Seizing the Power of the Northeastern Co-op

“I loved my time in Boston,” says Steven Summer, a 1972 graduate of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, with a smile. “I mean, a lot of things drew me to Northeastern, notwithstanding the proximity and co-op program. At that point, Northeastern was much more focused on our careers and our work.”

Summer, currently the president and CEO of the Healthcare Institute, a nonprofit organization comprised of 40 of America’s leading hospital and health system CEOs, is no stranger to the hospital administration field. He has had an illustrious career, serving as the president and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association, and most recently, having the same title at the Colorado Hospital Association, until he retired at the end of 2019.

Summer’s work in health care has not gone unnoticed by his colleagues—this past April, he was awarded the 2024 American Hospital Association Board of Trustees Award for his lifetime of considerable and striking contributions to the AHA and hospital administration in general.

However, given all of Summer’s success, what was the catalyst that sparked his interest in health care?  “I came back to Northeastern in the summer of ‘68…I had spent the prior summer working at a state mental hospital in Rhode Island. The head of psychiatry at the Rhode Island Mental Health Center said…” you should look at a career hospital administration. It’s a new emerging profession [because] Medicare and Medicaid were just passed.”

Once back in Boston, Summer immediately began applying for co-op positions in hospitals and landed a prestigious co-op position at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, New Jersey. This co-op position provided him the career direction and aspirations he had been searching for and led—through a mutual family connection—to a co-op position at the Massachusetts Hospital Association, one in which he participated in for three consecutive years until he graduated in 1972.

Summer credits his Northeastern and co-op experiences for his career success—even citing the latter in his acceptance speech for the aforementioned American Hospital Association Board of Trustees Award. “Use that co-op time wisely,” says Summer when speaking in regard to a successful and fulfilling Northeastern experience. “Use it in a way to explore opportunities, and make important connections, because they may prove valuable in the future.”

Follow Steven on LinkedIn here.

Use [the co-op] to explore opportunities, and make important connections, because they may prove valuable in the future.”

Steven Summer, DMSB’73

Benjamin Lanava

“He has demonstrated the core values of leadership, volunteerism, and academic integrity throughout the past four years and is a natural leader that knows what it means to give back and is empowered to be involved in activities that benefit others at Northeastern.”

-Annalisa Onnis-Hayden, Teaching Professor and Vice Chair for CEE Undergraduate Studies, and Jessica M. Ormsby, Associate Co-op Coordinator and Faculty Advisor for Engineers without Borders

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Some of my hobbies and interests include soccer, basketball, cooking, volunteering, gardening, reading, building puzzles, listening to music, and spending time with my family and friends!

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

Within the Northeastern Community, I have been involved with a number of organizations and projects. First and foremost, I have been extensively involved with Engineers without Borders, serving as a university representative, design lead for the Uganda program, and most recently, president of the organization. I have also served as the vice president for the New England Water Environment Association at Northeastern. Other clubs that I have been involved with include the Alliance of Civically Engaged Students, the U.N. Millennium Fellowship as a campus director, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the Sustainable Transportation at Northeastern club. Outside of clubs, I have participated in research on-campus throughout all four of my years at Northeastern, examining the feasibility of using sustainable, biologically-inspired solutions—plants and fungi—to remediate drinking water of the harmful contaminant PFAS. Finally, I have enjoyed playing intramural soccer, volleyball, and broomball with my friends at Northeastern as well!

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

Some achievements during my time at Northeastern would include organizing and co-leading our first trip back to our community partner in Uganda for EWB since the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving nominations for the Rhodes, Marshall, Knight-Hennessy, and Udall Scholarships from the URF department at Northeastern, having the opportunity to represent the Civil and Environmental Engineering student body at the Industrial Leadership Night for Northeastern CEE partners, and creating a manuscript for an academic journal that will hopefully be published in the coming months.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I believe the most significant achievement from the above examples is the EWB trip to our community partners in Nakyenyi, Uganda. This trip installed a submersible pump, solar panels, tank, tap stands, and tank stand for our partner community of about 4,000 people to use. This trip re-established our connection with the community, provided an opportunity for invaluable water quality testing and land surveying to be conducted, and most importantly, included house-to-house surveys that allowed for community input to be included in the design of the final distribution system—to be installed in coming trips. Through this trip, we understand the severity of the issue of water scarcity in our community and learned that our system could directly work to save lives and prevent drowning deaths in our community from members of the community trying to collect water from dangerous nearby open sources of water.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

