|Posted on February 13, 2017 at 7:25 PM|
In 2016, the Sho Funai Educational Foundation—in partnership with UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering—created the Sho Funai Endowed Prize in Structural Engineering. This prize is the first of its kind at the Jacobs School, each year awarding $1,000 to one exceptional student who upholds some of the values that Sho embodied and who demonstrates passion and inspiration for achieving his or her goals.
Applicants will be held to strict academic standards. Applicants must be enrolled in the UCSD structural engineering program with a minimum 24 units of coursework, a 3.5 GPA or higher, and must be engaged in research and working towards a thesis or dissertation. Applications require a cover letter and short essay.
On December 1, 2016, the inaugural prize was awarded to Joaquin Marquez, a second year PhD student in structural engineering.
“This prize is very humbling to me,” said Joaquin. “[It] really feels like I am being selected to honor Sho and being trusted to celebrate his memory in a lasting way.”
Joaquin’s research is making important contributions to the safety of buildings and structures against future earthquakes. His research focuses on improving and innovating viscous damping technology to provide cost effective seismic prevention for vulnerable structures on the west coast.
In addition to excelling at his schoolwork, Joaquin co-founded The Excelsior Initiative, a non-profit organization that leverages STEM education as a means to support vulnerable first generation college students.
“I will be using this money for the nonprofit to keep improving it and reaching out to more people... Many students drop out of college because they are underprepared, lack access to resources, and face unique social and psychological challenges,” said Joaquin. “We wanted to create the Excelsior Initiative to help students by providing them with individualized mentoring, specific step-by-step information, and contacts for research and extracurricular opportunities to ensure that they thrive at the college level.”