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COE Students Nominated for Knight-Hennessy and Schwarzman Scholarships


Congratulations to Anas Abou Allaban, Sofia Catalina, Simisola Familusi, & Elizabeth Wig who were nominated for Knight-Hennessey Scholarships and Thomas Cerier & Michael Tormey who were nominated for Schwarzman Scholarships. The Knight-Hennessy and Schwarzman Scholarships, which fund study at Stanford and within China’s Tsinghua University respectively, are among the newest and most prestigious postbaccalaureate awards in the world. They are fellowships designed with the 21st century in mind, seeking to identify and develop leadership for the challenges of the new millennium.

(4x5)AbouAllan_AnasAnas Abou Allaban COE’19
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Award Nomination: Knight-Hennessy Scholarship
Anas Abou Allaban is a roboticist who believes that the successful integration of artificially intelligent machines into our everyday world will require not only groundbreaking technical innovation, but also robust and stringent ethical guidelines to direct this powerful technology toward the greater good. At Northeastern, Anas worked in the Robotics and Intelligent Vehicles Research Laboratory, or RIVeR Lab, under Professor Taskin Padir. His team from the RIVeR Lab scored the highest of any team from an American university in the 2018 RoboCup@Home competition, where they optimized a robot to perform supportive tasks (for the elderly, for example) in the context of the home. Anas also completed co-ops at iRobot and Arçelik in Istanbul, Turkey. He currently works at Amazon Web Services and is a co-founder of Tarteel, an open-source web platform to assist Muslims with memorizing and reciting the Quran. Anas says that Tarteel, which was a MassChallenge Startup Accelerator and MIT Sandbox finalist, exemplifies the fusion of values with technology that he aspires to promote. Anas, who is a competitive powerlifter and obstacle course racer and who was named to the Huntington 100, is applying for the PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford.

(4x5)Catalina_SofiaSofia Catalina COE’20
Major: Chemical Engineering
Award Nomination: Knight-Hennessy Scholarship
Sofia Catalina has focused her energies on solving one of the most pressing challenges humanity faces as we confront climate change, seeking to fundamentally change the way we store energy in order to accelerate our transition to a fossil fuel-free society. It is her hope that through PhD-level study at Stanford in Materials Science to produce the new materials and new architectures for large-scale, dependable, affordable, and long-lasting storage of energy when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. Academically, University Scholar and Honors student Catalina is an all-star in our highly rigorous chemical engineering curriculum, who has demonstrated the creativity, initiative, and achievement of publishable results that typically characterize graduate students in her on-campus research with Professor Joshua Galloway. Catalina has also taken great advantage of our cooperative education program, working with a who’s-who of the energy storage industry—Nuvera Fuel Cells, Form Energy, Tesla. Catalina’s decision to pursue the development of technologies that will enable a cleaner, safer energy future already speaks to her desire to harness her talents for the greater good. Beyond the lab walls, she also employs her considerable communicative and leadership abilities to make the world of STEM a more inclusive space. As president of Northeastern’s Society of Women Engineers.

(4x5)Familusi_SimisolaSimisola “Simi” Familusi COE’20
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Award Nomination: Knight-Hennessy Scholarship
Simi is a talented engineer, an impressive organizer of others, and has an important vision for how the “spoils” of the 21st century might be, well, less “spoiled.” A mechanical engineer who will earn a concurrent master’s in engineering leadership, Simi is uniquely motivated to create novel manufacturing and management processes that ensure 21st century technological gains are sustainably produced along a number of dimensions and ethically distributed. In order to create the goods that one associates with a higher standard of living, Simi hopes to eliminate waste and inefficiencies within manufacturing processes. She proposes to undertake the MBA at Stanford to bolster her capacity to tackle this challenge. At Northeastern, Simi has thrived in her rigorous dual BS/MS program, building her organizational and leadership capacities through a series of coops in a wide range of sectors – moving from prototyping toys, to ensuring quality in wine preservation, to cross-functionally streamlining the production of Tesla vehicles. Outside of the classroom and the workplace, Simi has shown a remarkable dedication to strengthening the communities of which she is a member, responding to perceived needs with dedicated and effective leadership, founding the Northeastern University Toys Club, mentoring at the Boys and Girls Club and helping connect mothers from underserved communities with supplies and resources at Room to Grow. Simi is a member of the University Scholars and Honors Programs.

