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Bouchet Graduate Honor Society Scholars

Karis Boyd-Sinkler is a doctoral candidate in engineering education. Her dissertation research is focused on the interpersonal relationships of Black men in undergraduate engineering programs. She has been recognized as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recipient, a Virginia Tech New Horizons Graduate Scholar, and a Virginia Tech Diversity Scholar. She earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering science with a concentration in nanomedicine engineering from the University of Virginia, where she was a recipient of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium scholarship. She earned a master’s degree in industrial and systems engineering from Virginia Tech. After graduation, she will begin her role as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

Renata C. Vieira Carneiro is a Ph.D. candidate in food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her research focuses on sensory evaluation and consumer studies to support the development of new edamame varieties for domestic production. She is a graduate student representative for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Department of Food Science and Technology and is affiliated with the Water INTERface Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program. She has been recognized as a Global Perspectives Program scholar, a Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation graduate student fellow, and a Food Studies Program student associate. She has been an active student leader and currently serves as president of the Latin American and Iberian Graduate Students Association and the Virginia Tech chapter of Phi Tau Sigma, the Honor Society of Food Science and Technology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in food engineering from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil, and her master’s degree in project management from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She earned a master’s degree at Virginia Tech, where she was a scholar of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. Ultimately, Renata plans to continue to work on consumer-driven food product development and innovation.

Mahtot Gebresselassie is a Ph.D. candidate in planning, governance, and globalization in the School of Public and International Affairs at the university’s Arlington campus. Her research focuses on wheelchair accessibility of transportation service hailed through Uber and Lyft in the United States. She has been recognized as a Virginia Tech Diversity Scholar for her work that assessed Virginia Tech’s greater Washington, D.C., metro area campuses for accessibility to persons with a disability. She is also a fellow with the Virginia Tech Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence. She has received several awards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th Anniversary Scholarship by the American Public Transportation Foundation. Her service activities include outreach work to encourage diversity in the planning profession in her role as the American Planning Association Ambassador for Virginia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and planning from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and her master’s degree from University of Waterloo, Canada.

Katelyn A. Greene is a biomedical engineering Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. As an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral fellow, she develops engineering tools that use medical images to measure bone strength and assess fracture risk among obese older adults undergoing intentional weight loss. She has served as a graduate research mentor for more than 20 undergraduate and high school students, several of whom have presented their projects at conferences and pursued graduate degrees. Beyond research, she is extensively involved with scientific communication and public engagement, with the goal of increasing science literacy in underserved school districts. As a Morehead Planetarium and Science Center IMPACTS ambassador and leader in her community, she has facilitated dozens of STEM outreach events with K-12 schools, robotics competitions, and national organizations. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. She is fully committed to using her scholarship, compassionate leadership, and enthusiasm for outreach to create space for diverse voices in STEM.

Jeannie M. Purchase is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental and water resources engineering. Her research investigates the efficacy of lead-certified pitcher and faucet filters, which are often distributed during lead-in-water crises. She tests the effectiveness of these filters in removing contaminants under extreme corrosion conditions and her work helps examine the barriers to filter adoption in at-risk communities. She has been recognized as a Charles Via Ph.D. Fellow, New Horizon Graduate Scholar, and a Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program Graduate Scholar. She has worked with a dozen undergraduate researchers and was awarded the Virginia Tech Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year in spring 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Clemson University in biosystems engineering and her master’s degree in construction engineering and management from Virginia Tech. She switched her engineering focus in pursuit of finding ways to better serve communities by designing solutions to relevant everyday problems. As a member of the U.S. Water Study Team, she has been an advocate and partner with citizens from Denmark, South Carolina, in their fight for safe water. Ultimately, she aspires to work at the intersection of infrastructure, water quality, community engagement, and inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The students listed below are members of the 2020 class of Bouchet Graduate Honor Society scholars.

Jeanette Danielle Barber is a Ph.D. candidate in agricultural, leadership, and community education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her research explores the intersection of basic psychological needs and motivation with the goal of understanding what motivating factors help to improve feelings of inclusivity for underrepresented minorities in professional agricultural careers. Barber, a George Washington Carver Scholar, co-authored Relationships between Eco-leadership and Problem-Solving Styles of Gifted and Talented Youth, published in the Journal of Leadership Education. She has been an avid volunteer with the Looking Forward with STEM program, a tutoring and mentor initiative that exposes underrepresented minority students in grades 6-8 to STEM careers. Barber aspires to work with senior leaders within agricultural organizations develop policies that may lead to satisfying work environments, greater productivity, and retention among minorities within the agricultural profession. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.

Devon Lee recently completed his Ph.D. in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Lee studies the nuances of Pan-Africanism through the lens of critical race theory. Through his research, he has worked with independent political parties and Rastafarian organizations and has built transnational relationships with scholars and activists who attempt to advance the standard of human rights. He currently is a director for diversity and inclusion at Touro University, California. Lee plans to continue to promote social justice alongside institutions, activists, and communities. His teaching and leadership recognizes activism as professional development. He earned bachelor’s degrees at the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas.

