Brown University School of Engineering doctoral students Oluwatoni Ajala, Mirelys Carcana Barbosa, Alexxa Cruz-Bonilla and Seth Caines have been awarded fellowships from the National GEM Consortium, an organization that has helped thousands from ethnic groups historically underrepresented in the engineering, physical science, and life science disciplines overcome one of the most pervasive barriers to pursuing an advanced degree: identifying and securing funding for graduate education.
The mission of The National GEM Consortium is to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans) at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. GEM does so by offering master and doctoral level students opportunity and access to dozens of the top engineering and science firms and universities in the nation. The GEM Fellowship was designed to focus on promoting opportunities for individuals to enter industry at the graduate level in areas such as research and development, product development, and other high level technical careers.
There are two types of GEM Fellows, GEM Associate Fellows and GEM Employer Fellows, with different benefits.
GEM Associate Fellows are entirely funded (tution/fees/stipend) by the GEM member University for up to and including the fifth year for a Ph.D. Fellow and up to and including the second year for a Masters Fellow. Ajala will be working toward her Ph.D. in chemical and environmental engineering, researching environmental fate and contaminants under the direction of Professor Linda Abriola. Carcana Barbosa will be working on computational multi-phase flow dynamics with Assistant Professor Mauro Rodriguez, en route to her Ph.D. in fluids and thermal sciences. Cruz-Bonilla is an incoming biomedical engineering doctoral student who will research the mechanobiology of 3D multicellular spheroids with Associate Professor Ian Wong as her advisor.
GEM Employer Fellows are fellows sponsored by a GEM Employer member through a one time contribution. After completing his summer internship at NASA, Caines will begin his Ph.D. in environmental engineering at Brown University under the guidance of Professor Kurt Pennell. Caines will be studying contaminant fate and transport and environmental remediation.
Since 2019, three Brown engineering Ph.D. students have been honored as GEM Fellows including Ph.D. candidate Dominique Barnes (2021, biomedical engineering), Ph.D. candidate Eduardo Hermosillo Guzman (2019, chemical engineering, Brookhaven National Laboratory), and Kiara Lee Sc.M. ’22, Ph.D. ’23 (2019, biomedical engineering).