Northeastern Graduate Commencement: Leila Fadel Tells Class of 2022 to ‘Write the Rest of Your Story’

Embrace your fears, offered award-winning journalist Leila Fadel, the featured speaker at Northeastern University’s Commencement ceremony for graduate students on Friday morning at Fenway Park in Boston.

“Why am I talking about fear on such a hopeful day?” asked Fadel, a Northeastern School of Journalism graduate and a host of Morning Edition, the flagship morning show for National Public Radio. “In moments of fear, I found urgency and a clear understanding of why I had chosen to give a platform to those who needed it most. Fear can be debilitating, but it can also be our greatest motivator for good in this world even when it feels too hard, too big, too unsolvable.”

The undergraduate ceremony was slated for Friday evening at the 110-year-old ballpark, which for this splendid day was wreathed with emblems of Northeastern perched along the majestic outfield walls, covering home plate and the pitcher’s mound, and glowing from the electric signs that ringed the immaculate green field.

Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, asked the graduates for three rounds of applause: for the family members, partners, and friends who helped them reach this moment; for the faculty and staff who supported them; and for themselves, for this achievement they had earned.

He dispensed with the lessons that are so often trotted out at Commencement ceremonies: Life cannot be scripted … You will reinvent yourself many times … You will learn more from failure than success.

“These are wise words,” Aoun told the graduates. “But for you, they are old news.” The “Northeastern advantage” enabled them to take on all challenges, he said.

The themes of perseverance from Aoun and Fadel were bookended by a message of merited hope—earned during the COVID-19 pandemic—from student speaker Aniyah Smith, who graduated with a master of business administration degree with concentrations in marketing and analytics.

“The last two years were hard,” Smith said. “I want to remind you that while intelligence, ambition, and perseverance have brought you to this moment, hope is one of the most important things we have.”

It was a morning of inspiring music, of colorful flags waved by students representing dozens of nations, of lifelong dreams realized and reimagined on behalf of new ambitions.


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Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University.

Northeastern Undergraduate Commencement: Chobani CEO Urges Class of 2022 to Challenge Things That Make Them ‘Uncomfortable in the World’

As fireworks popped behind Fenway Park, 4,200 of Northeastern University’s newest alumni turned to see 24,000 of their closest friends and family cheer raucously in celebration of their accomplishments.

The adoring fans who filled the stadium—rooting not for the Red Sox, but for the Huskies—held up giant cards that together spelled out “CONGRATS NU 2022,” sending Northeastern’s newly minted graduates into the world with an appropriately huge celebration.

The university’s 120th Commencement exercises, held on May 13, was the second at Boston’s iconic Fenway Park. It was a daylong affair, with a ceremony for graduate students in the morning and another for undergraduate students in the evening. Both celebrations marked the final chapter in a story filled with unexpected twists, challenging plot points, and heroic achievements by the Class of 2022.

“During your years at Northeastern, you experienced a global pandemic. You lived through—and led—an important racial reckoning that forced all of us to listen, learn, and act. Today, we see a brutal war taking place in real-time. Around the clock, we are bearing witness to all of the aggression and atrocity that wars bring. We are also reminded that freedom, democracy, and self-determination are precious and worth fighting for,” Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern, told undergraduates during his address. “What gives me hope, throughout these challenges, is you. All of you, with your Northeastern experiences, ready to shape the future. To make it better. More peaceful. More sustainable. More just.”

Northeastern’s newest graduates shared that mission with Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive of Chobani, who delivered Friday’s undergraduate Commencement address.

Ulukaya—who walked to the podium to chants of “Hamdi! Hamdi! Hamdi!” from students in the crowd—immigrated to the United States from eastern Turkey in 1994 with $3,000 to his name. But he soon transformed an abandoned New York yogurt factory into the home of the bestselling Greek yogurt in the country.

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Photo by Billie Weiss/Northeastern University.

Joint COS-COE Colloquium: Modeling Quantum Information and Quantum Materials Problems

Hosted by Arun Bansil and Swastik Kar

Speaker: Prof. Hai-Ping Cheng of the University of Florida

Award-winning professor launches work-from-anywhere research program for community college students

This summer, Steven Lopez, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, will launch a research collaboration program for community college students throughout Massachusetts who might otherwise not have opportunities to participate in lab work.

The six-week program, which begins May 30, will be funded in part by the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an accolade Lopez recently received for his outstanding accomplishments as an early-career chemistry professor and researcher.

Lopez decided to start the summer program in order to get community college students involved in computational chemistry research, a subject that isn’t taught at community colleges in Massachusetts, Lopez says.

