Northeastern University celebrated the highest achievements of students, faculty, and staff at the sixth annual Academic Honors Convocation on Thursday afternoon in East Village.
The event honors a select few who channel their extraordinary talents into transformative research and scholarship, exceptional teaching and mentoring, and innovation in higher education—both on campus and around the globe.
“You are grabbing these opportunities and we are here as your support team,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun told the award winners. “You are the role models.” To the student winners, he said, “You are the future of this place,” and then he joked, “One day you will replace me, but don’t do it too soon.”
Undergraduate student honors
Fifteen undergraduates were honored for their academic accomplishments, including 10 scholars who received national awards.
Logan Jackson, E’16, earned the Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship in the world. As the first Northeastern student to receive this prestigious honor, she not only excels academically, but also reaches out to elevate and nurture those around her. As president of Northeastern’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, Jackson designed a squad mentoring system to ensure that fellow members would succeed inside and outside the classroom. And while on co-op’s at four prestigious engineering firms, she devised creative solutions to critical engineering problems.
“We are convinced that you will become a force in public policy, ensuring equity in education for all,” Philomena Mantella, senior vice president and CEO of the Northeastern University Global Network, told Jackson, who will begin her post-graduate study at Oxford University in October. “We believe you will create real and enduring change in our world.”
Three members of the Northeastern community—Nina Angeles, SSH’15, Kelsey Burnhans, SSH’16, and Esther Laaninen, SSH’16—earned Fulbright Fellowships, which provide grants for individually designed research projects or for English Teaching Assistant programs. As Mantella said, “These Northeastern students are accomplished, entrepreneurial, and highly engaged scholars. They have become true global citizens. They transform ideas into impact.”
Two students—Taylor Hausser, DMSB’19, and Sydney Mokel, SSH’19—earned Critical Language Scholarships, which offer fully funded overseas language and cultural-immersion programs for American students, while Erin Bourque, SSH’19, earned the Boren Scholarship, an initiative of the National Security Education Program that allows undergraduates to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Julia Ebert, S’15, earned the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, which provides outstanding opportunities to students pursuing doctoral degrees in fields that use high-performance computing to solve complex science and engineering problems. Tyler Hall, E’17, earned the Udall Scholarship, which honors sophomores and juniors for leadership, public service, and commitment to issues related to American Indian nations or the environment. Hope Ianiri, S’16, earned the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, which supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees. And Julieta Moradei, E’16, earned the Thornton Tomasetti Foundation National Scholarship, which funds undergraduate students planning to pursue graduate studies in building engineering, design, or technology.
Five students received university-wide awards. Two scholars—Océane Langreney, SSH’16, and Julie Hugunin, S’16—earned the designation of Presidential Global Fellow, an honor given on the basis of students’ academic standing, leadership qualities, and understanding of the importance of the global experience.
Another three scholars—Jackson, Maisam Alahmed, SSH’16, and Victoria McGrath, DMSB’16, whose life was cut short in a car accident in March—earned the Harold D. Hodgkinson Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating seniors.
After being injured in the Boston Marathon bombing, McGrath rehabbed with veterans whose support became instrumental to her own recovery. Inspired by their encouragement, she spent the last year and a half advocating for veterans in addition to raising funds for other bombing victims.
“She demonstrated grace, humility, and empathy in the face of tragedy,” Mantella said. “Victoria set a powerful example for our entire community, one we will never forget.”
Graduate student honors
Six graduate students were honored with Outstanding Graduate Student Awards. Two students—Anjuli Fahlberg, a doctoral candidate in sociology, and Wenjun Zhang, a doctoral candidate in interdisciplinary engineering—received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Research. Recipients of this award have shown their ability to conduct high-level research and make contributions to the scholarly literature in their field.
Another two students—Nathaniel Bade, a doctoral candidate in mathematics, and Ashley Reichelmann, a doctoral candidate is sociology—received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Teaching. Recipients of this award have demonstrated an exceptional ability to communicate ideas and concepts in the classroom.
Sarah Brown, a doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Community Service. Recipients of this award have modeled a deep commitment to giving back to members of the greater community.
Kathryn Robinson, a doctoral candidate in the School of Nursing, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Experiential Learning. Recipients of this award have shown an extraordinary capacity to integrate academics and professional work and establish themselves as emerging leaders in their field. Robinson earned this recognition based on her ongoing initiative to form iRise, Northeastern’s very first student-driven interprofessional organization.
Eight faculty members were honored. “The depth and breadth of their accomplishments are impressive and bring honor to Northeastern,” said James C. Bean, provost and senior vice president for external affairs. “We salute their unwavering commitment to excellence.”
Margaret Burnham, professor of law, was honored for receiving the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. The fellowship supports high-caliber scholarship in social sciences and humanities, making it possible for the recipients to devote time to research and writing that applies fresh perspectives to some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Burnham founded the School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice project, which investigates cold cases involving anti-civil rights violence in the United States—particularly the South—and other miscarriages of justice between 1930 and 1970. As part of the project, she is now leading an effort supported by the Carnegie fellowship to create an archive of historical records, legal documents, videos, audio recordings, photos, and other materials.
Three faculty members—Mansoor Amiji, Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Daniel McCarthy, the Alan S. McKim and Richard A. D’Amore Distinguished Professor of Global Management and Innovation, and Srinivas Sridhar, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Physics—were appointed to the rank of University Distinguished Professor. This is the highest honor Northeastern can bestow upon a faculty member.
Two other faculty members—Carlene Hempel, lecturer in the School of Journalism, and Mya Poe, assistant professor of English—received Excellence in Teaching awards. Students nominate their professors for this award, considering several criteria, including depth of knowledge in the subject and ability to provide effective links to course content, research, and experiential learning.
Jonathan Tilly, interim dean of the College of Science, received the Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award, which is presented to a full-time faculty member to honor outstanding research and creative activity of national and international significance. The president and the provost determine the award on the basis of a report submitted by a committee of five faculty members.
Iris Berent, professor of psychology, was honored for being selected to deliver 2016 Robert D. Klein Lecture. In her talk—titled “How do human brains give rise to language?”—Berent argued that human language is a product of a specialized biological system, that we are innately equipped with a language instinct.
Seven staff members were honored. Northeastern’s Russell J. Call Children’s Center team—comprising director and team leader Regina Nazzaro and assistant director Lee Ann Burdick as well as lead teachers Lisa Holden, Elizabeth Kadish, and James O’Brien—received the Outstanding Teamwork Award. The team creates a safe, inspirational, and educational environment for the university’s youngest community members. Parents praise how the synergy that exists among teachers is crucial to their children’s learning, and the center’s co-op students often identify their work there as their most rigorous co-op.
Two staff members—Charles Kilfoye, senior director for the experiential network, and Nancy May, vice president of facilities–received the Outstanding Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the student, staff, or faculty experience. Recipients are ambassadors of the university who demonstrate extraordinary service and represent institutional excellence.
Toward the end of the awards ceremony, Paula Caligiuri, Distinguished Professor of International Business and Strategy, issued a charge to the student honorees: “You are exceedingly well prepared to go out there and be fantastic global leaders,” she told them. “So go out and do big things in this world.”