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2017-2018 Leadership Fellows

PhD and Staff Fellows

Amr Elfar

Jennifer Ferrer

Roman Grigorii

Lindsay Larson

Megan Lenneman

Matthew Peters

Kathleen Reardon

Mark Semelhago

Lin Sun


Amr Elfar

Amr Elfar

Ph.D. Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Amr is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a graduate student researcher at the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC). His research at NUTC focuses on the impacts of connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology, widely known in the form of self-driving vehicles, on the operational performance of transportation systems. He is currently leading a national research project that aims to lay the foundation for future evaluation tools to support the planning and operation decisions about CAV system design and deployment. In addition to his research in this emerging field, Amr has worked on other areas of transportation systems including bike sharing, road safety analysis, and crowd management.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

As a doctoral candidate with a professional background in engineering, Amr enjoys helping graduate students plan and prepare for their careers after Northwestern. He is on the board of two student organizations, the McCormick Graduate Leadership Council and the Advanced Degree Consulting Alliance, where he organizes interactive workshops and networking sessions for graduate students with Northwestern career advisors and industry partners. Before joining the doctoral program at Northwestern, Amr worked in construction management on multiple building and infrastructure projects in Oman and Jordan.

Education

Amr received his BS from the University of Jordan and his MS from Northwestern University, both majoring in Civil Engineering.

Three Personal Passions 

Traveling, road trips, and card games

Three Things That Need Work

Cooking, French language, and my workout routine (doesn’t exist!)

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Jennifer Ferrer

Jennifer Ferrer

Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Jennifer is a PhD candidate in the Mirkin lab in the department of Chemistry, and her research focuses on using liposomal nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Specifically, she is interested in where in the body these nanoparticles go, how they can be designed to treat different diseases, and how these nanoparticles are an improvement over conventional drugs and therapeutics.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

Jennifer is a board member for the Graduate Women Across Northwestern organization, and a member of the Chicago chapters for the Association for Women in Science and Women in Bio. Through these organizations, Jennifer likes to facilitate communication and career development across diverse groups and individuals in science and academia. Jennifer has also served as a mentor and volunteer with the Women’s Health Science Mentoring Program at Northwestern and Expanding Your Horizons in Chicago, both of which aim to empower young women to pursue educations and careers in STEM.

Education

Jennifer holds a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MS in Biotechnology from Rush University.

Three Personal Passions 

Rock climbing, traveling, being creative (with makeup, art, food… you name it!)

Three Things That Need Work

Speaking up, maintaining my professional network, learning another language

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Roman Grigorii

Roman Grigorii

Ph.D. Candidate in Mechanical Engineering

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Roman is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department, NXR laboratory. Roman’s current research interests are in the field of surface haptics. He works on developing screens that can give their users tactile feedback as they would receive from natural textures. Outside of primary field of research, Roman loves to learn more about other sciences such as astrophysics. He also loves to tutor students and has been involved in providing mentorship help in various academic contexts for the past 6 years.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

Roman is an advocate for graduate students within the Mechanical Engineering department. He is a member of several organizations that get students engaged in their department and help make their voice heard on various department issues.

Education

Roman has been in Chicago through later part of middle school and high school. He has earned a B.A. in Physics with honors from Grinnell College.

Three Personal Passions 

Being in nature, competing in triathlons (biking is the favorite!), listening to and creating electronic music.

Three Things That Need Work

Inspiring others, being able to relax/unwind when it’s time to, time management

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Lindsay Larson

Lindsay Larson

Ph.D. Candidate in Communication

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Lindsay's research investigates teamwork and leadership issues in organizational teams and multiteam systems. Past projects have focused on the influence of language and intergroup identity on team leader emergence. Lindsay is currently involved in research projects with NASA investigating teamwork issues, such as crew composition, for the purposes of the NASA's mission to Mars. Lindsay has also worked in the Master of Science in Communication program at Northwestern as a teaching assistant for the Leading Collaboration course. There, she also helped develop course activities and lectures.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

When Lindsay is not conducting and sharing her research, she can often be found mentoring a small army of undergraduate research assistants in the ATLAS Lab. Lindsay is passionate about mentoring others and does so whenever possible.

Education

Lindsay received a BS in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Florida in 2014. Lindsay is currently pursuing her PhD in the Media, Technology, & Society Program in the School of Communications at Northwestern University.

Three Personal Passions 

Puppies, fitness, and good food

Three Things That Need Work

Training her 1-year old puppy Frost, regular yoga practice, proactivity!

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Megan Lenneman

Megan Lenneman

Admissions Counselor for Graduate Programs at Medill

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Megan is interested in understanding the connections students make to their academic programs and peers. As a member of the Medill admissions team, she interviews prospective students and counsels them on their academic trajectories upon entrance into their graduate program. Megan also serve as an undergraduate Student Organization Advisor to better connect with and guide current students at the university. In her work on launching the Medill Ambassador Program, she works to promote community, mentorship, and leadership among current and prospective graduate students.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

Prior to her role at Medill, Megan worked at the Feinberg School of Medicine and conducted research on mentoring relationships and leadership advancement for women across scientific fields. She created and piloted the Women’s Health Science Mentoring Program and the Women in Science Journal Club with the goal of strengthening a community of women in science and medicine at Northwestern.

