School of Engineering Unveils MIT Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Engineering Excellence MIT News | Jobs Vox


In July 2022, the MIT School of Engineering welcomes its first class of scholars selected for the Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Engineering Excellence. The idea for the fellowships grew out of conversations taking place within the School’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) committee – established in 2020 – which identified a need to diversify the pool of postdocs working within the School. This program seeks to discover and develop the next generation of faculty leaders to help guide the school toward a more diverse and inclusive culture.

“We are excited to offer this new fellowship opportunity,” says Ananth Chandrakasan, Dean of the School of Engineering. “I look forward to the positive impact these postdoctoral fellows will bring to their work and research, as well as helping the School of Engineering continue our growth as a more welcoming and diverse community for all.”

Maintaining its commitment to excellence in engineering, the program provides annual stipends for postdocs to pursue research and educational endeavors that widen the scope and breadth of the School’s current work. It is partly inspired by MIT’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholars and Professors Program, which aims to bring a greater number of diverse scholars to campus.

Engineering is a field at MIT that has long struggled with scholars from underrepresented backgrounds. Today, only 8 percent of the School of Engineering’s graduate students identify as an underrepresented minority. Only 5 percent of undergraduates identify as Black or African American and only 14 percent identify as Hispanic or Latinx. Women account for nearly half of the School of Engineering’s undergraduate enrollment, but just over a third of the school’s graduate students.

The postdoc demographic is equally dismal, says Dan Hastings, DEI’s associate dean of the School of Engineering and head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

“If we looked at the data from institutional research on postdocs in the School of Engineering, the diversity of that group was terrifying. There’s no other way to describe it,” Hastings says. “The understanding was, why can’t we have a program like the MLK program that attracts a diverse population of postdocs?”

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Engineering Excellence aims to build on the school’s other initiatives, such as the work of its DEI Committee, the MIT Summer Research Program Initiative, and the Gender Equity Committee. The aim is to notably diversify the pool of postdoc researchers retained by the School each year. Supporting postdocs is especially important, Hastings says, because recruitment for those positions often occurs through professional networks and personal faculty contacts.

“We hope that by intentionally building a supportive community for our scholars, we can create a space where historically underrepresented postdoctoral scholars in engineering can thrive,” said Dei, assistant dean of the School of Engineering , says Nandi Byano.

In addition to supporting postdocs in their research, the program provides fellows with opportunities to acquire the professional skills they need to succeed in potential careers in three distinct areas: entrepreneurship, engineering leadership – supported by MIT’s Gordon Leadership Program – and education.

The 2022-23 MIT Postdoctoral Fellows for Engineering Excellence are:

Sofia Arevalo School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Arevalo’s doctoral work focuses on nanomechanical analysis of orthopedic implants to optimize the longevity of total joint replacements. His research expertise is in materials characterization, nanomechanics, medical polymers and failure analysis. His postdoctoral research focuses on learning from nature to optimize the performance of self-healing materials for medical applications. In addition to research, she has extensive experience advising and teaching undergraduate and graduate level engineering courses and was the recipient of the University of California at Berkeley’s Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2021. Arevalo received a BS, MS and PhD in Mechanical. Engineering from UC Berkeley and was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program in 2016.

molly carton School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on using algorithmic design and computational fabrication to generate architectural materials and mechanisms with new mechanical properties. Carleton earned a BA in Physics and MS in Applied Mathematics from Princeton University and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle.

steven cerone School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research area focuses on taking advantage of coupled oscillators to enable robot swarms to display diverse morphologies and functions at all length scales. Ceron earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Matthew Clarke Boeing School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research focuses on aircraft design, aerodynamics and air acoustics, with an emphasis on the analysis and optimization of electric vehicles for urban air mobility. Clark is an alumnus of the MIT Summer Research Program, earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Howard University, and both an MS and PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University.

Suhas Eshwarappa Pramila is an Aeronautics and Astronautics School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. His research interests include materials discovery for extreme environments, propulsion materials for space applications, machine learning and informatics. Eshwarappa Pramila has a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, MS in Materials Science and Engineering from Arizona State University and BS in Mechanical Engineering (Gold Medalist) from RV College of Engineering, India.

Amy Rae Fox The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory is a joint partner in the METEOR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the School of Engineering Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. He is a School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research focuses on the role of cognition in information visualization, and he aims to build bridges between basic research in cognitive psychology and design research in human-computer interaction. Fox earned a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MSED in Instructional Design from Université Pierre-Mendes France, an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from California State University in Chico, and a PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of California at San Diego. Of. ,

timothy holder Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of the IBM School of Engineering in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research interests include the development of wearable, non-contact, and remote psychophysiological sensor systems for the detection of affective states and the development of wellness interventions in underserved populations. He also examines cognitive and performative latent variables for human-robot interactions. Holder received a BS in chemical-engineering from Washington and Lee University and a PhD in biomedical engineering from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael Kitcher School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. His research investigates spin transport and chiral interactions in magnetic materials, with the goal of developing spintronic devices that address far-reaching needs such as energy-efficient computing. Kitcher earned a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT before earning a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

ulari lee is an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. Li’s research focuses on the development of microfluidic technologies to model the blood-brain barrier and investigate the relationship between its dysfunction and neuropsychiatric disorders. Lee received her BS and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Washington, where she was a 2020 SLAS Graduate Research Fellow.

George Mendez Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of the IBM School of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research seeks to create versatile artificially intelligent systems that accumulate knowledge over a lifetime, with applications in computer vision, robotics and natural language. Méndez received a BS in Electronics Engineering from the Universidad Simón Bolívar, and an MSE in Robotics and a PhD in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kristina Monakhova Boeing School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research interests include combining computational imaging with machine learning to design better, smaller and more capable cameras and microscopes. Monakhova received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

george moore School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on the user journey through Design Thinking practices and the environmental impacts of small scale manufacturing techniques related to these Design Thinking practices. Moore earned a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of South Alabama and an MS and PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

alchemy nadjahi School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research interests lie in designing machine learning algorithms that provide a fine balance between practical benefits and theoretical justification, with the long-term goal of facilitating their deployment in real-world applications. Nadjahi received a BS in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Ensimag (France), an MS in Computer Vision and Machine Learning from ENS Cachan (France), and a PhD from Telecom Paris (France).

Maria Ramos Gonzalez School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research focuses on the design of robotic hands which she plans to translate into upper limb neuroprosthetics. Ramos Gonzalez earned a BS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and was selected as a Nevada System of Higher Education Regents Scholar.

Matthew Rivera is a Chemical Engineering School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow. His thesis focused on organic solvent separation with new composite membranes. At MIT, his work focuses on data-driven materials discovery to address challenging chemical separation problems. Rivera received dual BS degrees in chemistry and chemical engineering from Mississippi State University, and a PhD in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech.

Joseph Vasava School of Engineering Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Using analytical and computational skills, his current research focuses on understanding the transformation and fate of contaminants in the environment. Waswa earned a BS in Agricultural Engineering from Makerere University, an MS in Civil Engineering from San Diego State University, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Syracuse University. In 2021, he graduated from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Also earned the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Enterprise (CASSE) from the Whitman School of Management.



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