Some awards and honors I have received during my time as a student include being named in the 2023 Huntington 100, receiving an honorable mention for the Udall Scholarship for environmental leadership, being named to the Dean’s List, and participating in the Northeastern Honor’s Program throughout my time in college. Additionally, I was nominated for the Rhodes, Marshall, and Knight-Hennessy scholarships on behalf of Northeastern University. Some scholarships I’ve been awarded while at Northeastern include the Scranton Fund Scholarship, the Richard and Joy Gilbert Scholarship, the Vincent D. Barletta Scholarship, and some other CEE-related scholarships!

Graham Moitoso

“This is an exceptional case of a student capitalizing on all the resources and paths of study that Northeastern offers, to excel, but more importantly, identify a passion of study that goes on to make real world impact.”

-Daniel Adams, Director, School of Architecture, and Sara Jensen Carr, Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs Coordinator, School of Architecture

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

[Some of my hobbies are] brewing coffee and visiting local cafés, exploring the many Boston-area green spaces and trails, watching films and listening to vinyl records, cycling and rock climbing, and Boston’s DIY hand-poked tattoo scene.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

[I am involved in the Northeastern and local Boston community through] co-leading ASLA Adept, project-managing for the Boston Society of Landscape Architects to create a Cool Black installation, serving on the School of Architecture Dean’s Advisory Board, serving on CAMD’s Dean’s Advisory Board, TAing for urban design and landscaping architecture studios for two years, and co-organizing the first coffeeshop union in Massachusetts at Pavement Coffeehouse while working as a barista and supervisor.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

[My Northeastern achievements include] co-teaching and developing materials for an anti-displacement urban planning research studio with Professor Lily Song, leading participatory mapping workshops with local youth groups to design maps that better reflect lived experiences and memories, co-writing academic journals about the importance of culturally-response mapping and planning, facilitating workshops with community organizations to advocate for increased climate resiliency, and qualitative coding/compiling visual materials to analyze community-generated data in historically underserved urban neighborhoods.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

Working in the urban planning sphere on the side of academic work—[this is my] most significant achievement because of the tactile impact of work and the ability to merge my knowledge as a lifelong Massachusetts resident, transit advocate and architecture/urban planning student, as well as the ability to expand skills in graphic design, community engagement and cartography to bolster knowledge learned in Northeastern classwork.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

[I was on the] Dean’s List and [in the] University Honors program.


Ryan Westmoreland

“Ryan’s Northeastern story is both impressive and inspirational—precisely what it means to be a Northeastern University Husky. Hard-working, professional, high-achieving, passionate, [and] highly-successful.”

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Spending time with my wife and kids. I also enjoy watching movies and listening to podcasts. I like helping to develop young athletes into better players and, more importantly, better people.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

I have spent years volunteering with Portsmouth, Rhode Island’s “Challenger” Little League, helping children with disabilities play the game of baseball. Additionally, when I was playing for the Red Sox, I spent time in the Dominican Repulic at orphanages, just spending time with the local children. I have been coaching baseball at the collegiate level for over four years while also running a youth developmental baseball organization, with teams aged from 11 years old to 18.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

I was recently selected to the Northeastern University Huntington 100 this past year.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I believe my work with children with special needs has been my most significant achievement and was the most rewarding. Among many other things, I believe this shows my passion for baseball, a willingness to help others in any way I can and using my platform and past experiences to benefit people in any situation.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

I have maintained a high GPA at Northeastern and have been on the Dean’s List numerous times. As mentioned above, last year I was named to Northeastern University’s Huntington 100.

