2,000 graduating engineers for this honor and will receive an engraved cup and $5,000 in recognition of her accomplishments.
Turaski grew up in Blount County where she was a homeschooled student. She won a full scholarship to Georgia Tech where she is a Stamps President’s Scholar graduating in May with a 4.0 GPA. Turaski is majoring in Materials Science Engineering (MSE) with a minor in Chemistry. She took advantage of many opportunities offered at Georgia Tech ranging from playing intramural sports to a semester of study abroad in Italy.
In addition to excelling in the classroom, she has seven semesters of research experience in two Georgia Tech labs and has presented her research at four national conferences. For her research endeavors, Turaski was selected for the prestigious Goldwater Fellowship in 2019 which recognizes the top students across the country participating in STEM research.
“I have really enjoyed my classes at Georgia Tech, and I am so thankful for our incredible faculty,” says Turaski. “Georgia Tech is a special place, where you are surrounded by incredibly talented and diverse people. I have learned so much not only from my classes and my professors, but also from my peers.”
Dr. Jud Ready remarked, “Turaski was a fabulous student in my lab. She demonstrated leadership and resourcefulness in the research programs she participated in, and it was a pleasure to see her grow and develop scientifically.”
Dr. Mary Lynn Realff said, “The thing that makes Turaski stand out among her peers is that when she notices a need of any sort, she immediately thinks about how it could be addressed. Once she figures how to do that, she goes right ahead and gets it done.”
As a sophomore, Turaski created an undergraduate leadership team for Women in MSE (WiMSE) to integrate with the graduate team, and she served as the first undergraduate president of WiMSE. She was also instrumental in revitalizing the Material Advantage chapter at Georgia Tech, which was subsequently named one of the top five chapters globally in 2020, and of which she is currently vice president. In 2019, she founded the MSE Peer Partners Organization, which works alongside the MSE advising staff to help students with topics such as course scheduling, applying for internships, and finding undergraduate research opportunities.
Turaski has had an impact on K-12 STEM students in Atlanta and across the country through her volunteer efforts with MSE education outreach. She was also active in the MSE Materials Innovation Learning Laboratory (MILL) make-and-measure space at Georgia Tech in the outreach team and the characterization team, overseeing equipment use and training new users.
The drive for academic excellence that Turaski displays is impressive, but more than that, she has a passion for helping those around her.
“She is a dedicated, thoughtful student, one who strives to build community and advocate for STEM women to magnify their voice,” said Realff. “Turaski stands out among the thousands of students that have passed through my hands over the years just by how effective she has been in making the School of MSE and Georgia Tech a more inviting, inclusive and diverse community.”
Shortly after being named the winner of the Senior Engineering Cup, Turaski received a competitive fellowship from the National Science Foundation which will pay for her to continue her studies at the graduate level. She will begin a Ph.D. in MSE at Stanford University in the fall where she will focus on electronic materials.
The Georgia Tech Senior Engineering Cup is supported by the Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society and by the family of Narl Davidson, who served as associate dean in the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech until 2006.