Because the research in Lopez’s lab is purely computational—in other words, there are no test tubes or Bunsen burners—students only need access to a computer in order to complete their work. “The Summer Research Experiences are pandemic-proof because the research can be done from anywhere with an internet connection,” he says. This also makes the work accessible to community college students everywhere.

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University.

Hoods in hand, Northeastern doctoral graduates turn now to solve the world’s biggest problems

When Andrew Summerfield walked onto the stage to receive his doctorate, Luca Caracoglia handed him a smartphone.

The associate professor of civil and environmental engineering was a stand-in for Summerfield’s advisor Andrew Myers, also an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern and associate chair for graduate studies, who had come down with COVID-19 a few days before Northeastern’s Doctor of Philosophy Hooding and Graduation Ceremony. But Caracoglia and Myers coordinated to surprise Summerfield with a video call.

When Summerfield realized his advisor had made it to the ceremony after all, albeit remotely, a wide smile spread across his face and he waved the phone’s screen at his fellow graduates and guests to let them in on the delight.

The hooding ceremony, which was held in Matthews Arena on Monday, represents the culmination of several years of study for the Class of 2022 in fields ranging from cybersecurity to mechanical engineering to psychology to chemistry, and many more.

David Madigan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern, opened the celebration by congratulating the graduates on the “impact you have already made as scholars and as scientists.” He told them, “You have raised the bar of excellence very high indeed. The world needs your deep expertise and your unique capacity to create knowledge that solves problems.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Madigan reiterated this sentiment by charging the newly minted PhDs with finding “new ways to extend your impact.” He said, “The world needs your minds, your hearts, and, above all else, your humanity.”

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University.

Joint COS-COE Colloquium: Defect control in 2D materials: From magnetism to bio-application and catalysis

Speaker: Prof. Mauricio Terrones of Pennsylvania State University
Hosted by Arun Bansil and Swastik Kar

Two-dimensional (2D) materials hold great promise for novel quantum sensing and computing applications and their large-scale manufacturing is drawing intense current interest. I will discuss how different defects in transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) and hBN monolayers can be generated and imaged via optical techniques. Effects of doping and alloying on magnetism and transport will be delineated, and effects of edges, vacancies and local strains will be correlated with the hydrogen evolution reaction. We demonstrate that 2D materials can be used to fabricate effective catalytic substrates through defect control, and that the dominant sulfur monovacancies in TMDs induce a new signature in the form of a low-energy exciton that lies 300 meV away from the neutral exciton. C-H defects will be shown to induce p-type doping that can be controlled by the presence of C within the TMDs. One-dimensional heterointerfaces in TMDs will be shown in conjunction with their nonlinear optical emission to provide a new way for imaging and exploiting 1D defects.

Faculty excellence on display at academic honors convocation

Northeastern celebrated the many accomplishments of its faculty on Thursday during the 12th annual Academic Honors Convocation. With more than 100 awards from the university and external academic institutions including the National Academy of Engineering, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there is certainly a lot to celebrate.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of the awards,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern. “The awards that you are receiving are in some ways a harbinger of what will come next … and the future is exciting.”

The faculty award ceremony, held on the 17th floor of East Village on the university’s Boston campus, followed a parallel celebration for undergraduate and graduate student accomplishments. And the two populations, Aoun said, work symbiotically to push Northeastern forward.

“We celebrate you not only for your impact and achievement in the field, but also your impact and achievement with the students,” he said. “I don’t know whether you know, but now when students apply to Northeastern, they look at the faculty in their programs that they want to work with. This is your impact: Research, teaching, and … impacting the community around us—wherever we are—and impacting the world.”

Faculty from across the university attended the event, which was also streamed live on Northeastern’s Facebook page.

David Madigan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, described the award-winners—whose accolades include a range of fellowships, appointments, and awards—as representing the core of what it means to be at Northeastern.

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University.

Award-winning students ‘exemplify Northeastern’s highest ideals.’

Northeastern celebrated its most accomplished learners at the 12th Annual Student Academic Honors Convocation Thursday, a ceremony that recognized students for their achievements in scholarship, research, leadership, and innovation.

“You are going to represent us all over the world in various settings,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun told the awardees. “People are going to look at you as being from Northeastern. And that’s why we’re so excited about celebrating you. We are very proud of you.”

The lunchtime event was held on the 17th floor of East Village overlooking the Boston skyline on a bright spring day. The renewal of the ceremony, held in-person for the first time since 2019, marked the latest return to normalcy.

