Aditi Merchant Receives Texas Exes Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award

March 09, 2022

The Texas Exes has awarded Aditi Merchant, a junior in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, with their annual Edward S. Guleke Student Excellence Award. Merchant was recognized for her extensive outreach, research, and work experience as well as her strong academic record.


Merchant is a Forty Acres, Stamps, Distinguished College, and Roden Scholar. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, she has been involved with Texas Engineering World Health, UT Student Engineers Educating Kids, Society of Women Engineers and has served as the outreach coordinator of a project aiming to increase STEM proficiency in the deaf student community.

With Texas Engineering World Health, she led the creation of a diagnostic app to diagnose leukemia from blood smear images and won 1st place for her algorithim. At Texas Product Engineering, Merchant worked with engineering and design teams to create and launch CloudCare, an app that helps children suffering from chronic dermatological diseases log their symptoms and medication usage to improve efficacy of their treatment.

While interning at the Cleveland Clinic, Merchant developed a novel mask design intended for athletes that optimized breathability, filtration, and comfort.

In April 2020, Merchant co-founded Big & Mini, software to reduce social isolation among older adults and provide mentorship to young adults by connecting them virtually. Big & Mini has connected over 6,000 individuals from 50 states and 46 counties for weekly video calls to foster long-term connections and has been featured in over 50 news outlets, including the TODAY Show and the New York Times. Big & Mini has also collaborated with the AARP to devise and implement strategies for reaching low-income and minority older adults with their services, providing access to tablets at no cost, language support, and access to local food programs for users in need. 

Merchant has worked in three research labs and at Eli Lilly, where she earned the Outstanding Intern Award. She earned a grant for independent research in the Sakiyama-Elbert Lab and won 1st place for her microneedle COVID-19 vaccine patch at the Biomedical Engineering Case Competition and 2nd place at the Student Engineering Council Case Competition.