Virginia Tech College of Science seniors Aimee Maurais and Arianna Krinos have worked hard during a wildly successful four years, choosing multiple majors and research projects that practically define the mantra of collaborative science and the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Now as they are nearing graduation, Maurais, a double major in computational modeling and data analytics (CMDA) and mathematics, has been named the 2019 Outstanding Senior in the College of Science. Krinos, a triple major in CMDA, biological sciences, and computer science in the College of Engineering, has won the 2019 College of Science Senior Undergraduate Research Award.

Maurais and Krinos are roommates, friends, and collaborators. In 2018 and 2019, they teamed up for the Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM). They were designated as Outstanding Winners each time, two of a handful of Americans to be so honored. For the competition, they chose among preset topics that played to their combined strengths.

“The problems we chose in the MCM were biologically or ecologically based, and Arianna’s subject matter expertise was invaluable to understanding them better and finding approaches that were not only creative, but made sense in context,” Maurais said. “Once we have an idea, we figure out how to divide and conquer in a way that plays to each of our strengths, and the final product turns out really nice.”

Collaborators 

It was Krinos who initially reached out to Maurais, looking for a first-year roommate with similar interests. The two connected on social media at first. “We didn’t actually talk a lot freshman and sophomore years because we were both shy,” Maurais said. “But when we began working on CMDA homework together junior year, things really clicked and we realized that we make a great team.”

The friendship will continue. This summer, Maurais and Krinos will both move to Boston and live near one another. Maurais will work in MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical and Biological Defense Systems division doing applied research, including modeling, simulation, data analysis, and field testing. She also plans to earn a Ph.D. in applied mathematics or computational science. Krinos will jump into a Ph.D. in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program as a Computational Science Graduate Fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy.

“When I first starting talking with Aimee, I had no idea that we would ever collaborate on anything, let alone end up in several classes together and co-authors on multiple publications,” Krinos said of Maurais. “The reason we work so well together is that our interactions are, for the most part, noncompetitive. Both of us are motivated to learn and to get our work done, and we’ve discovered a really good rhythm for working collaboratively.”

Added Maurais of Krinos, “I’m always learning something from her; she’s a rare gem of a friend. One thing I really admire about Arianna is her sense of vision and ability to craft and execute a plan to achieve her goal.”