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@rwesty25

Josh Van Alfen

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

[Some of my hobbies and interests are] running, theater (acting), music (violin), camping, and cognitive health research.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

[At Northeastern, I was involved in] the Student Philanthropy Council, a Resident Assistant, NU Emergency Medical Services, NU Running Club, and Rehabilitation Game & Extended Reality Lab. [In Boston, I was] a Tufts Medical Center inpatient visitation volunteer and a Beth Israel Post-Anesthesia Care Unit patient assistant volunteer.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

I was one of the founding board members of NU Student Philanthropy Council which promotes and oversees philanthropic efforts towards student organization on campus. We have developed the council to work with Alumni Relations, coordinate with student organizations to publicize fundraisers, and organize unaffiliated opportunities for students and faculty to donate to a cause of their choice. As a member of the ReGame-XR lab’s Exerbike project, we published our paper “Integrated Aerobic Exercise into Adult Second Language Learning in Virtual Reality Game” in the journal IEEE. Our research centered around the potential of second language learning via a physically active VR game among older adults to slow age-related cognitive decline. We also presented our preliminary findings at Northeastern University’s RISE Expo.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

Publishing with ReGame-XR on older adult cognition is something I am incredibly proud of. With this paper, the start of a field that has had no prior research is being started. Using modern technologies such as VR is proving to offer solutions in the realm of preventative medicine to combat cognitive declines in memory, focus, and spatial visualization. Our research is a small step, but it shows potential to expand research and resources towards this field which could make event greater leaps towards combatting the saddening reality of age-related cognitive decline.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

[I was on the] Dean’s list

Michelle Pang

“Michelle’s achievements inside and outside of the classroom represent some of the best that NU has to offer, making her an excellent candidate for the Compass Award.”

-Todd M. Alessandri, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education, D’Amore-McKIm Business School

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

[My hobbies are] lifting weights and working out, cooking new recipes, trying new restaurants, cafes, bakeries, etc., with friends, and reading.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

[I am the] co-director of outreach WISE Summit, the previous NUMA Consulting executive director, and the previous DMSB social media ambassador.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

[Some of my achievements include] sourcing 17 speakers with my co-Director of outreach for WISE Summit (ex: Eva Goicochea, Kati Fernandez), being one of the first DMSB social media ambassadors and featuring in the #QuestionsontheQuad video series, and sourcing the five startups as the executive director of NUMA Consulting. [I also worked] on uplifting new businesses, especially those with a focus on impact.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

One of the accomplishments I am most proud of is sourcing the speakers for the WISE Summit, a conference for women and underrepresented genders who would like to build an innovative mindset. With my team, I secured speakers from many industries, professions, and ages while simultaneously ensuring diverse representation so all participants could find someone they resonate with. Some notable speakers include Eva Goicochea, the founder of Maude and one of only 10 Latinas in consumer goods to have raised over $10 million in venture funding, and Kati Fernandez, director of content strategy at ESPN. Besides sourcing speakers, I developed the workshops, lightning talks, and keynotes directly with speakers meaning I had an executive decision in deciding the Summit’s content. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience to watch my hard work come to life on March 23 and work with such a passionate, warm, and incredible team. It was so amazing to be able to impact over 250 participant’s lives on that Saturday.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

[I have been on the] Dean’s list for all four years [and am a member of] the Beta Sigma Gamma Honor Society.

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@michelle.athena

Jenia Browne

“Jenia has the perseverance, initiative, creativity, and intellectual curiosity to be a fiercely positive force in the world.”

-Layla D. Brown, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Africana Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

Academically and professionally, I enjoy researching and working with Black queer life, Black feminisms, and the politics of small island states, particularly in the Caribbean islands. Personally, I love to crochet, read and collect tarot cards, and collect records! I also enjoy ‘80s to 2000s era movies, Black horror movies, reality TV—especially “Survivor”, reading fiction and Black feminist literature, and cooking with my friends.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

The most central aspect of my time at Northeastern has been my participation in the Northeastern Black Student Association, in which I served as a freshman representative my first year, secretary my second year, president my third year, and now upperclassmen representative in my fourth year. I also served on the executive board of Afrospectrum, Northeastern’s Black queer affinity group, for one year as a social media representative and secretary. In addition, I have been a Summer Bridge and International Affairs peer mentor.

I have worked for the Northeastern Africana Studies Program as a program assistant and served on the Student Advisory Council, for the Northeastern University Writing Center as a writing tutor, twice as a teaching assistant for INTL 3400 for Dr. Denise Garcia and WMNS 3100 with Dr. Layla Brown, and as an undergraduate researcher in the History Department on the 3D Black Boston team.