(4x5)Wig_ElizabethElizabeth Wig COE’20
Major: Electrical Engineering
Award Nominations: Knight-Hennessy Scholarship
Elizabeth’s primary engineering research interest is in the diverse, high-impact applications of electromagnetics for communication and sensing, but she pairs her research acumen with a sophisticated understanding of science as a social system and a force that can shape society for better or worse—as well as a deep sense of responsibility to steer that force in the right direction. A University Scholar and Honors student, Elizabeth earned the 2018 Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding achievements and potential as a researcher. Her research experience began at Northeastern’s Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) Center and has continued through co-ops at Draper Labs and at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. These research experiences have allowed Wig to apply her knowledge of electromagnetics to problems as diverse as threat detection, LIDAR optimization, cellular phone technology, the Mars Rover, and radar for drones. As this list suggests, virtually all of her electromagnetics research has had some nexus to the “national interest,” but she has simultaneously developed a critique of that concept rooted in a commitment to social justice and environmental preservation. An avid outdoor enthusiast with plans to visit every US national park, Elizabeth co-developed and led Alternative Spring Break service and learning trips focused on fair trade coffee farming in Costa Rica and public land use and preservation in southeastern Utah. She plans to earn a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and conduct research in either an academic or industrial setting.

(4x5)Cerier_ThomasThomas Cerier COE’20
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Award Nomination: Schwarzman Scholarship
Thomas Cerier has observed that a majority of his fellow mechanical engineering majors dream of careers in product development or consumer electronics. What Thomas, whose most recent co-op with Apple positioned him exactly at the intersection of those fields, also realizes is that success in that space requires not only technical skill but also cultural agility. At Apple, Thomas developed novel manufacturing technology, which involved coordinating with colleagues based in the US, Canada, and China. Thomas, an Honors student who is pursuing a concurrent M.S. in Engineering Management, had to convince disciplinarily and culturally diverse teams that his novel and untested approach to a manufacturing challenge deserved their support and enthusiasm—something that numbers alone could not do. With China playing an enormous role in global manufacturing, as well as in cutting edge technologies like artificial intelligence, Thomas is particularly eager to continue developing interpersonal and intercultural connections there. With a dedication to community engagement, embodied in his role as a program coordinator for the Northeastern University Alliance of Civically Engaged Students (NU ACES), Thomas sees the Schwarzman Scholarship as an opportunity, especially at a time of heightened trade and diplomatic tensions between the US and China, to invest in strengthened ties and deepened understanding between the two countries. Thomas’s previous co-ops were in biotechnology at SeLux Diagnostics and in consumer product development at Specialized Bicycle Components. at He plans to pursue a career in manufacturing and consumer product development, with a focus on the US and China.

Michael TormeyMichael Tormey COE/CSSH’20
Major: Civil Engineering and Economics
Award Nominations: Schwarzman Scholarship
Michael Tormey views transportation planning not as an issue of maximizing commuters’ convenience, but rather as an issue of equity and justice: a way to ensure that all communities have the opportunities to thrive enabled by reliable connections to centers of employment, education, and healthcare. To this challenge Mike brings both technical expertise and a people-oriented, civic-minded vision of collaborative leadership. An ethic of community engagement is visible across Mike’s global learning and service experiences, including an Alternative Spring Break to Cuba, Dialogue of Civilizations to Japan, and research on green space development in Singapore and Jakarta. As a senior resident assistant, a teaching assistant, and an Alternative Spring Break coordinator, Mike has refined institutional processes and structures to ensure that his peers maximize their opportunities for full community engagement. While on co-op at the Boston Planning and Development Agency, Mike led the development of a plan to improve all modes of transportation in the Glover’s Corner section of Dorchester. As a result of his conscientious involvement of community stakeholders, the project enjoys wide support; as a result of his dedication and skill, he saved the BPDA over $50,000 in consulting fees, money which has instead gone to expedite construction. Working at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency this summer, Mike redesigned two intersections in Golden Gate Park, among other highly visible infrastructure projects. A member of the University Scholars and Honors Programs and a 2019 Truman Scholarship Finalist, Mike aspires to a career at the forefront of urban planning and transportation advocacy.

Source: Office of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships

Related Departments:Chemical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering