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14th Academic Honors Convocation recognizes Northeastern students and faculty for their scholarship, research, leadership and innovation

“This event only started 14 years ago, but I can assure you that it will continue for another 125 years,” Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun said.

Students and faculty standing on stage at Blackman auditorium.
The 14th annual Academic Honors Convocation recognizes Northeastern students and faculty for their scholarship, research, leadership and innovation. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Northeastern University celebrated the highest achievements of students and faculty across its 13 global campuses at its 14th annual Academic Honors Convocation on Thursday.

The event, held at Blackman Auditorium in Ell Hall in Boston, recognized members of the Northeastern community for their scholarship, research, leadership and innovation.

“We are celebrating the 125th year of this university — 125 years of excellence,” said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun. “This event only started 14 years ago, but I can assure you that it will continue for another 125 years.”

Aoun said the event has grown so much since its inception that it would take a book — a very large one — to publish all the honorees.

“It’s really a testament to what you have been doing in terms of excellence,” he said.

The winners were joined by family and friends as awards were announced for undergraduate students, graduate students and faculty.

“Over the past year, you, our honorees, have achieved new heights in scholarship, research teaching and innovation,” said David Madigan, the university’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “You’ve exemplified the core values of Northeastern — collaborating across disciplines, infusing experience of entrepreneurial thinking into everything you do, and solving problems that have a transformative global impact.” 

The honorees included 11 Fulbright Scholarship recipients, a record for Northeastern.

Fulbrights are awarded to students to research, study or teach English abroad in order to foster diplomacy and mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries.

The recipients were: Maxwell Pirtle (computer science), Grayson Peel (cultural anthropology), Thomas Murtha (political science and business administration), Natalie McGowan (behavioral neuroscience), Matthew Hiller (bioengineering), Andrea Gieseman (history), Fenner Dreyfuss-Wells (politics, philosophy and economics), Field Benjamin (bioengineering), Victoria Dey (history), Ezra Acevedo (international affairs) and Emin Abrahamian (bioengineering).

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate science scholarship in the country, went to Luke Bagdonas (chemistry) and Kaitlyn Ramesh (bioengineering). They were introduced by Kritika Singh, a Northeastern graduate, Rhodes Scholar and previous Goldwater Scholarship recipient.

The Marshall Scholarship gives full funding to students from the U.S. to pursue their graduate studies in the United Kingdom. This year’s recipient was Amarachukwu Ifeji, a political science major.

Four students, including Ifeji, received Harold D. Hodgkinson Awards, which go to Northeastern seniors who are selected by a faculty committee on the basis of scholastic and experiential achievement. The other recipients were Marta Hill (journalism), Zachary Hoglund (bioengineering and biochemistry) and Katherine O’Brien (health science)

The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to students for a year of graduate studies at the University of Cambridge. This year’s recipient was Ethan Wong, a biology major.

The Critical Language Scholarship, supported by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, enables the pursuit of intensive overseas summer study in critically needed foreign languages. It went to Lily Hyun, who is studying international affairs and economics.

Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships enable U.S. citizens to pursue academic studies abroad, preparing them to assume significant roles in the global economy. They were awarded to Mandy Cooper, an international affairs and international business major, and Saraïna Ulysse, a public health major.

The Sears B. Condit Award, a scholarship for outstanding academic achievement endowed by a former member of the university’s corporation, went to Devin Brown (mathematics), Neeti Desai (computer science and behavioral neuroscience), Lila Hempel-Edgers (criminal justice and journalism), Lateefat Lawal (pharmacy), Dominic Pizzarella (chemical engineering and biochemistry), Bianca Popa (business administration) and Alexis Weldner (political science and business administration).

An unprecedented 24 Northeastern-affiliated students — a mix of undergraduate and graduate students — earned National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

The program recognizes and supports outstanding students who are or will be pursuing research-based master’s or doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

The recipients were Ajoa Addae (biology, English), Hannah Boyce (chemical engineering, Nathan Carmichael (mechanical engineering), Bianca Corjuc (behavioral neuroscience), Mitch Dobbs (psychology), Julie Dobkin (cell and molecular biology), Shalom Fadullon (chemical engineering), Meghan Ford (marine and environmental sciences), Eden Gordon (bioengineering), Jonathan Gray (mechanical engineering), Merrily LeBlanc (sociology), Kathryn Lee (mechanical engineering), Gillian McClennen (biochemistry), Forrest Miller (mathematics), Fatemah Mukadum (chemistry), Jason Olszewski (bioengineering), Ashka Patel (bioengineering), Diego Rivera (computer science), Paul Savoca (psychology), Gates Schneider (behavioral neuroscience), Sabra Sisler (computer science and behavioral neuroscience), Josephine Slaathaug (marine biology), Neel Sortur (computer science) and Stanley Wu (computer science).

Graduate student awards

Graduate students were also recognized during the ceremony in five categories:

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards in Experiential Learning went to Jules Rochielle Sievert (interdisciplinary design and media) for showing an extraordinary capacity to integrate academics and professional work and establish herself as an emerging leader in her field.

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards in Humanics recognized two students who have integrated human literacies with data and technology in their learning or research. They went to Nick Kathios (psychology) and Ryan Murther (computer science).

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards in Leadership went to five student leaders who demonstrated a deep commitment to giving back to members of Northeastern’s community and surrounding neighborhoods: Milena Braga (counseling psychology), Anishma Metray (project management), Shweta Mishra (information systems), Jonathan Page (education) and Lauren Schlegel (history).

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards in Research went to the following students who have shown an impressive ability to conduct high-level research and make contributions to the scholarly literature in their field: Abigail Ballou (criminology and justice policy), Duschia Bodet (electrical engineering) and Ben Cashen (physics).

Outstanding Graduate Student Awards in Teaching went to five students who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to communicate inspiring ideas and concepts in the classroom: Kelsie Lopez (psychology), Vineel Kondiboyina (bioengineering), Rahul Kapadiya (chemical engineering), Diptendu Kar (cybersecurity) and Brandon Lyman (art and design).

Faculty awards

Kenneth Church, professor of the practice in the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and senior principal research scientist in The Institute for Experiential AI, was honored for his election as a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Lili Su, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, which “supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”

Meni Wanunu, a professor of physics, chemistry and chemical biology, was honored as the Innovator of the Year by the Northeastern chapter of the National Academy of Inventors.

Valeria Ramdin, director of Global Health Nursing at Bouvé College of Health Sciences, received the Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the New England Regional Black Nurses Association.

Named to AIMBE’s College of Fellows Class were Mansoor Amiji, university distinguished professor of pharmaceutical sciences and chemical engineering; Eno E. Ebong, associate professor and associate chair for graduate studies in chemical engineering; and Yun Raymond Fu an interdisciplinary professor with the College of Engineering and the Khoury College of Computer Sciences. Fu also received the Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award.

The Northeastern Global Educator Award celebrates teaching that is engaging, supportive, inclusive, interculturally competent while contributing to students’ global mindset and making a positive impact on host communities. The winner was Denis Sullivan, a distinguished professor of political science and international affairs and faculty fellow for the Center for Emerging Markets.

The Northeastern Global Network Accelerator Award recognized two faculty members whose interdisciplinary research and teaching succeeds in activating the global university system to connect diverse communities while solving great challenges. The honorees were Matteo Rinaldi, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director for the Institute for NanoSystems Innovation, and David Horsley, also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and deputy director of the Institute for NanoSystems Innovation.

The Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award was presented to two professors for their outstanding work of national and international significance: Arun Bansil, university distinguished professor of physics in the Center for Renewable Energy Technology, and Ang Li, an assistant professor in the Center for Design.

The University Excellence in Teaching Award went to two professors based on their depth of knowledge, their ability to link course content with research and experiential learning, and the rigor of the coursework. The winners were Joshua Hertz, a teaching professor in the first-year engineering program, and Qianqian Zhang-Wu, an assistant professor in the Department of English and Global Asian Studies Program.

The Klein University Lecturer Award honored Ronald Sandler, professor of philosophy and religion, and director of Northeastern’s Ethics Institute.

Northeastern faculty were also honored for additional fellowships, appointments and awards in fields ranging from computer science to the arts.

Cesareo Contreras is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on X/Twitter @cesareo_r and Threads @cesareor.

Northeastern Global News executive editor David Nordman and reporter Ian Thomsen contributed to this story.