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Jackson PizarroJackson, left, is the UAB undergraduate student of the year. Pizarro, right, is graduate student of the year. They were among 11 students recognized at the 2021 banquet of the Engineering Council of Birmingham.Krista Jackson and Diana Pizarro were named the UAB Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Students of the Year, respectively, Tuesday night at the Engineering Council of Birmingham’s (ECOB) 62nd Annual Awards Banquet.

The two students were chosen from a field of five undergraduate nominees and six graduate-student nominees. Each of the nominees was recognized as the student of the year from their respective departments or programs.

“Our judges faced a difficult decision to pick two students from this field of outstanding engineers,” said School of Engineering Dean Jeff Holmes, M.D., Ph.D. “When you consider the many challenges of the past year, the focus and the accomplishments of these students are truly impressive.”

In addition to Jackson, other undergraduate nominees were Sam Johnson (CCEE), Blake Wingard (ECE), Haas Blacksher (MSE), and Shayla Rose (ME). Graduate-student nominees included Daniëlle Pretorius (BME), Samain Sabrin (CCEE), Mahmoud Mohamed (MSE), Jordan Whitson (ME/IE), and Courtney Severino (MSEM).

Jackson is a recipient of the UAB Presidential Scholarship and Engineering Excellence Scholarship, and she has been on the UAB President’s list each year from Fall 2017 to the present.

Jackson has been engaged in a number of tutoring and mentoring activities. She is also an active researcher, having worked in the labs of UAB Professor of Medicine Dr. Nancy Tofil in 2019 and Biomedical Engineering Professor M.K. Sewell-Loftin in 2020. She also worked as an intern at Rowan BioMedical NSF REU at Rowan University in 2019, and she has given multiple presentations on electrospinning magnetic nanofiber materials.

Outside of her academic work at UAB, Jackson is passionate about encouraging young people to pursue STEM activities. She regularly volunteers for events such as Kids in Engineering Day and Girls in Science and Engineering Day, and she currently serves as vice president of the UAB chapter of Society of Women Engineers.

Pizarro won first place for a poster presentation at the NeuroNEM Conference in July 2019. She has co-authored multiple papers and delivered a number of presentations that deal with seizures and other neurological issues.

Since 2015, Pizarro has worked as a research assistant at UAB studying human SEEG signals using data collected from patients being monitored at the UAB Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU).

Outside of engineering, Pizarro is devoted to raising her two-year-old son, and she enjoys reading, hiking, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.