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Engineering senior Sharon Kuo (Photo from Penn Engineering Today).

Engineering senior Sharon Kuo is the inaugural recipient of the Madison “Maddie” Magee Award for Undergraduate Excellence. 

Kuo is graduating with a major in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics and a minor in mathematics. Her studies focus on mechanical and product design, and she is specifically interested in space exploration and advancing human spaceflight. The School of Engineering and Applied Science announced the award on March 31.

During COVID-19, Kuo took a leave of absence to learn more about mechanical design for both the medical device and aerospace industries. She completed internships with NASA and SpaceX, where she was involved in various spaceflight missions that sent astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station. Kuo also created and built augmented reality technologies for the next batch of spacesuits in the Artemis moon exploration program

At Penn, Kuo is involved in various clubs and organizations such as the Theta Tau engineering fraternity, PennLabs as design lead, and Marketing Undergraduate Student Establishment as the vice president of innovation. 

The award was created in memory of Madison “Maddie” Magee, who graduated from Penn in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics and a master's in bioengineering. 

Following Magee's death in 2022, 130 donors collaborated to raise over $50,000 to establish the award. Engineering seniors who “exemplify the energy, enthusiasm, and excellence that was Maddie” were said to be chosen to receive this award. 

Graham Wabiszewski, senior lecturer in MEAM, said that Kuo embodies the same principles as Magee. 

“She has frequently combined her formal education in engineering and programming and her love of art and design to improve others’ lives,” Wabiszewski told Penn Engineering Today. 

Kuo said she is grateful to be honored as the award's inaugural recipient.

“Maddie was able to hugely impact and inspire those around her with her energy and passion. I really hope that I can do the same," Kuo told Penn Engineering Today.