The Maria Vaz Beacon Award honors and recognizes an individual employee of the University who has contributed to the advancement of women in STEAM at Lawrence Technological University through distinguished leadership, scholarship, advocacy, mentoring, program development or other activities.
Nominations due: February 28, 2023
Nominations can include any member of the Lawrence Technological University faculty (including special instructors and lecturers), administrators, administrative professionals, and other staff members. Any University employee can submit a nomination.
2022 Maria Vaz Beacon Award Recipient
Dr. Yawen Li
Chair of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Yawen Li is associate professor and chair in the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department at Lawrence Technological University. She obtained her PhD in materials science and engineering from MIT and conducted postdoc research in Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the BME program at LTU in 2008. Her main area of research is in biomaterials, tissue engineering, BioMEMS and materials characterization. She has 27 peer reviewed publications and over 40 conference presentations, many of which are based on student projects she supervised at LTU. She is a strong advocate for undergraduate research, and has supervised over 50 students on a variety of projects.
Yawen played an essential role in growing the BME program into a department in 2015, and has been especially instrumental in establishing labs to enhance student learning and promote student research. Since becoming the BME Department Chair in 2018, she has established partnership with Ascension Providence Hospital to facilitate collaborative orthopedic research and education at LTU. She also initiated partnership with Comprehensive Care Services, which led to the successful launch of the master of science in cardiovascular perfusion program, the only perfusion program in Michigan. In 2021, she created a BME freshman mentoring program to promote inclusion and increase retention in BME.