Alumni Association honors distinguished students

Author: Shannon Chapla


Maryann M. Erigha, a senior fromStone Mountain,Ga., and Paul R. Brenner, a doctoral student in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, have been selected recipients of theUniversityofNotre Dame Alumni Association’s 2007 Distinguished Student Award and Distinguished Graduate Student Award.The Alumni Association will host a luncheon in their honor May 4 (Friday).

A sociology and computer applications double major and stand-out member of Notre Dames track and field team, Erigha has compiled a 3.8 grade point average.She currently is completing her senior honors thesis on the effects of high school curricular tracking on college enrollment, for which her thesis director says she is conducting graduate-level research. A member of the Alpha Kappa Delta honor society in sociology, she also is a junior fellow of theAmericanAcademyof Political and Social Sciences.

Erigha, a major contributor on the track and field team, holds all sprint records for the University and is ranked in an elite group nationally.She owns the Notre Dame womens track record with 10 career all-conference citations (five indoor and five outdoor).In addition, she helped lead her team to the 2006 Big East Conference Indoor Championship.She has received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award and the ESPN/College Sports Information Directors Association academic all-district honors.

A leader on and off the field, Erigha volunteers in the Office of Student Development and Welfare, in which she helps develop leadership programs for student-athletes.She has served as a teacher assistant in the Early Childhood DevelopmentCenter, and during her fall break last semester, she helped with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts inNew Orleans.

Brenner earned his bachelors degree in civil engineering from Notre Dame in 1998 and a masters degree in materials science fromOhioStateUniversityin 2000.He obtained his professional engineering license while working as a civil engineering manager at the McGill Corporation, then returned to Notre Dame in 2003 to work on his doctorate.

Recognized for his outstanding work as a teaching assistant, Brenner has co-authored more than 10 peer-reviewed papers and instructed multiple undergraduate courses.For the past three years, he has led a service-learning program in computer science and engineering.His team of student engineers functions as a consulting firm for local and national non-profit agencies.Operating under the name SERO (Student Engineers Reaching Out), his team has undertaken a variety of projects, including renovation design for St. Margarets House in South Bend, toy modifications for children with disabilities, and Web technology for a minority community support center.

Additionally, Brenner serves as an engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, providing leadership for his squadron of more than 150 personnel, and consulting support for a Department of Defense high performance computing center.

Notre Dames Center for Social Concerns awarded Brenner a Ganey Grant, which supports his research endeavors.

Brenner and his wife, Elly, also a 1998 Notre Dame graduate, have a daughter, Claire.

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