Civil & Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate: Philadelphia University
Faculty Mentors for Early Start: Mark Wiesner, David Carlson
Jaleesia Amos is a first-year Ph.D student in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a concentration in environmental health and safety at Duke University. Her research focuses on developing tools to evaluate potential health and safety risks from exposure to nano-containing products. Jaleesia is an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar and a Dean’s Graduate Fellowship recipient. Jaleesia received a bachelor of science in biochemistry from Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University), and a master of science in biochemistry and biophysics from Texas A&M University. Upon graduating from Jefferson University, she received the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society Scholastic Achievement Award. She was an Excellence Fellowship Recipient as a student at Texas A&M University. Jaleesia has previously volunteered her time engaging the community in environmental topics at the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Undergraduate: NC Agricultural & Technical State University
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Amanda Hargrove
Antonia Bruce is a first-year Ph.D. student in chemistry with a concentration in biological chemistry at Duke University. Her current research interests are in the intersection of biological and organic chemistry. Antonia received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering, summa cum laude, from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she was an American Chemical Society Scholar. Antonia is currently contemplating her laboratory affiliation and serving as a teaching assistant for general chemistry classes. Antonia has always believed in paving the way for others and has been a mentor and tutor for students from underrepresented backgrounds for the past three years. Antonia is passionate about science and she hopes to encourage, support, and guide students of all backgrounds in STEM fields.
Undergraduate: University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Faculty Advisor: Christine Payne
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Christine Payne
Judith Dominguez is a first-year Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering and material science at Duke University. She is a member of the Payne Lab. Her research group focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms and cell interactions with materials to control cellular properties. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan 2020-21 Scholar. Judith received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She was also a Robert E. McNair 2019-2020 Scholar. Her undergraduate research allowed her to be listed as a co-author on three publications. Judith is passionate about volunteering and working towards supporting minorities in STEM fields and higher education. She believes in supporting younger students and guiding them to exploring their interests STEM. Judith will continue to support students from diverse backgrounds to help equip them the guidance and tools to pursue and succeed in STEM.
Undergraduate: Yale University
Faculty Advisor: Nimmi Ramanujam
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Nimmi Ramanujam
Lillian Ekem is a first-year Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering at Duke University. She is a member of the Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies with a general research interest in improving health interventions in low resource settings. She is also a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Lillian received a bachelors of science in biomedical engineering with a concentration in biomechanics from Yale University in 2020. Lillian enjoys uplifting and supporting STEM scholarship in students from underrepresented minorities. She hopes to continue to be a resource and advocate for younger students who wish to enter STEM fields.
Undergraduate: Wake Forest University
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Stephen L. Craig
Daniel Santana is a first-year chemistry Ph.D. student at Duke University. Daniel has a background in working medicinal chemistry synthesizing small drug molecules. He is also a Dean’s graduate fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan 2020-21 Scholar. Daniel received a bachelor of science in chemistry with a concentration in medicinal chemistry, cum laude, from Wake Forest University. Daniel hopes to continue his work with small drug molecules or venture to work in biomaterials laboratories at Duke. He also wants to help create more opportunities for underrepresented groups to succeed in the sciences as he believes everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and succeed in STEM fields.
Civil & Environmental Engineering
Undergraduate: Washington College
Faculty Advisor: Manolis Veveakis
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Manolis Veveakis
Samantha Howell is a first-year Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering at Duke University. Her research focuses on geothermal energy and the characterization and prediction of rocks at high temperature and pressure to determine locations for geothermal sites. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan 2020-21 Scholar and a recipient of the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship. Samantha received a Bachelor of Science in Physics, summa cum laude, with minors in computer science, math, and psychology from Washington College. She has been a passionate mentor and an advocate for students from underrepresented minorities through her work in tutoring and student government throughout her academic career. Samantha plans to continue speaking up for all students while encouraging individuals from underrepresented groups to strive for STEM careers.
Undergraduate: Wake Forest University
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Alex Hartemink
Kyle Pinheiro is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science at Duke University. He intends to focus his research on applications of machine learning in computational biology and medicine. He earned a bachelor of science in computer science from Wake Forest University, with a minor in chemistry. Kyle also brings four years of software engineering experience, which he hopes to apply in developing useful software as a byproduct of his research.
Undergraduate: University of Maryland: Eastern Shore
Faculty Adviser: Samira Musah
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Samira Musah
Yasmin Roye is a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. She is interested in studying the pathogenesis of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), specifically using organ-on-a-chip microfluidic devices which better mimic human-specific disease states. Through her research, Yasmin hopes to intercept the kidney cell injury that leads to CKD and end stage kidney failure. Yasmin received a bachelor of science in (honors) biochemistry from University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, summa cum laude. At Duke, she is a recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan 2020-21 Scholarship and the William M. “Monty” Reichert Fellowship. Yasmin’s career aspirations are to serve underdeveloped communities through social innovation at an NGO, and she hopes to soon begin volunteering at the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator.
Undergraduate: Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Jie Liu
Jafer Vakil is a Ph.D. student in chemistry with a concentration in polymer science at Duke University. His undergraduate research was centered on exploring self-healing polymer systems with additional functionalities such as shape-memory, creep recovery, and stress relaxation. This research amounted to a third-author publication in Polymer Chemistry and a first-author publication in Molecular Systems Design & Engineering. Jafer received a bachelor of science in biochemistry with a minor in physics from Miami University. During his time as president of the Miami Chess Club, he used chess to teach basic math and geometric patterns to elementary school students at nearby school districts with highly underrepresented populations.