Paris Brown is a first-year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Her research focuses on understanding how the blood-brain barrier and the neurovascular unit respond to neuroinflammation using organoids and organ-on-a-chip technology. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, a recipient of the Dean’s Graduate Fellowship, and a recipient of the NIH Diversity Supplement. Paris received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Houston where she perused research in fluid dynamics which lead to two publications. She then received a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University where she did research on the brain using organ on a chip technology while also being a GEM Fellow. In association with groups like the Department of Neurobiology and the School of Medicine, her research resulted in a publication. Paris is extremely passionate about mentoring others, especially those from underrepresented areas. She is the co-chair of a supportive group on campus for black women in graduate school in the STEM field, a mentor in the lab to an undergraduate student studying neuroscience, and is on a committee to help introduce the field of STEM to high school students through a program over the summer. Paris hopes to use her skills and knowledge to continue to guide others in the STEM field to success.
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Christopher Kaminski is a first-year Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science with a concentration in AeroElasticity at Duke University. His research focuses on the development of harmonic balance solvers for the accurate modeling of non-synchronous vibration in turbine flows. Before beginning his time at Duke, Christopher worked for Northrop Grumman, performing software integration and test for various aeronautics subsystems. In addition to being an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-23 Scholar, Christopher has been an active member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, publishing papers for several conferences. Christopher received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, with Honors, from the University of Central Florida.
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Shamarie King is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science at Duke University and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow 2022-2023. Her research focuses on understanding various polymeric systems in efforts to build new systems with more useful and interesting properties. Shamarie received a Bachelor of Science Chemistry (with a concentration in Chemical Physics), Suma cum laude, from the Alcorn State University. She has a passion for motivating other individuals of underrepresented group to pursue careers in STEM.
Lailah Ligons is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering, specializing in Neural Engineering, at Duke University. Her research aims are to interface technologies in neuroscience and biomedical engineering to study brain function at the cellular level with high spatial resolution and consistent stability. This work is ultimately aimed at understanding and treating neurological disorders and diseases. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-2023 Scholar, a William “Monty” Reichert Fellow, and has received the BME Scholar Award. Lailah received a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering with distinction and as a member of Honors Carolina from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in its joint program with North Carolina State University. She minored in neuroscience there as well. Lailah plans to volunteer in the community to serve people with neurological disorders and diseases as she researches these illnesses at Duke. Additionally, she plans to become a mentor for children in underrepresented communities and encourage them to consider STEM as a career path.
Electrical & Computer Engineering
Paul J. Markakis is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research focuses on developing new deep learning methods for analyzing infant and fetal neuroimaging, specifically focusing on brain functional connectivity modeling. He is an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-2023 scholar. Paul received a combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science in Engineering from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Johns Hopkins University, with a dual concentration in optimization/operations research and discrete mathematics. He brings seven years of research experience from employment at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where he was a member of the Senior Professional Staff in the Decision Systems Group.
Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Daniel Michael is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science with a concentration in Machine Learning at Duke University. His research focuses on solving inverse problem challenges related to material design. He is also a National Science Foundation AI and Materials program trainee and an Alfred P. Sloan 2021-22 Scholar. Daniel received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, from Auburn University. Daniel hopes to continue to support and guide students of all backgrounds towards STEM fields.
Shaniya Peart is a first-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Duke University. Her current research focuses on Algebra, specifically on understanding zeta functions and solutions to polynomial equations over finite fields. She is also an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-23 Scholar. Shaniya received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics, Summa Cum Laude, with minors in economics and Russian language and culture from Villanova University. She has been a passionate volunteer and mentor for students from underrepresented minorities through her work in STEM teaching and mentoring programs. As part of her volunteer work, Shaniya teaches mathematics to elementary students who otherwise do not have access to mathematical enrichment at Central Park School for Children, a charter school in downtown Durham. Shaniya is passionate about furthering diversity in STEM and hopes to continue to support and guide students of all backgrounds towards STEM fields.
José Colón Rivera is a Ph.D. student in Physics specializing in Experimental Nuclear Physics at Duke University. Their research focuses on the search for the rare neutrinoless double-beta decay process, which could help us understand why there exists more matter than antimatter in the universe, and other new physics beyond the Standard Model. They are also a GEM Fellow and an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-23 Scholar. José earned their Bachelor of Science in Physics, Summa Cum Laude, from North Carolina State University, where they were a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. With a passion for teaching, José hopes to one day become a professor at a research university.
Ross Snyder is a Ph.D. student in Physics with a research focus on experimental nuclear and particle physics at Duke University. His research is part of the ATLAS collaboration, a large global collaboration that studies subatomic particle collisions at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Specifically, he will be assisting with the search for particles and phenomena that go beyond the Standard Model, a model that classifies all known subatomic particles and their interactions. There are many questions that the standard model does not answer, such as what kinds of particles account for missing mass in our universe. This missing mass is called dark matter, and the collaboration is looking to see possible ways dark matter interacts with normal matter.
Ross received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado Boulder. He has one publication in Physical Review C titled “Gluonic Hotspots in Heavy Ion Collisions” which summarizes the initial conditions for lead-lead nuclei collisions. He is also a Sloan UCEM Affiliate. Ross is involved in outreach and recruiting committees with the Duke Physics Graduate Student Organization (GSO) and is looking forward to mentoring students from underrepresented minorities through physics education, tutoring, and mentoring. This includes students of any age group, from elementary school to university students. One example of recent outreach is giving a presentation to Duke physics undergraduates about applying for graduate school.
Emma Villares is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Her research focuses on understanding how extracellular matrix stiffness and fibroblast interactions affect ferroptosis sensitivity in cancer. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-23 Scholar and has had the opportunity to present at several conferences including a podium presentation at BMES 2021. Emma received two Bachelors of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering, Cum Laude, with a concentration in Biochemical Engineering and in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cum Laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been a volunteer and mentor for students from underrepresented minorities through her involvement in various associations, including ISPE, leading career opportunities panels and career planning workshops. Emma continues to give talks about how to successfully apply to graduate school and is passionate about continuing to increase STEM diversity throughout her graduate studies.
Claudia Wong is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University. Her research focuses on understanding vessel mechanobiology, particularly arterial and venous differences. She is an Alfred P. Sloan 2022-23 Scholar and the 2023-2024 recipient of the William M. “Monty” Reichert Fellowship in Biomedical Engineering. Claudia received a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering, Magna Cum Laude, with a concentration in Biomaterials from Clemson University. She was a Postbaccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the National Cancer Institute. Claudia has lead initiatives and organizations that empower underrepresented students in higher education and in STEM fields. At Duke, she will continue to advocate for diverse representation in STEM.