Education

Megan holds a BA in English from The College of William & Mary and an MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern University.

Three Personal Passions 

Attempting new recipes, reading, and playing cards.

Three Things That Need Work

Making better choices regarding TV show binging, oversharing with strangers who have dogs about my (future) plans to own/love my own (future) dog “Watson,” and living in the moment.

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Matthew Peters

Matthew Peters

Ph.D. Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Matt’s research uses computational thermodynamics to develop phase diagrams for thermoelectric materials. Phase diagrams allow engineers to determine what compounds are stable when combining various elements at different temperatures and are a fundamental tool for developing and optimizing new materials. Using a method known as CALPHAD (CALculation of PHAse Diagrams), Matt can create these phase diagrams that provide insight into how these materials should be processed and ultimately decrease the research and development timeline for novel materials. You can watch him give a short talk on his research here.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience

Before joining the Materials Science and Engineering department at Northwestern, Matt was a corps member in Teach for America, where he served as a fourth and fifth grade science teacher in New Orleans. He continues to teach as an instructor for Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development where he has taught several courses including materials engineering, biotechnology, and general engineering to name a few.  Matt also participates in the Graduate Students Speaks Series where he discusses his research with local high school teachers and how they can incorporate it into their classroom. In addition to teaching, Matt coaches a materials design team for the MATSCI 390 course in the spring and also recently interned at SpaceX in their materials department.

Education

Matt attended Tulane University and majored in Engineering Physics. He is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern.

Three Personal Passions 

Podcasting, Haribo gummi bears, exercising, but mostly to enable his first two passions.

Three Things That Need Work

Self-compassion, his thesis writing, relying too much on hot sauce for his meals.

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Kathleen Reardon

Kathleen Reardon

Ph.D. Candidate in Psychology

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

As a graduate student in the Personality Across Development Lab, Kathleen’s research focuses on the developmental underpinnings of conduct problems and personality pathology, with an emphasis on the role of relational aggression (behavior intended to damage others’ social relationships). In addition, she currently manages data collection for the Game Changers study, which examines the etiology of leadership-relevant traits in adolescence. As a member of the PADlab, Kathleen also mentors several undergraduate students in independent research projects.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience 

As a complement to her substantive interests, Kathleen is interested in issues surrounding current methods and practices in psychological science and is a member of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS). She is also a founding member of NUMethods, a methods-focused reading and discussion group in the psychology department.

Education

Kathleen received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Psychology from the University of Houston.

Three Personal Passions 

Cooking, volunteering at a parrot rescue, and spending time with her dog Tilly

Three Things That Need Work

Mindfulness, making symmetrical things on a pottery wheel, and finding more time for beach vacations

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Mark Semelhago

Mark Semelhago

Ph.D. Candidate in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Mark is a third year graduate student pursuing his PhD in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences here at Northwestern University. His research focuses on the computational aspects involved in using stochastic simulation methodology and optimization to improve the performance of complex systems that are otherwise difficult to characterize. Applications are varied but include such contexts as supply systems and queuing systems.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience

Mark was previously on the Northwestern student chapter for INFORMS, the operations research professional society. In this role, he was part of a new initiative that aims to foster closer ties to industrial engineering departments at neighboring institutions.

Education

Prior to Northwestern, Mark obtained a bachelor's degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto.

Three Personal Passions 

Swimming, piano, travel

Three Things That Need Work

Swimming, piano, actually travelling

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Lin Sun

Lin Sun

Ph.D. Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering

Teaching and Research Interests and Experience

Lin’s research focuses on designing optical functional metamaterials with DNA-programmable assembly technique. This technique allows one to make micron-sized crystals where nanoparticles act as atoms and DNA strands as bonds. One advantage of such technique, which is hard to achieve with other assembly techniques, is the high structural control of the assembled crystals, where the nanoparticle size, shape and composition, lattice symmetry and constant, and crystal habit can be precisely controlled and in certain cases, dynamically tuned. This new class of materials not only allows systematic studies of structure-functional relationships at the nano- and micron-scale, but may prove useful in a wide range of optical applications.

Other Professional and Civic Interests and Experience

Lin is the president of the Photonics Club at Northwestern University (NU Photonics Club). Despite its ubiquitous usage in daily life, the general public awareness of the science and technology in optics is still much lacking. Thus, through organizing weekly student seminars, faculty talks, social and outreach activities, NU Photonics Club aims to promote the awareness and knowledge about research and professional opportunities in the field of advanced materials with a specific focus on optics and photonics technologies to both Northwestern community and beyond.

Education

Lin received her B.S. in Engineering Science from National University of Singapore.

Three Personal Passions 

Traveling, food, yoga

Three Things That Need Work

Preparing for Chicago half marathon, communication skills, not buying things I don’t need

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