"Genius without influence is like an unmined diamond."
Presented annually to a graduating senior in the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences & Management based on peer nomination, the Most Valued Peer (MVP) Award honors a student who with humility and grace has exemplified the rare ability to stimulate each of their teammates to contribute equally and to their full potential, to facilitate a high-performing team dynamic and unexpectedly outstanding results.
Most Valued Peer Award: Catherine Ruan
Catherine’s talent and passion for helping others and bringing out the best in them has been appreciated enormously both within and beyond the LSM program. She was a wonderful teammate in Capstone, and has always been willing to help her classmates and younger students as well as students thinking of applying to the program. Though disarmingly humble, Catherine has an inspiring upbeat disposition which has made her a highly effective community builder in essentially every organization she has been a part of. When she was its President, the Wharton Asia Exchange organization won the award for Best Large Wharton Club, thanks in large part to her dedication to the professional development of its members hand in hand with her attention to diversity and inclusion and peer support. Her selfless leadership style resulted in a positive, inspiring organizational culture in which all members had freedom to contribute ideas and pursue their interests. And as VP of Outreach for the College Dean’s Advisory Board, Catherine effectively advocated for students and solicited their active participation. Moreover, Catherine has meaningfully contributed to a variety of organizations beyond Penn through Penn Social Entrepreneurship Movement Consulting and her membership of Penn Undergraduate Biotech Society. Even during her business internship with the investment bank PJT Partners, which was necessarily an online experience, Catherine was the one encouraging her fellow interns to join the Zoom “water cooler” and get to know and support each other. As if this is not enough, during her summer science internship and throughout the school year Catherine contributed to the research of Dr. Katherine Nathanson’s laboratory at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, where she deployed both cell culture techniques and high-end statistical approaches for the genomic characterization of urogenital cancers. And, as a further extension of her summer internships, she also worked during one school year as a Venture Capital Fellow with a technology focus with New Enterprise Associates. Following graduation, she has returned to PJT Partners as an Investment Banking Analyst.
Anova spent an extraordinary amount of her time at Penn mentoring other students in LSM and beyond. She’s an exceptionally thoughtful and giving person. Not only did she serve as a Peer Advisor in LSM helping new students, but she was a Wharton Peer Advising Fellow, a Biology Major Advisor, and a Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship mentor. She also spearheaded the Biotechnology mentoring program with the Penn Undergraduate Biotech Society and served as a mentor to younger students working with social impact organizations through 180 Degrees Consulting. Beyond these formal commitments, it was common in her four years here to hear Anova in the LSM lounge providing support and good counsel to her fellow students.
In addition to helping countless other students achieve their potential, exemplifying the humility and generosity that the MVP Award is intended to celebrate and promote, Anova proved to be an adventurous, engaged, and engaging student, who somehow managed to complete not only her degrees for LSM (a Wharton BSE with concentrations in both Finance and Statistics, and a College of Arts & Sciences BA in Mathematical Biology), but also a Master’s degree in Biotechnology with a concentration in Biopharmaceutical Engineering. This is knowledge that she intends to put to good use in an operational role or as an investor in the biopharma industry starting with her current position as an Associate Consultant with Bain & Co.
Anova has already made her mark in the industry, though she will doubtless do still more good but on a larger scale in the years to come. During her internship with Gilead, she helped develop FDA-approved mathematical models for physician education in hepatitis C elimination efforts, and in the course of her consulting work at Penn, she contributed to the commercialization of a women’s health point-of-care diagnostic with a biotech startup, and helped develop a strategy for a large pharma company to distribute free medicines to peri-urban communities of sub-Saharan Africa and India. As a researcher, she’s published the work she did at the London School of Economics (through what was then the Wharton GRIP program) concerned with recommendations for improving cardiac health, and on clinical trial design for novel therapeutics. Here at Penn, she studied population genetics at the Perelman School. With her boundless curiosity and ability, as well as her selflessness in bringing out the best in others, Anova epitomizes the ideals of the LSM program.
Krishna’s kindness and unfailing willingness to help others have been much appreciated by his peers and all who have had the pleasure of working with him. His current goal, characteristically, is to learn how to help more people even more effectively. He won a Thouron Award that will allow him to pursue an MSc degree in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation at the University of Oxford this year in the UK, after which he will go to medical school at Mt. Sinai. His concentration at Oxford will be in Health Inequalities, reflecting a passion not only for medicine but also for community health and access to medicine that he has been acting on throughout his time at Penn. For two years, Krishna has been the sole undergraduate representative with the Interprofessional Alliance for Community Engagement, along with faculty, community leaders, and Penn Medicine’s Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, where he has been helping to develop a holistic approach to community health that involves medical education. For his LSM business internship, Krishna enhanced his knowledge of hospital administration and community engagement through his work as a Finance Summer Associate with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, an $18B integrated delivery system. And he has also served as a Growth Consultant for local business and early-stage health care companies with the Wharton Small Business Development Center. This is not to say that Krishna doesn’t also act on his passion for science and his belief in the value of research: he interned at the Weill Cornell Brain Tumor Center for his scientific research internship, and he was engaged in scientific research throughout his time at Penn with Professor Nicholas Betley of the Biology Department, ultimately conducting thesis research using mouse models to investigate the mechanisms by which the brain processes external stimuli to facilitate survival processes including hunger, pain, thirst, and itch.