In the broader Boston community, I have volunteered with Sitters for Scholars and the Mission Hill After School Program, as well as creating programming through the NBSA that involves the community.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

I am definitely proud of creating NBSA’s annual kiki ball to highlight Black queer culture on campus for students who often felt underrepresented. That event had 150 attendees. I am also proud of reviving the NBSA’s tradition of traveling to Washington, D.C. for Howard Homecoming during my presidency, and we were able to bring 95 students during that time, which was a very difficult task. Being a part of the start of—serving on the second ever executive board—Afrospectrum was notable as well.

I am also very proud of speaking at and being part of the planning for bell hooks symposium hosted by the Africana Studies program. I was the undergraduate speaker for the 2023 symposium and presented a 13-minute speech. I am also proud of my two independent studies, one through a research practicum mentored by Dr. Régine Jean-Charles and one through a PEAK Summit Award with Dr. Layla Brown. I am also currently working on my Senior Capstone. Generally, I am proud of being intentionally involved in the Northeastern and Boston Black and queer communities. I’d also consider my education as a Black feminist—my minor—is an achievement to me.

Being a recipient of the 2023 Brutus “Skip” Wright Memorial Scholarship Award through JDOAAI and the 2023 Thomas I. Atkins Social Justice Award and 2024 Clara and Joseph Ford Scholarship through the Center for Student Involvement in recognition of my work with the NBSA is an achievement to me as well.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I’d consider my presidency in the NBSA my most significant achievement. I am very proud of being involved in the Black community and being able to support my peers through that role. It was an honor to serve in such a significant position and I think that I made a lot of changes that helped rebuild the club after some struggles we experienced post-COVID-19 shut down. It also helped me grow so much as a leader and person, and I’ve met some of my favorite people through the NBSA and the institute.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

I was on the Dean’s List fall 2020, spring 2021, and fall 2023. I am in the Honors College. I am a Zandra I. Flemister ’73 Fellow through the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures. As previously mentioned, I am the recipient of the 2023 Brutus “Skip” Wright Memorial Scholarship Award through JDOAAI, as well as the 2023 Thomas I. Atkins Social Justice Award and 2024 Clara and Joseph Ford Scholarship through CSI. I received a PEAK Summit Award and the Black Alumni Scholarship.

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jenia-browne

James Chang-Davidson

“James has had an outsized impact on the Northeastern and Khoury community. He is always happy to volunteer for us to attend any event, serve on any panel, and talk to his fellow students about his experiences. We look forward to hearing of his exploits as an alumnus.”

-Benjamin Hescott, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Student Experience

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love going for long meandering walks through campus and through nature, admiring the greenery, buildings, and weather along the way. I like to hone my sushi making skills in my free time, making (and eating!) sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish), nigiri (raw fish draped over rice), maki (sushi rolls), Uramaki (inside out sushi rolls), and temaki (hand rolls). I also dabble in a bit of photography and videography now and then.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

I was a member of oSTEM and Out in Business, as well as serving as an Analyst in my first year during the inaugural year CASE—Consulting and Advisory Student Experience club—started their pro-bono consulting arm NCG—Northeastern Consulting Group. I served on Northeastern Electric Racing’s Executive Board from Fall 2019 to Fall 2022. I started as project manager before recruiting a team of project managers and stepping up to lead the business team as vice president. I served as president for three semesters before passing the torch. While on the E-Board of NER and working to emerge from COVID-19, I built collaborations among the College of Engineering clubs sharing manufacturing space. As a result, I was appointed to lead the COE Student Activities Council and worked to strengthen the COE student organization leaders community. When the opportunity arose, I passed the torch and pivoted to establishing Kaleidoscope, Khoury College’s Club Council. Much like COE SAC, Kaleidoscope works to build community and shared success among all student organizations and their leaders in Khoury College. Kaleidoscope also serves as a foundation and conduit for tighter collaborations between the college and student leaders, incubating innovative programs, and increasing access to resources. Upon the recommendation of the Student Body president, I joined the Student Government Association’s Student Involvement team after stepping down from the NER E-Board. The following semester I stepped up to serve as vice president for student involvement and spearheaded numerous initiatives to transform the student organization ecosystem and supports.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

