Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Dan Scolnic
Maria Acevedo is a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Duke University. Her research focuses on understanding why the universe is accelerating in its expansion and determining the major components of the universe. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar. Maria received a bachelor of arts in physics with a concentration in astrophysics, magna cum laude, with honors from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a passionate mentor for students from underrepresented minorities through her work in STEM education research with Loyola University. Maria hopes to continue to support and guide students of all backgrounds towards STEM fields.
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Samira Musah
Amanda Barreto is a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering with a concentration in tissue engineering at Duke University. Her research focuses on investigating kidney disease and developing regenerative techniques. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar and has received honorable mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program. Amanda received a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, magna cum laude, from Florida International University. She aims to keep supporting and encouraging underrepresented scientists in the science community by fostering positive and supportive environments in academia.
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Ken Brown
Julie Campos is a Ph.D. candidate in physics at Duke University. Her research interests are in quantum information, in particular quantum error correction and quantum control. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar. Julie earned a bachelor of science in physics with honors, magna cum laude, and a bachelor of science in mathematics with a concentration in pure mathematics, magna cum laude, from the University of New Mexico. She completed an undergraduate thesis on the topic of optimal control, which investigated the relationship between resources required to achieve optimal quantum control. She was also an intern at Sandia National Laboratories throughout her undergraduate years, participating in many projects on topics such as calibration and machine learning. She also explored her mathematical interests by participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program at California State University at Fresno and investigated the distribution of zeros of a special form of series of polynomials. Julie has also used her experiences to encourage and aid students, especially those from underrepresented groups, to pursue STEM careers by volunteering and participating in programs designed to support students interested in STEM. Ultimately, she wants to do meaningful research while teaching math and physics. She believes that by educating students from all backgrounds will not only benefit them, but will prepare them to work together to find the best solutions for the issues that our communities face.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Steven Cummer
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Steven Cummer
Greg is a Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Duke University. As a member of Steven Cummer’s group, Greg focuses his research on acoustic metamaterials and its application in sound and vibration, with a particular interest in reducing the transmission of noise. He is a recipient of the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Scholarship, and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Greg graduated with highest distinction in audio and music engineering, cum laude, from the University of Rochester with minors in both physics and music. Greg was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at Rochester and conducted research on distributed-mode loudspeakers as a Xerox Fellow. He also interned as an acoustic hardware engineer at Apple in 2019 and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Southampton Institute of Sound and Vibration Research in the United Kingdom during the 2020-2021 academic year. While in England, Greg studied a master of science in acoustical engineering and researched acoustic metamaterials incorporating active noise cancellation technologies. Additionally, Greg designed a loudspeaker project for secondary school students in Southampton and volunteered at a local café in the city. Greg is extremely passionate about electronic dance music and produces music in his free time. He hopes to extend this enthusiasm for engineering, and its applications, to students in the city of Durham, and at Duke.
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Welsher
Alexis Johnson is a Ph.D. student in Chemistry with a concentration in physical chemistry at Duke University. Her research focuses on developing novel methods for single molecules tracking in 3D. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from DePaul University, where she was a McNair scholar, LSAMP scholar, and Arnold L. Mitchem Fellow. Her undergraduate research focused on uncovering selective substrates for members of the inflammatory caspase enzyme family. In graduate school, Alexis hopes to continue creating an environment in STEM that is welcoming to individuals from all backgrounds. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar.
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Jerry Reiter
John Miller is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. John received a bachelor of arts in statistics, cum laude, from Harvard University in 2019. He is also an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar at Duke. Before beginning graduate school at Duke, John spent two years working on the structured credit trading desk of a large asset manager in Los Angeles, California.
Faculty Advisor: Bruce Donald
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Amanda Hargrove
Aulane Mpouli is a Ph.D. student of chemistry. Her research focuses on elucidating the distributions and sequence-structure relationship of the inter-domain linker in Staph Aureus Protein A, which is a key factor to its bacterial fitness. By expressing a didomain construct of the naturally five tandem-domain protein, Aulane’s studies predominantly use fluorescence experiments and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to measure and analyze lanthanide binding alignment and residual dipolar couplings. Aulane hopes to study the mechanisms of these complexes to inhibit the inception and acceleration of bacterial infection. She is an NIH diversity supplement grant recipient advised by Prof. Bruce Donald, Ph.D. She received her bachelor of science in chemistry, cum laude, from Eastern Washington University (EWU) in three years, as a student-athlete, along with the Outstanding Biochem Research Graduate of 2021, the highest honor bestowed on a student by the chemistry department of EWU. Coming from EWU as a scholar in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, her career objectives are to change the face of academia and serve as a representative for the underrepresented in STEM. Aulane is passionate about positively impacting others and has been involved in mentoring and volunteering programs such as Our Future Is Science (OFIS). She is a Duke Sloan Scholar and recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Scholarship.
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Krish Chakrabarty
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Krish Chakrabarty
Eduardo Ortega is a Ph.D. student in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in hardware security at Duke University. His research focuses on understanding how emerging computational technology may be pivoted as a cryptographic scheme for hardware security primitives. He brings two years of software and test engineering experience and is an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-2022 Scholar. Eduardo received a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in integrated engineering from the University of San Diego, with a concentration in embedded software and minors in mathematics and leadership studies. His undergraduate work allowed him to be listed as a co-author for a publication and place third in an international case study competition. Eduardo is passionate about bridging industry and academic efforts for collaborative research and outreach.
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Joel Collier
Deleah Pettie is a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, with a concentration in biomaterials and immune engineering, at Duke University. Her research focuses on developing peptide synthesized nanofibers as potential vaccines, and immune therapeutics for controlling the immune response. She is also a Duke Pratt-Gardner Fellow, a 2021 GEM Associate Fellow, and a Sloan Scholar. Deleah received a bachelor of science in biochemistry from Iowa State University, where she was a George Washington Carver Scholar and a LSAMP Scholar. After earning her undergraduate degree, she spent time working in biotech and as a research scientist at the University of Washington. While at Duke, Deleah hopes to encourage the participation of underrepresented students in STEM.
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Samira Musah
Kiarra Richardson is a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical engineering at Duke University. Her research will focus on understanding and examining the dynamics of kidney related diseases, as well as developing therapeutic strategies for disease treatments. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar and a William M. “Monty” Reichert 2022-2023 Graduate Fellow. Kiarra received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering, cum laude, with a minor in biology from the University of New Haven. She has been largely involved in community service and as a mentor to younger students from underrepresented backgrounds. She looks forward to exploring the research and career development opportunities offered by Duke University. Kiarra also hopes to further expand her mentorship and outreach efforts in conveying STEM knowledge to students from minority communities.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Andrew Jones
Faculty Mentor for Early Start: Andrew Jones
Darryl Taylor is a Ph.D. candidate in civil and environmental engineering with a concentration in artificial intelligence (AI) and materials at Duke University. His research focuses on developing nanocellulose, an environmentally friendly plant polymer, into synthetic biofilms to understand the behavior of multi-species bacteria. He is also an Understanding AI and Materials National Science Foundation Trainee, an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar and the co-founder of a nanocellulose start-up that specializes in creating applications for electronics and food packaging. Darryl received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering, Honors Group I, from Hampton University. He is a passionate advocate for replacing and removing fossil fuel-based materials from industrial processes and consumer products. Darryl has the goal of becoming a top researcher and business leader in green materials, with the hope of creating positive impact through leadership and building a sustainable world through innovation.