For Naijia Hao and countless others, the spring 2020 semester ended abruptly and without the usual fanfare and celebration typically associated with completing a PhD program. Hao didn’t even get to say goodbye to many of her friends and colleagues before she left Knoxville for New Mexico to begin a post-doctoral research associate position at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Little did she know, the department was planning a virtual celebration. Shortly after arriving in Los Alamos, she received a package reminding her of her accomplishments at UT.
Hao was awarded the 2020 Jim and Sändra McKinley Outstanding Graduate Student Award, given annually to CBE graduate students who show a high degree of effort and hard work in their studies. She had been notified of the recognition prior to leaving campus, but the traditional presentation of the award at the department’s spring banquet was canceled due to the pandemic.
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