During my time on the executive board of Northeastern Electric Racing, the team grew from about 50 members to over 200 members, expanding interdisciplinary experiential education opportunities to so many more students. I established NER’s software team to build project management software, only for it to blossom into over 80 team members within NER with multiple projects spanning web development, data analysis and visualization, and vehicle interface and controls. NER completed its first car, won 1st and 2nd place, won the Scrutineer’s Award for best preparation and documentation, and won the IEEE

Excellence in Project Management award. NER also successfully organized an event for President Aoun, Dean Beth Mynatt, and other senior leadership to drive the car and experience the power of experiential learning. As a Khoury student leading COE’s Student Activities Council, I championed inclusivity, increased participation, built structures for meaningful student advocacy, and successfully partnered with COE administrators to improve the experience for engineering student organizations. In founding Kaleidoscope, I built a highly unique student-admin partnership to enable student leaders to define and built the support systems their peers need most. I strengthened the sense of community among Khoury student leaders, more than doubled the collaborative events clubs organized with one another, and opened new avenues of funding to enable innovative projects. Through SGA, I strengthened the collaborations with staff, increased engagement with student organization leaders, improved transparency for club policies, and expanded the previously 12-member Student Involvement team to a 4-team, 25-plus member standing division which is better equipped to handle the demands of over 500 student organizations and the dynamic future of a global university ecosystem.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I consider the establishment of NER’s software team to be one of my most significant achievements. Although somewhat comparatively small, I think it has had the largest positive impact on the Northeastern and Khoury College community. NER’s software team began as a small group of students interested in learning web development who were willing to listen to me ramble and teach for an hour each Sunday. Over time, we added an interview process that allowed interested students to gain valuable behavioral and technical interview experience before joining the team. The dedication to member learning from day zero and continuous learning via dedicated learning sessions has undoubtedly afforded hundreds of Khoury students the opportunity to learn and apply critical technical and career-preparatory skills in a judgement-free environment. As the software team has expanded beyond the first web development project, new opportunities for students to learn a wider variety of software technologies and domain applications have opened up too. In the years since I left NER, their software team has continued to grow, boasting more than 80 members each semester and almost two dozen learning sessions per semester. While the software we built was objectively mediocre in the beginning, I could not be prouder of the team, systems, and structures I built that have facilitated so many students learning the skills they’re most interested in and subsequently finding their co-ops.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

[One semester on the] Dean’s List [and a] Student Government Association Delegate of the Semester for Spring 2023.

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@jamcd18

Caro Aguilera Barraza

“Given Caro’s motivation with research and outreach excellence at Northeastern, I strongly believe that she makes significant advances in science and the world.”

-Leila Deravi, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Chemical Biology

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I love reading, I’m a big bookworm, and my current favorite book is called “The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea”. I have a big passion for drawing and painting—hence my love for cosmetic science—and love to visit art museums. I know the MFA by heart and can take you to any room, painting, or sculpture because I know that place like the back of my hand! I also enjoy knitting, watching anime, and hanging out with my friends!

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

Throughout my time at Northeastern, I have been deeply involved in both the university community and the broader academic sphere. One significant aspect of my engagement has been my extensive involvement in the Biomaterials Design Group, where I have dedicated myself to advancing scientific knowledge and promoting sustainability. Within this group, I have conducted fascinating research on sustainable pigments and innovative ingredients for personal care products.

In addition to my research endeavors, I have also taken on leadership roles and actively engaged in mentoring activities that will help make a positive impact in the STEM community, hoping to get more young careerists involved in the industry. Starting as a research assistant, I have progressed to become an independent researcher and, ultimately, a mentor for fellow undergraduates. This journey reflects my commitment to personal growth and my dedication to supporting the academic and professional development of my peers. This is exemplified by my role as an undergraduate mentor, where I passionately strive to help others succeed and demonstrate my ability to inspire and guide them in their scientific pursuits.

