In honor of Black History Month, the College of Science would like to feature Black students, faculty, and alumni studying and working in STEM, both within and outside of Northeastern.
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Core Faculty Member in Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire. She writes monthly columns for the New Scientist and is a contributing columnist for Physics World. She is a topical convenor for Dark Matter: Cosmic Probes in the Snowmass 2021 process and a lead axion wrangler for the NASA STROBE-X Probe Concept Study. Drawing from both physics and astronomy, she responds to deep questions about why everything in the universe is the way it is. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein received the 2017 LGBT+ Physicists Acknowledgement of Excellence Award “for years of dedicated effort in changing physics culture to be more inclusive and understanding toward all marginalized peoples.” In June, Dr. Prescod-Weinstein worked with Black physicist Brian Nord to organize the Strike for Black Lives. Her upcoming book The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, draws from her personal experience and knowledge as a Black woman theoretical physicist.
Dr. Montgomery is currently a Michigan State University Foundation Professor and in the last three months alone, her achievements and accolades include being awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2020, being nominated as a 2020 Science Defender by the Union of Concerned Scientists, and being recognized as a 2021 Inspiration Award recipient by Michigan State University. Dr. Montgomery was also identified as one of the 100 most inspiring Black scientists in America on Cell Press’ blog Cross Talk. Dr. Montgomery was one of the organizers of #BlackBotanistsWeek and gave a powerful keynote address for #BlackInMicro week, which launched one of her new projects, Lessons from Microbes. Dr. Montgomery’s research and writing prompt self-reflection, outline thoughtful and informed approaches to science, mentoring, and leadership, and inspire a renewed commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice by identifying key hurdles and next steps in academia.
Dr. Beronda Montgomery’s first book, Lessons from Plants, (coming April 2021) encapsulates her substantial impact on multiple fields, including biochemistry, microbiology, molecular genetics, and science communication, and her innovative approach to mentoring and leadership. Dr. Montgomery has applied her extensive research on how environmental conditions influence the performance of photosynthetic organisms to create numerous insightful publications and presentations on mentoring and leadership, advocating for a shift from gatekeeping to groundskeeping in academic leadership to address persistent inequities and systemic biases in academia, and the use of growth-focused, multi-mentor models to foster the success of all individuals across environments.
Dr. Mary B Walkins
Dr. Mary B. Walkins is originally from Trinidad West Indies. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Christian Education from Lee University and her Master of Science and Ph.D. in Mathematics from Northeastern University. Excluding the mathematics teaching she did while earning her degrees, she has taught mathematics in the High School, Community College and University for a span of at least 27 years. Most recently she has been the Dundalk Mathematics Coordinator and currently teaches primarily developmental mathematics at the Community College of Baltimore County. Her calling and career have met and she is thrilled to teach students who most times feel that they do not know mathematics and bring them up to a level of proficiency, where they can proceed to and succeed in college mathematics. In addition to teaching mathematics, Dr. Walkins sings a cappella. Her top five strengths are: Consistency, Harmony, Achiever, Intellection, and Responsibility. Her motto in life is: “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.”
Dr. Leo Whitworth
Dr. Leo Whitworth, LA’71, MBA’94, is a native of Jamaica and two-time Northeastern graduate. Leo graduated with a BA in Biology, Liberal Arts in 1971 and, during his time at NU as an undergraduate, was on the men’s track & field team. He would then earn his DDS from Howard University in 1976 and, later in 1994, earn an Executive MBA at NU. He is a Corporator Emeritus of NU and founder, president, and CEO of Whitworth Dental Association. Since 2008, he has also been a clinical assistant professor of operative dentistry at Tufts University School of Dentistry.
Leo has been recognized with the Medallion Award (1999) and is the recipient of the Community Award from Action for Boston Community Development (1997), the Martin Luther King Award from the Caribbean American Foundation of Boston (1995) and has received citations from the Governor of Massachusetts, the Boston Mayor’s Office, the Boston City Council, the MA State Senate, and the House of Representatives.
