McCormick Students Receive Top Accolades at Conference

Winners at the National GEM Consortium conference

McCormick graduate students received several honors at this weekend’s National GEM Consortium conference, which promotes the participation of underrepresented groups in post-graduate science and engineering education.

Joshua Lawrence, a master’s student in electrical engineering and computer science, was named GEM fellow of the year -- the top prize among nearly 100 GEM fellows.

Lawrence also won first prize in the MS division for his technical presentation. Jovanca Smith, a PhD student in civil and environmental engineering, won second place in the PhD Division for her technical presentation. Northwestern University was the only school with two finalists in the technical presentations (out of six total).

“I could not be more proud of what these two students accomplished,” said Bruce Lindvall, assistant dean for graduate studies in McCormick who serves on the GEM Executive Board and is the Northwestern University representative to GEM. “Northwestern University shined above all others.”

GEM conducts two signature programs to promote the participation and successful graduation of under-represented minorities at the graduate level in science and engineering: an undergraduate program called GRAD Lab (Getting Ready for Advanced Degree Laboratory), which inspires close to one thousand under-represented STEM undergraduates annually to pursue a graduate degree in engineering or science, and the graduate fellowship program. GEM fellows are offered stipends, paid tuition, and summer internships with GEM employers. The annual conference is an opportunity for these fellows to network and present their internship research to the GEM membership.

Also at the conference, Lindvall presented a session titled, “Best Practices: How to Leverage GEM Resources to Recruit Diverse STEM Talent.” He has been using the GEM fellowship database base to recruit underrepresented minority MS and PhD applicants. In the fall of 2012 McCormick will have the fifth largest group of new GEM fellows in the country:
Current GEM fellows:

  • Ricardo Komai, third-year PhD student in materials science
  • Carlos Alvarez, third-year PhD student in materials science
  • Lawrence Crosby, first-year PhD student in materials science
  • Samuel Ellis, first-year PhD student in industrial engineering and management sciences
  • Julian Corona, first-year MS student in electrical engineering and computer science
  • Joshua Lawrence, second-year MS student in electrical engineering and computer science
  • Jovanca Smith, second-year PhD student in civil and environmental engineering
  • Doris Grillo, fifth-year PhD student in chemical and biological engineering