The Unsung Heroine Award recognizes a woman who has demonstrated extraordinary dedication to issues that face women at Duke or in the larger community, but whose efforts have not received formal recognition.
2009 Award Winner: MaryEllen Koran
MaryEllen Koran is a Biomedical Engineering major and a member of the graduating Class of 2009. She has been a visible leader in the Pratt School of Engineering, serving as the community service chair and then president of the Engineering Student Government. She is the co-founder and editor of JUPITER, the Journal of Undergraduate Publications in Technology and Engineering Research, an on-line forum for Pratt undergraduates to share their interest and success in research. MaryEllen is also the founder and director of a Pratt community service project for local Girl Scout troups, encouraging science and engineering careers. As community service chair for the Society of Women Engineers, she directs the organization’s involvement in FEMMES, an initiative that engages local elementary school girls in science, math, and engineering experiments.
Her peer nominator writes, “In the United States, currently only about 20% of students graduating with degrees in engineering are female. MaryEllen has been a role model for countless women in Pratt and an inspiration for girls and women everywhere pursuing higher math and science. She has had a far greater effect on me than she knows.”
MaryEllen is the captain for the women’s club swim team and is a Resident Assistant in Edens Quad. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, working out, and hanging out with friends.
She advises first-year women at Duke to tailor their extracurricular activities to help them in the long run. “You only have so much time at Duke, so don't spread yourself too thin. Pick a few extra-curricular activities that will help you reach your future goals and stick with them for your full four years here.”
MaryEllen will attend the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine next year, pursuing MD and PhD degrees as part of the Medical Scientist Training Program.