2020 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award

Damini Agarwal, Whiting School of Engineering 2017

In a little over two years since graduation, Damini has emerged as a leader in our company, Infinite Biomedical Technologies, a spinoff of Prof. Nitish Thakor's Neuroengineering lab at Johns Hopkins University. Her Master's thesis work on the use of carbon nanotubes in conformal electromyography interfaces subsequently led to a Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Institutes of Health. The resultant product is currently in clinical trials with a projected launch next year. She is now the Director of Product Development at IBT, where she has led a team of seven engineers in her product development team to help launch the Sense pattern recognition controller, a machine learning-based control strategy for upper limb prosthetic hands, wrists, and elbows. Damini successfully led the team to receive 510(k) clearance for Sense as a Class II medical device, which was launched in the US in January of 2019. She has worked directly with clinicians and patients to fit Sense, which is the second most popular pattern recognition controller on the market. The launch of the product has also helped IBT to increase its revenue by 81% year over year. Damini now manages four products on the market and two more in development.



Lou Bartolo, School of Nursing 2018

Lou Bartolo graduated from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Master’s Entry into Nursing program in 2018. He is a native New Orleanian and registered nurse at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC as the Quality Assurance Coordinator for Bone Marrow Transplant.  While specializing in Pediatric Oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital Children's Center, Lou realized these children need to enjoy life more than only in a hospital environment. The same goes for the family - they all struggle physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. This experience led him to found Asclepius, Mardi Gras Beats Pediatric Cancer. Asclepius is a not-for-profit organization that provides pediatric oncology patients and families a once-in-a-lifetime Mardi Gras experience.  Lou continues to grow as a dedicated leader. He serves on the Northeast regional committee for the American Association for Men in Nursing, while being a member of the Oncology Nursing Society, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives. Lou is always gracious with his time and talents. He continues to support JHSON students by participating in career panel discussions, and serving as a mentor to many students. During his time completing his MSN, Lou won the Student Shining Star Award, the caRING Ring, and the Robert G. Merrick award for leadership in the field of nursing. Lou received his Student Shining Star Award at the JHSON Annual Evening with the Stars gala. Since receiving his award in 2017, each year Lou has graciously sponsored a table at the event for student leaders to attend.


Molly Dillon, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, 2011

Molly Dillon served in the White House from age 23 to age 27 (until the end of the Obama Administration), and most recently as a Policy Advisor for Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity in the Domestic Policy Council. In that role, she focused on civil rights policy, including criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, women’s equality, voting rights, human services, housing, labor, economic mobility, and urban communities. She previously served as an intern and a Policy Assistant in the same office. Originally from Highland Park, Illinois, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Johns Hopkins University in 2011, and holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. After the Administration, Molly continued her time in public service as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the New York Governor. Most recently, she has advised philanthropic foundations, non-profit organizations, and political campaigns. In 2019, Molly compiled and published, "Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House." Since its release in March, the book has become a New York Times Bestseller and has been optioned as a television series. Molly herself has spent the year traveling the country promoting the book with her fellow White House alumnae; recording the book's audio version; and going over her federal government experience as the keynote speaker of the 10th Annual Seniors and Young Alumni Leadership Symposium at Homewood


Natalie Draisin, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences 2010, Carey Business School 2015, Bloomberg School of Public Health 2015   

Natalie Draisin’s commitment to road safety emerged from a tragedy. As an undergraduate at Hopkins, her friend was killed by a drunk driver while walking to school. Natalie became determined to prevent others from dying on the roads as they exercised their right to an education. She advocated for breathalyzers in cars to prevent drunk driving and formed a coalition including Baltimore DOT, MADD, and Hopkins to make campus streets safer.  Today, she continues to focus on the leading killer of youth - road traffic. As the Director of the North American Office and the United Nations Representative for the FIA Foundation, she leads activities across the Americas and advances evidence-based solutions for safe, sustainable mobility globally. At the UN, Draisin advocated for the inclusion of road safety in their Sustainable Development Goals and leads efforts to prioritize safe and healthy journeys to school. She also secured support from US Representatives to encourage the World Bank to require stronger safety measures in their five billion USD of road funding.  As a speaker at forums including the United Nations, World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, Draisin connects data with personal stories to spur leadership, secure resources, and garner support. She founded Vision Zero for Youth with National Center for Safe Routes to School and enabled the creation of the New Mobility Initiative at Hopkins. She places children at the center of the political agenda through collaboration with partners such as the World Health Organization, Save the Children, UNICEF, and the CDC.



