Diversity
Current FLP Cohort

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Mustafa Abdelrahman

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Steven Baksa

PhD Candidate, The Pennsylvania State University
Steven's Website
Steven M. Baksa is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering with a graduate minor in Computational Materials at the Pennsylvania State University at the University Park campus in State College. In 2018, he earned his B.S. with summa cum laude honors in Engineering with a focus on Alternative Energy and Power Generation and minors in Business and Energy Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University at the Hazleton campus. In graduate school, under Dr. Ismaila Dabo, his research involved developing first-principles methods to model material properties. Specifically, his graduate research topics include predicting the solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of ternary oxides for photocatalysis in water splitting, modeling the phase stability of ZnO-rocksalt alloys (e.g., CoO, MgO, NiO), and minimizing the coercive field of ternary oxide ferroelectrics for non-volatile data storage. He is also the recipient of the George T. Schenck Teaching Assistant Award (2022), the NSF graduate research fellowship (2020-21), and the Frank Kostos Award (2018). With the long-term goal of teaching as a faculty member in an R1 institution, he is expected to defend his Ph.D. thesis in mid-June and graduate by August 2024.

Flavia da Cruz Gallo

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Adriana Eres-Castellanos

Adriana's Website
Dr. Adriana Eres-Castellanos is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines (CO, USA). Her academic interests encompass physical metallurgy, with a particular emphasis on texture/crystallography, processing-microstructure relationships, and the investigation of fundamental physical mechanisms governing solidification and solid-state phase transformations in metals. Her research integrates experimental studies with modeling of simulated additive manufacturing conditions across various alloy systems.
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Sebastian Fernández

Sebastian's Website

Sebastian is currently a PhD candidate and Stanford Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy IBUILD Fellow, P. Michael Farmwald Stanford Graduate Fellow, and GEM Fellow in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2019 and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2021. His research focuses on developing next-generation perovskite LEDs for lighting, display, human health, and quantum computing applications. Specifically, he implements transition metal dopants to achieve high-brightness perovskite LEDs and rare earth elements to enable UV light emission. Sebastian is also very interested in enhancing engineering academia through diversity. At Stanford, he has served as the vice-chair of the School of Engineering's Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council and is the principal founder and president of the Stanford Engineering Research Introductions Organization, whose mission is to prepare underrepresented undergraduate students for graduate school.

Find Sebastian on Twitter/X: @CbasFernandez21

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Lillian Hughes

Lillian Hughes is a Ph.D. candidate and NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her B.S. in interdisciplinary physics from the University of Richmond in 2019. Her research focuses on diamond growth and the engineering of defects for applications in quantum sensing and simulation. She is also a recipient of the NSF-UCSB Quantum Foundry traineeship, the NDSEG fellowship (2021), and the Goldwater scholarship (2018).
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Serin Lee is a Ph.D. Candidate and MIT MathWorks and MIT Energy Initiative Fellow in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working with Prof. Frances Ross. She received her B.S. in Materials Science from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 2019. Her research focuses on elucidating the correlation between structure, property, and performance of functional nanomaterials for a sustainable future using in situ electron microscopy. She uses in situ electron microscopy as a nanoscale laboratory to reveal the dynamics of materials under reaction conditions realized by external stimuli such as temperature, biasing, and exposure to liquid and gas. Outside the lab, she was the co-president of MIT Women in Materials Science and participated in outreach programs, including MIT NetPal mentorship and giving a talk about nanoscience and microscopy at a public seminar organized by Harvard Science in the News (SITN).
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Kevin Nixon

Kevin's Website
Dr. Kevin Nixon is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Delaware advised by Prof. Thomas H. Epps, III. His research focuses on the generation of polymerizable materials from the deconstruction of plastics and biomass waste. Dr. Nixon earned a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Auburn University in 2018 and earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University (TAMU) advised by Prof. Yossef A. Elabd in 2023. His doctoral work focused on the synthesis and characterization of novel ion conducting polymers for lithium-ion batteries. He has been recognized with honors such as the National GEM Consortium Ph.D. Fellowship and the American Chemical Society’s Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Award. Outside of lab, Dr. Nixon enjoys organizing and participating in outreach activities through organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

Eveline Postelnicu

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Jonathan Salmerón-Hernández

Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago
Jonathan's Website
Jonathan is a Ph.D. candidate at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago, guided by Prof. Juan de Pablo. His current research focuses on the theoretical and computational understanding of active liquid crystals, a state of matter in between a solid and a liquid, highly prevalent in biology. Examples include the cell cytoskeleton and the liver. His scientific interests center around employing mathematical approaches to control biological systems for potential applications in human health improvement. Originally from Cancún, Mexico, Jonathan earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, under Prof. Aída Gutíerrez’s supervision. He also holds a master’s degree in chemical biology from the University of Geneva, working with Prof. Karsten Kruse. In 2022, Jonathan was selected as a UChicago MRSEC Graduate Fellow. Outside research, he enjoys participating in outreach activities, watching movies and dancing.