The University of Nevada, Reno named Steven DelaCruz the recipient of the 2015 Herz Gold Medal for outstanding scholarship. The Herz Gold Medal is presented each year during the Spring Commencement ceremony to the graduating senior with the highest grade-point average.
DelaCruz, a born-and-raised Nevadan and graduate of Canyon Springs High School's Leadership and Law Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas, graduates from the University at 4:45 p.m., Friday, May 15, with a bachelor's of science degree in chemical engineering and minors in renewable energy, statistics and chemistry.
In addition to this most recent accolade, DelaCruz has a number of notable accomplishments including being named as the 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 2013 Udall Scholar, 2014 Regent's Undergraduate Scholar, 2015-16 Tau Pi Fellow and this year's Senior Scholar for the College of Engineering. A member of the University Honors Program, DelaCruz has completed more than 50 credits worth of honors coursework, the most in the University program's history.
DelaCruz has been actively involved throughout his time at the University. He studied renewable energy abroad in Bilbao, Spain via the USAC program and studied energy technologies in both Brisbane, Australia and St. Louis, Mo. via a National Science Foundation research opportunity. He is involved with several campus organizations and was the secretary of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and treasurer of Engineers Without Borders. He is the founder and president of the campus Sustainable Energy Network, and a member of the Young Professionals in Energy and Tau Beta Pi Association.
"The past four years at the University of Nevada, Reno have been the most formative of my life both professionally and personally," DelaCruz said. "My path to a degree in chemical engineering has been a challenging one filled with long nights of frustration and study but to which, upon reflection, I can attest is absolutely rewarding. I will be leaving the University with a unique and adaptive perspective and the tools to solve an array of problems."
DelaCruz's work has made an impression on a number of University faculty and staff, including Vaidyanathan (Ravi) Subramanian, associate professor of chemical engineering and SOLAR Lab director.
"Steven is an extremely talented student who has been able to learn and evolve by participating in various activities during his time here at the University," Subramanian said. "He has a diverse portfolio; he's a top academic scholar, a student body officer, an evolving researcher and an endowed multi-tasker. Steven has a clear vision for his future and he is articulate about what he wants. He is a rare talent. People should know the University is capable of fostering students like Steven, helping them succeed during their four years here and beyond."
After graduation, DelaCruz plans on pursuing a doctorate degree in chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he intends to research new technologies for energy applications.
The Herz Gold Medal is the University of Nevada, Reno's oldest and most prestigious award and was established in 1910 when the University was only 36 years old by brothers Richard, Carl and Otto Herz.
Funding for the award is provided by the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation and the Thelma B. and Thomas P. Hart Foundation, a Reno-based charity. The foundations continue to honor the Herz family and this tradition of recognizing excellence.