Astrid Haas, School of Advanced International Studies, Bologna 2009, 2010

Since her graduation, Astrid Haas has continuously demonstrated her active engagement and passion for SAIS, offering support in a variety of meaningful and useful ways, most notably through her role as junior member of the SAIS Europe Advisory Council from 2009 to 2014. Astrid is an urban economist who has worked in government and non-governmental organizations across various countries.  She is currently Policy Director working with the International Growth Centre (IGC) in Uganda. Prior to joining the IGC, she worked for the research NGO Innovations for Poverty Action as the interim deputy country director for Uganda, as well as a program manager for Evidence Action. Astrid has also worked as an analyst on a large-scale agriculture project in South Sudan, and as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow in the Ministry of East African Community in Kenya. In 2016, she was nominated by the University of Cape Town as one of Africa’s Young Leaders.



Jack Hirsch, Carey Business School 2012

Jack Hirsch is the quintessential alumnus. He is able to balance a career in tech with his engagement and support of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. He is an innovator and entrepreneur. After a successful stint as VP of Product and Engineering for Desktop at Evernote, Jack founded a start-up, Butter.ai, which helped customers search for content intelligently in the cloud. Butter.ai has since been acquired by Box to give them more machine learning and artificial intelligence know-how while helping to enhance searches inside of the Box product. He currently serves as the Director of Product Management at Box.  Jack is always there when called upon by the Carey Business School. He is eager to provide feedback and willing to share ideas. When the Carey Business School was building its alumni group in the Bay Area, Jack was a key leader in organizing alumni and developing a slate of activities that resonated with that population. Additionally, Jack was instrumental in motivating his classmates from the Global MBA Class of 2012 to attend Carey’s first alumni weekend as part of the Reunion Committee. Jack has also worked with Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures as a reviewer. In summary, the Carey Business School can always count on Jack to share his knowledge with current students, lead and organize fellow alums, and serve as a source to reflect on new initiatives and programs.


Carl Streed, School of Medicine 2013

As a colleague, mentor, and friend of Carl’s for over a decade, we have advocated for the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) people. Following his time as the Research Manager at Howard Brown, the largest LGBTQ health center in the Midwest, I watched Carl progress through medical training at Johns Hopkins University. There he was a stalwart advocate for training health professionals on the unique health care needs of LGBTQ individuals and communities. As a student, Carl served concurrently as the Policy Liaison for the American Medical Student Association, Student Representative to the American Medical Association Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues, and was on the Board of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, focused on preparing the next generation of health professionals to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to LGBTQ communities. Following his training at Hopkins, I actively recruited Carl to join Harvard Medical School as a General Internal Medicine fellow focused on LGBTQ Health. His work has been published in top-tier research journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and LGBT Health. His efforts have been recognized locally by Johns Hopkins, nationally by the American Medical Association and Obama Administration, and globally by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health. Carl has truly paved a unique career in LGBTQ health and continues to do so as a mentor to others. 


Jake Runestad, Peabody Institute 2011, 2012

Jake Runestad’s rise to fame within the music world has been nothing short of meteoric. Since earning two degrees from Peabody (MM ’11 and MM ’12), he has become a true force with which to be reckoned. Now nominated for his third Grammy before the age of 30, he has shown that a foundation for classical music is applicable in so many different genres.   He continually receives commissions to compose music for the most-acclaimed choruses and leading ensembles in the world. He has received rave reviews from every major news publication on this globe.  The reality is that not just everyone can compose music. Even with instruction and teaching, it’s a gift. Jake has a skill that is something Hopkins should be proud of. He represents this institution with excellence, and he is proud of his years at the Peabody Institute. While Jake will offer so much more to the world of musical composition and choral performance, he has demonstrated at such a young age that he is a tour de force.