“What you achieved—much of it—was during the COVID-19 pandemic,” David Madigan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, told the students. “You adapted without missing a beat, developing new ways to learn and to persevere with important research and scholarship. You fueled Northeastern’s remarkable momentum and truly helped the world move through a difficult time with optimism and hope for the future.”

The winners were joined by family, friends, faculty, deans, and staffers, as well as representatives from other universities. As they celebrated their achievements and looked ahead to what may come, the students were described by Madigan as embodiments of their university’s strengths.

“You exemplify Northeastern’s highest ideals: A university powered by experience, deeply engaged with the world, and focused on making an impact on communities worldwide,” Madigan said. “In classrooms and out in the field, in research labs and in art studios, in locations around the world and right here in Boston, you have tested and exceeded the limits of what’s possible. You’ve inspired peers and mentors with your scholarly achievements and helped the world understand and solve problems with greater impact.”

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Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University.

Joint Special COS-COE Colloquium: Strong Light-Matter Interaction Driven Quantum Devices

Prof. Deep Jariwala of the University of Pennsylvania
Hosted by Arun Bansil and Swastik Kar

COS ScienceBites Series with Jonathan Grabowski

Please join us on Monday, May 16 at 12:00pm for our Staff series, COS Science Bites!
Each month, a COS faculty member will discuss their important research, how they use a new piece of equipment, or how they train the next generation of scientists.
Talks are geared for understanding by non-scientist audiences.

Jonathan Grabowski, Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences and Assistant Director of the Marine Science Center, will present a short talk on Using ecological and socioeconomic research to inform conservation, restoration, and fisheries management, leaving plenty of time for Q&A. Zoom link/information is located above.

We hope to see you there!

Celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month: A community dialogue on AAPI in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Please join us for a community dialogue on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology!
The first half of the event will be a facilitated discussion of the 2021 paper by Nguyen et al., “Who are we? Highlighting Nuances in Asian American Experiences in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology”. The second half will include a panel discussion featuring:

  • Andy Lee, co-author; Ph.D. Student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Purdue University
  • Erin de Leon Sanchez, co-author; Ph.D. Student in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at UC Santa Barbara
  • Dr. Seema Sheth, Assistant Professor in Plant and Microbial Biology at NC State University
  • Dr. Garfield Kwan, Post-Doctoral Student at Scripps Institute; NOAA Southwest Fisheries; Creator of Squidtoons

2022 Graduate Student Awards and Recognition

This spring, we celebrate our 2022 graduate student Northeastern award winners. We are pleased to recognize the 2022 College of Science Dean’s Awards for Graduate Excellence and Northeastern’s Outstanding Graduate Awards.

College of Science Dean’s Awards for Graduate Excellence

The Dean’s Awards for Graduate Student Excellence are given out by the College of Science in sub-categories to students who have excelled in such areas. These students will be celebrated by members of the college at a ceremony later this month. 


Summer Harvey, Julia Mitchell, Katherine McDonald, Yesenia Taveras Cruz, Hannah Wolfe

Amanda Figueroa-Navedo


Nathalie Myrthil  


Rhea Sharma  


Daniel Adrion  


Charles Linskey 

Northeastern’s Outstanding Graduate Awards

The Outstanding Graduate Awards are awarded across the university and facilitated by the PhD Network. This year, we received more than 100 nominations across award categories and Northeastern’s academic colleges.

Outstanding Graduate Research Award  

Robert Green  

Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award  

Lauren Granata

Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award  

Karen Aerni

Outstanding Graduate Student Experiential Award  

Celeste de Palma

More Northeastern awardees can be viewed here.

The Space Revolution featuring Rick Tumlinson of SpaceFund

We are at one of the most pivotal moments in history: The space revolution is here, and if we leave it to Rick Tumlinson, an entire industry in space will be here before we know it.
One of the world’s top space visionaries, Tumlinson will take students on a rocket ride through his journey as a trailblazer in the fascinating field of space.

Mental Health Seminar Series: Research Exchange and Conversations on Video Games

Please join us at 2:00pm Wednesday, April 27 for our next Mental Health Seminar: Research Exchange and Conversations on Video Games.

Over the course of the semester, this series aims to bring together researchers from a diverse array of fields to engage with important topics under the broad umbrella of mental health. Each seminar will feature two Northeastern faculty presenting their individual research, along with time for questions and discussion. We hope these conversations will inspire unique collaborative opportunities across the university.

Wednesday’s seminar will feature Leanne Chukoskie of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Media and Design; and Casper Harteveld of the College of Arts, Media and Design.