Beyond Northeastern, I have extended my reach to the wider community through initiatives such as the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ NextGen program, where I proudly serve as a member and volunteer, supporting young careerists in their pursuit of a career in the cosmetic science industry. The NextGen initiative focuses on educating, networking, and mentoring students and early careerists. My role has consisted of helping connect companies with young university students so that they might have more job, co-op and internship opportunities, as well as helping cosmetic science become more available to young people interested in the field. My passion and dedication to empowering others doesn’t stop there, I have also successfully spearheaded two NSF outreach programs, presented at Harvard and MIT at the Cambridge Science Festival, that promote STEM education so that young students, and people interested overall, are encouraged to join science and engineering.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

During my time at Northeastern University, I have achieved significant milestones that reflect my dedication to academic excellence, leadership, and innovation. One notable accomplishment has been my pioneering research within the Biomaterials Design Group. Through extensive experimentation and collaboration, I have made substantial contributions to the field of sustainable pigments and novel ingredients for personal care products. These efforts have not only garnered recognition within Northeastern but have also been acknowledged on a broader scale, including prestigious awards and scholarships on the national level.

Furthermore, my commitment to innovation and problem-solving is exemplified by my role in developing a new serum delivery mechanism to mitigate single-use capsule waste in consumer goods. This innovative solution has led to patent-pending, and I’m currently finalizing this project to publish a paper on this innovation. My journey researching natural pigments, studying polymer chemistry, and applying it to cosmetic science and engineering have given me numerous awards for my outstanding contributions and discoveries such as winning multiple PEAK research awards and the Provost Research Award. Moreover, my recognitions have extended beyond Northeastern, as I have been awarded by the Society of Cosmetic Chemists the Madam CJ Walker Scholarship, a very competitive, prestigious, and international scholarship, given only to underrepresented minorities in STEM that have made significant contributions to cosmetic science and engineering. Similarly, I presented my research and discoveries in Los Angeles at the SCC’s 76th Annual Showcase. Notably, my research presentation not only received acclaim but also secured a 4th place prize in a competition with more than 20 posters competing against Ph.D. students from all over the country. Having secured both honors, the poster competition and scholarship, distinguished me as the sole recipient of two awards at the entire conference, whose accolades recognize only the brightest and most accomplished people in cosmetic science.

In addition to my research achievements, I have excelled academically, maintaining a stellar 3.91 GPA and consistently earning recognition for my scholastic endeavors. Being on the Dean’s list every semester since my freshman year, receiving the NU Award for high-level academic performance and leadership, and being nominated for esteemed awards such as the Condit Award and Hodgkinson Award highlight my dedication to academic excellence and leadership within the university community.

Moreover, my involvement in extracurricular activities, such as volunteering with the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ NextGen program and spearheading NSF outreach initiatives, underscores my commitment to serving the community and promoting STEM education.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

I am deeply proud of every single one of my achievements, but if I had to pinpoint the most significant one to date, it would undoubtedly be the journey of seeing my research evolve into a patent-pending discovery. The reason for this is that this honor is not just about the awards or the recognition, but rather the countless hours of dedication spent, the failures that turned into lessons, and the relentless pursuit of innovation that went into this endeavor, as I was the sole researcher working on this project—besides my PI who guided me throughout this process.

Witnessing my endless curiosity and ideas materialize into something tangible, with the potential to make a real-world impact, fills me with an indescribable sense of accomplishment, joy and purpose. This is the culmination of my professional growth as an engineer and scientist throughout my undergraduate studies at Northeastern, and it’s a testament to my resilience and passion, so I am extremely proud of it. This achievement is more than just a milestone on my academic journey—it’s a symbol of perseverance, creativity, and the endless possibilities that come with daring to dream big and never giving up!

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

I have been on the Dean’s list for every academic semester since my freshman year with a current GPA of 3.91. Furthermore, I’ve been awarded the “NU Award”, which recognizes upperclassmen who demonstrate high-level academic performance and leadership at the university level. I’ve also been nominated for prestigious awards such as the Hodgkinson Award, Condit Award by the chemical engineering awards selection committee. Moreover, for my outstanding scholastic accomplishments, I was invited to become a member of Tau Beta Pi, the largest and most prestigious engineering honor society. Additionally, I have been awarded one of their prestigious scholarships, the Tau Beta Pi Scholarship, that recognizes students that show promise of substantial achievement in the form of educational, research, professional activities that have prepared them for their career. My research has garnered multiple awards, including the PEAK Summit Award, the PEAK Ascent Award, and the Provost Research Award. Beyond Northeastern, I’ve received prestigious recognition like the Madam CJ Walker Scholarship from the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Presenting my work at the SCC’s 76th Annual Showcase earned me a 4th place prize among PhD competitors nationwide. I have also received a patent pending for my discovery at the Biomaterials Lab.

