OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering Presents Prestigious Awards at Fund-Raising Event

04/28/04    Portland, Ore.


A university president and two graduate students received prestigious awards during a recent fund-raising event, "Picnic in the Park," held on behalf of Oregon Health & Science University's OGI School of Science & Engineering. Those receiving awards include:

Peter Kohler, M.D., 16-year president of Oregon Health & Science University, received the Howard Vollum Leadership Award. The Howard Vollum Leadership Award recognizes those individuals and organizations whose exceptional vision, leadership and generosity have benefited the advancement of the OGI School of Science & Engineering and the broader community. Kohler played a pivotal role in the successful 2001 merger between OHSU and what was then known as the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology. The unique alliance between OGI and OHSU has leveraged the complementary strengths of both institutions and enabled OHSU to seize research and education opportunities that combine medicine, science, and engineering. Kohler is active in health policy, research, and education at the national level and is noted for his advocacy for increased access to health care and quality of life for underserved populations. He helped develop an AHEC (Area Health Education Center) program in Oregon and led efforts to increase the number of generalists being trained. Kohler also has served as chair of the Oregon Health Council, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) Endocrinology Study Section, and the NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Board of Scientific Counselors. He is on the Board of Directors of Stancorp Financial Group, has served as Chairman of the Board of the Association of Academic Health Centers, and has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Portland Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Ameer D. Tavakoli, M.S., a doctoral student in environmental and biomolecular systems, received a 2004 Paul Clayton Student Achievement Award, presented annually to two doctoral students by faculty and peers in recognition of their excellent leadership, research, scholarship and service. Tavakoli works with professor James Pankow, Ph.D., analyzing tobacco smoke to better understand how its chemical properties govern compound distribution between the gas phase and suspended particles. Tavakoli received his bachelor's in chemistry from Northland College (Ashland, Wis.) in 1995 and his master's in environmental science and engineering from the OGI School of Science & Engineering in 1997 (the school was then known as Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology). He is a peer-reviewer for Environmental Science & Technology, the leading journal in its field and serves as a teaching assistant for chemistry courses at OGI. He has also been heavily involved in OGI campus life, holding numerous positions on the student council, and is a volunteer mentor and instructor for such programs as Saturday Academy, the Student Watershed Research Project, and Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Tavakoli lives in NW Portland.

Iavor S. Diatchki, a doctoral student in computer science and engineering, received a 2004 Paul Clayton Student Achievement Award, presented annually to two doctoral students by faculty and peers in recognition of their excellent leadership, research, scholarship and service. Diatchki works with professor Mark Jones, Ph.D., focusing on the challenges of building reliable software for embedded systems where it is important to maintain precise and accurate control over the use of memory, time, and other critical resources. Diatchki received his bachelor's degree in computer science and mathematics from the University of Capetown (South Africa). He has published and presented his research in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and has taught a 500-level course on data structures and discrete math. Diatchki also helped organize the 2002 ICFP (International Conference on Functional Programming) functional programming contest with professor Tim Sheard, Ph.D., is on the student council, and organized a weekly reading night for computer science faculty and students. He lives in Portland.

Picnic in the Park has outgrown its origins as an informal gathering of friends and OGI supporters on the school's park-like Hillsboro, Ore., campus. During the past decade, the event has grown in size and stature to become an evening gala and an important fundraising even that supports the graduate science and engineering education at OGI. Proceeds from this years event will be used to fund the Paul Clayton Student Achievement Awards.

For more information about gifts to OHSU's OGI School of Science & Engineering, please contact Mary Jo Ahlbrandt at 503 748-1465.

The OGI School of Science & Engineering (formerly the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science & Technology) became one of four specialty schools of Oregon Health & Science University in 2001.

###