DSC 0933

PhD students recognized for efforts in diversity

“I believe the STEM population should be a proper representation of the population of the world around us. With increased diversity in all scientific fields comes an increase of new ideas and innovations,” said Daniel Donnelly, Northeastern PhD candidate in Chemistry and Chemical Biology and co-recipient of the 2018 Graduate Student Excellence Award in Diversity. Alongside PhD Candidate in Physics Zachariah Hennighausen, the pair earned this award after their hard work founding the Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE) has taken great strides in improving diversity in STEM fields at Northeastern.

Northeastern’s ADSE chapter was founded over the last year and follows the mission of the national organization: “to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in academia, industry, and government.” After learning about the organization from Professor Steven Lopez in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Donnelly and Hennighausen were inspired to bring a new chapter to Northeastern. Both described how well Northeastern’s commitment to diversity and inclusion align with the mission of ADSE. Under the mentorship of Lopez, Northeastern’s ADSE has been able to host its first events, hold monthly meetings, and spread its mission across campus. “We had some successful events including hosting North Carolina State Professor Elena Jakubikova and collaborating on Northeastern’s first annual Earth Day event hosting keynote speaker Professor JoAnne Stubbe,” said Donnelly. “It has been great to see so many students become passionate about the organization, and I think it has a bright future here at Northeastern.”

Daniel Donnelly, PhD student in Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

Both Donnelly and Hennighausen alike believe continuing to improve Northeastern’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion are essential. “Equality, fair opportunities, and proportionate distribution are critical for a healthy society, and we all have a responsibility to make that happen,” said Hennighausen. “Northeastern will not only directly benefit from a diverse community and culture, but is well positioned to take an active role in shaping the workforce of tomorrow in a variety fields. I believe the more diversity we have, the more robot proof we will be.”

For their effort in founding the Northeastern chapter of the ADSE, the pair is thrilled and honored to receive the Graduate Student Excellence Award in Diversity and have many plans to continue their important work. “It is a tremendous honor, and one that I will try very hard to live up to,” said Hennighausen. “I hope to use the award as a platform to expand the impact of ADSE, and give recognition to all the good work folks are doing.” Donnelly hopes to use the award to attend conferences to further his knowledge about his field while reaching out to collaborators for ADSE and bring new ideas back to the Northeastern chapter.

Zachariah Hennighausen, PhD student in Physics.

It is thanks to the incredible teamwork of these two PhD candidates that Northeastern can be home to one of the newest ADSE chapters. “I cannot state enough how much of an honor it has been to work with Dan…we were able to find an efficient working relationship where we split up tasks, share guidance, and help in a pinch,” Hennighausen said.

Donnelly echoed similar enthusiasm. “Zach is a great leader and organizer. He is incredibly passionate about the organization and, through his passion, is able to inspire the same passion in others,” he said. “His enthusiasm is contagious and ADSE and myself are lucky to have him on the team.”

The ADSE has plans to continue to grow this summer and fall and Donnelly and Hennighausen hope to find more passionate students to join the alliance. Future events include many speakers, a panel on promoting diversity in industry STEM positions, and more.

Congratulations again to Donnelly and Hennighausen on the Graduate Student Excellence in Diversity award.

Chemistry and Chemical Biology