2023 Outstanding Graduates: College of Science and Engineering

Biology, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, Polymer Materials Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy

This year's Outstanding Graduates from CSE, selected by their faculty, include a former NASA intern, a researcher and mentor in biology, and a chemist who launched a club to make professional development opportunities more accessible.

WWU Communications reached out to all the 2023 Outstanding Graduates to share their stories and photos. We've been celebrating these grads on social media and here at WWU News. 

Meet some of the Outstanding Graduates from the College of Science and Engineering: 

Natalie Culhane


Natalie Culhane, Geology

It took Natalie 11 years, two universities and seven community colleges to figure out exactly what she wanted to pursue in life. She feels lucky to have ended up in geology: both a topic and career she is passionate about. She loved all of her geology classes at Western. She also worked as a trip leader at Western’s AS Outdoor Center, completed a Pathways Internship with USGS, and wrote her senior thesis on paleoclimate of Australian alpine. Her professors describe her as persistent, encouraging and engaged. After graduation, she will attend graduate school in geology at Portland State University. 

Olivia Dong


Olivia Dong, Biology

Throughout her time at Western, Olivia was an accomplished student and researcher and was dedicated to equity and inclusion on campus. Her work to build support systems for students included co-chairing the Honors Students of Color Board, working as a Biology Student Ambassador, and helping to launch the Biology Peer Mentorship Program to support new biology students. Olivia also worked in the research lab of Dan Pollard, using yeast to study the dynamics of gene expression. Next, Olivia will spend five weeks studying abroad in China and then plans to work in biology research in the Seattle area.

Aili Emory

Electrical Engineering

Aili Emory, Electrical Engineering

Aili is an excited and passionate student in the Engineering Department. The embedded systems class series was a highlight, she says, and she’s proud of how much her coding skills improved  during the courses. She received honors in electrical engineering and served as both vice president and president of IEEE HKN. Outside of the classroom, she is an avid runner and winner of Bellingham’s Padden Mudfest. After graduation, she will move to Silverdale for her new job at NAVSEA as an electrical engineer fixing electronic parts for the U.S. Navy. 

Hanna Kodama


Hanna Kodama, Chemistry

Hanna is an accomplished student researcher who worked in the labs of both Associate Professor Jeanine Amacher and Vice Provost David Patrick, and spent a summer working in a cellular and molecular biology lab at The Jackson Laboratory. She co-authored three publications and is the first author on another publication in progress. Hanna also helped launch the Molecular Bioscience Club to create more academic and professional development opportunities for students. Next, she’ll begin a doctoral program at Brown University. 

Dan Struble

Polymer Materials Engineering

Dan Struble, Polymer Materials Engineering

Dan’s professors describe him as an excellent scholar welcoming and supportive to everyone he meets. He synthesized and characterized two novel, biobased materials during industry-partnered research and presented his research findings at the 2023 SAMPE Conference. He also co-established the Pay It Forward Scholarship, providing financial assistance for students in Polymer Materials Engineering. Next, Dan will attend the University of Southern Mississippi to pursue a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering.

Rose Una


Rose Una, Mathematics

As a Math Fellow, Rose tutored students in upper-division math courses and worked to create an inclusive, welcoming, supportive environment. She presented her ongoing math research at the annual Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics and interned at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, where she worked to improve global climate models. She’s thankful to have been a member of the CS/M Scholars Program, where she found community, collaboration and mentorship. In the fall, she’ll head to graduate school to study ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences. 

Andrea Wooley

Physics and Astronomy

Andrea Wooley, Physics and Astronomy

Andrea, the Presidential Scholar for the College of Science and Engineering, says the No. 1 reason for her success at Western was the community of care that she built for herself here.  As president of Physicists for Inclusion in STEM, she raised membership numbers and led a group of 11 students to a physics conference for undergraduate women at the University of Washington. She also worked as a teaching assistant and student ambassador for the College of Science and Engineering and was a union organizer for academic student employees. Andrea’s professors highlight her major diversity and service-related contributions to the university. Next, she will attend Michigan State University for a Ph.D. in physics. 

More 2023 Outstanding Grads


  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Woodring College of Education


Coming up: 

  • Interdisciplinary Programs
  • College of the Environment
  • Honors College