Anurag Mantha is a Ph.D. student in civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering in the College of Engineering. For his research, he is investigating the decision-making and system design parameters influencing the growth of opportunistic pathogens in residential water heating systems. He is an Ut Prosim Scholar, has participated in the Global Perspectives Program, and has received the Graduate Student Service Excellence Award. He serves as the chair of the Graduate Honor System, represents graduate student concerns at various levels of university governance, and currently receives funding from the Graduate School to work with the Graduate Student Assembly and the Contemporary Pedagogy course. Recently, he has been an advocate for improving food security and co-founded Food Access for Students, a nonprofit providing food access resources for all Virginia Tech students. Ultimately, he plans on a career in academia as an educator and administrator working to improve student wellbeing and success. He earned his bachelor's degree from GITAM University, India.

Elizabeth M. Spingola is a Ph.D. candidate in engineering education in the College of Engineering. Her dissertation focuses on understanding and designing accessible online learning spaces for disabled engineering. She is an accessibility and inclusion advocate on campus and serves as the Disability Caucus co-chair and the Disability Alliance president. She is the treasurer of Iota Delta Rho, an interdisciplinary research honor society, the recipient of the Sally Bohland Award for Exceptional Leadership and Innovative Service in Access and Inclusion, a member of the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence, and a representative on the Commission for Equal Opportunity and Diversity. She has accepted a position with IBM working as a data solutions consultant in the federal sector. She earned her master’s degree at Virginia Tech.

The 2019 members of the Bouchet Honor Society were inducted in April at Yale University. The class includes:

Mayra S. Artiles is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education. 

Erika L. Bass is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in English Education. 

Racheida S. Lewis is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Engineering Education. 

Ashley R. Taylor is a candidate for the Ph.D. in engineering education and she serves as director of Pathways for Future Engineers, a program in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity designed to support first generation students and their families on the pathway from high school to an engineering degree. 

Ayesha L. Yousafzai is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Higher Education. Her research focuses on identity performance experiences of Muslim international women. 

The members of the 2018 Bouchet Honor Society will be inducted in April at Yale University. The class includes:

Dannette Gomez Beane received her Ph.D. in counselor education at Virginia Tech. 

TeAirra Brown is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a concentration in Human Factors of Systems and Product Design at Virginia Tech. 

Adwoa Baah-Dwomoh is a Ph.D. candidate in the in materials science and engineering program with a concentration in materials for medical applications and biomechanics. 

Darren Maczka is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech and has received a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies from Virginia Tech. 

Mary Ryan, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) program, with concentrations in Social and Ethical Thought, at Virginia Tech. 

Chantel Simpson is a Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education at Virginia Tech. 

Michelle Soledad is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on understanding the teaching and learning experience in large foundational engineering courses. 

Martina Svyantek, of Auburn, Alabama, is a Ph.D. candidate in a self-designed and highly-individualized interdisciplinary program exploring how disability identity is situated within higher education. 

Shelby Ward is a Ph.D. candidate in the ASPECT program , where she teaches for the Political Science Department. 

The members of the 2017 Bouchet Honor Society class were inducted in April at Yale University. The class includes:

Sreyoshi Bhaduri, of Pune, Maharashtra, India, a Ph.D. candidate in engineering education

Adrien DeLoach, of Blacksburg, a Ph.D. student in higher education administration through the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.

Amanda Halliburton, of Yorktown, Virginia, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology, with a concentration in clinical science. 

Jordan Laney, of McDowell County, North Carolina, a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) program, with concentrations in social and cultural thought. 

Erin S. Lavender-Stott, of Blacksburg, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Development with a family studies concentration. 

Shekila Melchior, of Dale City, Virginia, recently earned her Ph.D. in counselor education

Saul N’Jie, of Churchill’s Town, The Gambia, a Ph.D. student in planning, governance, and globalization program in the School of Public and International Affairs

Jennifer Turner, of Goochland, Virginia, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology with a concentration in women’s and gender studies. 

Atiyeh Vahidmanesh, of Tehran, Iran, earned her Ph.D. in economics in February. 

The members of the 2016 Bouchet Honor Society class were inducted in April at Yale University. The class includes: 

Michele Deramo, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Science’s Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) program.

Anna Erwin, of Wilmington, North Carolina, a doctoral candidate in the School of Public and International Affairs’ Planning, Governance and Globalization program.

Homero Murzi, of San Cristobal, Venezuala, who earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Education in the College of Engineering.

Jamie Sanchez, of Farmington, New Mexico, a Ph.D. candidate in the ASPECT program.

The inaugural class of the Bouchet Honor Society chapter members was inducted in April at Yale University. The class included: 

Christian Matheis, from San Antonio, Texas, who earned his doctoral degree from Virginia Tech in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought program.

Ashley Robinson, from Chesapeake, Virginia, a doctoral candidate in candidate in Computer Science and Applications.

Elizabeth “Eli” Jamison, from Roanoke, Virginia, a doctoral candidate in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought program with concentrations in social and political thought.

Kelly Cross, from Blacksburg, Virginia, a doctoral candidate in engineering education.

Nikhil Jain, from New Delhi, India, a doctoral candidate with the Bradley Department of Electrical Engineering.

Nicole J. Johnson, from Searcy, Arkansas, a is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education with certificates in Education Research and Evaluation and Preparing Future Faculty.

Monica Motley, from Danville, Virginia, a candidate for a master's degree in public health and a is a doctoral candidate in biological and veterinary sciences.