Northeastern University runs deep in Leo’s family – several relatives are NU graduates including his wife, daughter, brother, and brother-in-law.
Nathalie Myrthil is a second-year Ph.D. student from Boston MA. Based on her various outreach opportunities and academic merit, she was awarded the prestigious Bill-Gates Millennium Scholarship which allowed her to attend and receive her Bachelor’s in chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross and a graduate education. The foundation provided her with the necessary resources to build leadership skills, mentorships, and opportunities to attend conferences that explore areas in STEM. She then worked at AstraZeneca while studying for her Masters of Science in Chemistry at Northeastern University. Now she is a second-year doctoral student at Northeastern University in the Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CC&B). Outside of the lab, she holds E-board positions on both the Graduate Student of Color Collective (GSCC), Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE) Chapter as the community outreach coordinator and is currently the CC&B graduate student representative for the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice Committee.
Crystal McKinnon is a Principal Associate Scientist at Valo Health, which is a company that has integrated AI into the drug discovery process. She also teaches two graduate level courses at Northeastern University this semester, where she graduated with my Master’s degree in Biotechnology (with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Technologies) in 2020. Prior to her MS, Crystal graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fitchburg State University. She has 10 years of industry experience in compound management, biochemical assay design and optimization, and working with high throughput instrumentation and automation. She currently works with 4 fully integrated robots, which are all named after detectives; her favorite one is Sherlock! They help in her day-to-day research into current disease areas, such oncology, neurology, and cardiovascular diseases.
Efosa Enoma is a Nigerian-American born and raised in Long Island, New York. She is a senior at Northeastern University studying Cell and Molecular Biology on the premed track. She is currently the President of the College of Science Student Diversity Advisory Council and serves as the undergraduate representative for Northeastern University College of Science Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Justice Committee. She is also a part of Black Voices Matter Northeastern, a group of Black student organization presidents working together to create lasting, institutional change to better the Black student experience. Efosa is passionate about research and medicine—especially about triple negative breast cancer disparities. In the past 4 years she has worked in 3 labs and presented her research at 4 national conferences. She was given a travel award to present at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minorities and a $3,000 grant from Northeastern University Undergraduate Research and Fellowship Office. Efosa has been the host of two Futures Panels—an event held by her student organization for different science professionals to speak about their career paths to teach its members about the different ways they can use their science degree. In addition to hosting panels, Efosa has been invited to speak on numerous student panels dedicated to motivating incoming students to participate in research.
Camille A. Martin PhD
Co-Founder and CEO of Seaspire Skincare, Martin is a multi-faceted entrepreneur with experience transferring technology developed at the academic research scale through the pipeline towards commercialization. Her research journey began as an enthusiastic college freshman fascinated with cosmetic chemistry and fueled by her desire to blend the worlds of beauty and science. Martin pursued a doctoral degree in Analytical Chemistry and Biomaterials Science at Northeastern University where her work was focused on studying structural and adaptive color in nature as a source of inspiration for designing bio-inspired materials that can be applied for the next-generation of skincare products. In September 2017, Martin participated in National Science Foundation Innovation – Corps program where she worked on evaluating the commercialization potential of the technologies developed in the Biomaterials Design Group led by Professor Leila Deravi which resulted in the creation of Seaspire! Seaspire is a technology-backed skincare company that develops state-of-the art products using ingredients inspired by nature to make the world healthier, safer, and more sustainable. This early-stage company has received funding from The Engine and additional support from the Johnson & Johnson JLabs Incubator and Massachusetts Life Science Center. Together, with their team of scientists and clinicians, and inspired by the vast biodiversity of the ocean, Seaspire is working to improve the user experience of daily use skincare products by re-designing traditional formulations to include bio-based ingredients in convenient delivery systems that are safe for all people and the environment. The core technology of the company is based on a class of biological pigments Xanthochrome® , an organic ingredient that performs as a UV-filter, SPF-booster, UV filter-stabilizer, and antioxidant with activity that rivals gold standards (vitamin C and E) but with increased stability. Pipeline applications include novel sun protection, consumer therapeutic skincare, and cosmetic products.