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NMSU graduate named to USA Today All-Academic Team

New Mexico State University graduate Marzyeh Ghassemi was named to USA Today's All-USA College Academic Team Wednesday, Feb. 15.



New Mexico State University graduate Marzyeh Ghassemi was named to USA Today's All-USA College Academic Team. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Ghassemi, who was honored at NMSU's December 2005 commencement ceremony as the outstanding senior for both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, was named to USA Today's College Academic Second Team.

Started in 1996, the program honors undergraduates who not only excel in scholarship, but also extend their intellectual abilities beyond the classroom to benefit society. Twenty students each were named to the first, second and third teams based on their grades, academic rigor, leadership, activities and an essay describing their most outstanding intellectual endeavor while in college.

Ghassemi, who is working as a rotational engineer in the digital health group at Intel, wrote her essay about the use of neural networks in health care today.

"I believe digital health is of huge importance to the human condition," Ghassemi said. "I believe that using a neural network to make an advance diagnosis will speed health care, lower medical costs, reduce errors and allow doctors to focus on tasks that computers are not capable of."

Ghassemi plans to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering and use her knowledge to push medical improvements into industry for development as modern, affordable devices.

"We are proud of Marzyeh. She is a special student and deserves this prestigious national recognition," said Jason Ackleson, director of the Office of National Scholarships. "This award also demonstrates that NMSU's best and brightest students can compete and win on the national stage."

Ghassemi was enrolled at NMSU at the age of 15 after being home schooled at an early age by her mother, Maryam Ghassemi. She said she wanted to learn to read at the age of four when another girl teased her that she couldn't.

Her father, Abbas Ghassemi, is the director of the NMSU-based WERC, a consortium for environmental education and technology development.

Ghassemi initially began pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, but she enjoyed taking a programming class so much that she declared computer science as a second major. She then learned she would only need a few more classes to have a mathematics degree, so she added it as well.

Ghassemi graduated with a grade point average of 3.9 and was a 2005-06 Goldwater Scholar. She has served as president of the NMSU Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, ambassador for the NMSU College of Engineering and president of Alpha Chi honor society. She has volunteered with the Dona Ana County Detention Center as a math teacher, the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, Dona Ana County Teen Court, Jardin de los Ninos and NMSU Habitat for Humanity.

The honorees in USA Today's 17th annual undergraduate recognition program were selected from more than 600 nominees.

"This year's honorees represent a new generation with passion, promise and a global perspective. We're pleased to be able to salute the good work and commitment of these outstanding students, all of whom are destined to make a difference," USA Today editor Ken Paulson said in an article announcing the winners.

Photo is available at http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/ghassemi_marzyeh.jpg
CUTLINE: New Mexico State University graduate Marzyeh Ghassemi was named to USA Today's All-USA College Academic Team. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)

Julie M. Hughes
Feb. 15, 2006