Ashley Brown

“She is a fantastic asset to NU and I have absolutely no doubt that she will remain one of our highly involved alumni after graduation.”

-Kirsten Fertuck, Biochemistry Director and Teaching Professor

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy figure skating, watching figure skating, listening to a variety of music—from jazz to EDM to classical to punk, and watching TV shows—from the terrible to the sublime—with friends. When I have time, I also enjoy both reflective and creative fantasy writing. I am also interested in social justice movements and efforts to right historical inequities.

What are some examples of your involvement in the Northeastern community and the community at large?

I joined the [Northeastern Figure Skating] team during fall 2020 when the most we could meet was for weekly virtual workouts. During my second year, I joined the executive board as the assistant vice president of competitions and shows where the whole e-board was awarded Club Sports e-board of the year. The next year, I moved up to become VP of competitions and shows and hosted our first spring show in club history. Now I am the president of the club.

During my second year, I joined an initiative to expand health humanities programming and awareness on campus [through the Northeastern University Health Humanities Club]. This led to founding the Health Humanities Club with three other students at Northeastern. I was elected to be the present and since then, we have received official CSI recognition as a club and hosted several faculty speaker and student led panels.

The fall of my second year, I was offered a position as an undergraduate teaching fellow for general chemistry for science majors. During this experience, I discovered a love for teaching. Since then, I have been an undergraduate assistant for biology project lab two times and now I am a TA for the co-requisite lab for Foundations of Microbiology.

During the summer between my third and fourth year of university, I traveled to Ghana for a dialogue on the health systems, services, and education in Ghana. During my time there, I learned from local professors and healthcare practitioners and was given options to give back to the community there by leading dental and general hygiene classes for students at different schools in the cities we visited during our time in Ghana.

Describe some of your achievements at Northeastern

[My favorite achievement is] founding and leading the Northeastern University Health Humanities Club. [Additionally,] during my time as vice president of competitions for the Northeastern University Figure Skating Club (NUFSC), we earned our highest team placement in the program’s history [and] raised over $4,000 for NUFSC in the three shows I directed from fall 2021 – spring 2023. [I also] earned over $15,000 in research funding from several URF—undergraduate research and fellowship office—grants and Health Humanities Initiative funding, [and am] published on a bioethics paper through my second co-op.

Of the above examples, which do you consider your most significant achievement and why?

It is difficult to pick a most significant achievement as they vary greatly, but I am very proud of my leadership, especially as I see the next generation of leaders rise to continue the work that I have started. If I must pick a specific example of this, I would point to the shows I have directed for Northeastern University Figure Skating Club. During my tenure as assistant VP and vice president of Competitions and Shows, I expanded on the first holiday show we hosted in December 2019—before I attend the university—to include assistance creating large group numbers and a livestream. The next year, we added a spring show as an additional opportunity for our skaters to perform. This was a part of a larger reckoning on how to incorporate competitive aspirations with our desire for inclusivity on the skating team. By providing performance, and thus bonding, experiences outside of competitions, this allowed for a balance of these interests as well as more opportunities to raise funds which in turn, reduce dues and increase accessibility for skaters. Now the roles of VP/AVP of Competitions and Shows has been split into two roles because of how much I expanded on the existing shows content. The new directors ran two successful shows this past year and I feel confident that these shows will continue to be well run and an essential component of the team for many years. I look forward to watching them as an alumna.

What honors or awards have you received during your time as a student?

[I made the] Dean’s List every semester at university, [was an] Internal Admit to University Honors program, earned a University Honors Program Distinction with an anticipated graduation with Latin honors—summa cum laude. [Plus, I am a] Fulbright semi-finalist.

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