Supergrad Fellows 2016-17

Cindy Kumah imageCindy Kumah

RiSE Scholar: Summer 15

I received a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The time I spent at Rutgers during 2014 in the RiSE and GET-UP REU programs cemented my desire to pursue a career in research. I decided to begin this career by attending Rutgers to earn a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. During the RiSE program, I worked with Dr. Deirdre O'Carroll who was a wonderful mentor whose research interests aligned with mine. I learned many skills needed to be a successful graduate student and researcher. I am looking forward to using these skills and further improving myself as a student, researcher, and well-rounded person here at Rutgers.

Joshua Leipheimer imageJoshua Leipheimer

RiSE Scholar: Summer 15

Born and raised north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I lived most my life with my two parents and three brothers in a rural, not so quiet, lifestyle. I attended Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and graduated with a undergraduate degree in Biomedical and Mechanical engineering with a minor in Mechatronics in 2016 (ugh, that was a mouthful). An active member on campus, I founded the Mechatronics Engineering Club and was former president of the Biomedical Engineering Society chapter at RMU. During the summer of 2015, I had the pleasure of participating in the Rutgers RiSE program under the supervision of recent doctoral graduate, Meng-Chen Lo, and current P.I., Dr. Jeff Zahn. Our research entailed the characterization of a flexible, fast degrading polymer coated neural microprobe to be used for neural signal acquisition in the rat*s frontal mortar cortex. Currently, I am excited and honored to be attending Rutgers University to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering. I intend to continue an academic career in neuroengineering and am very excited to see where the future will take me next.

Marcos J. Ayala Rivera imageMarcos J. Ayala Rivera

RiSE Scholar: Summer 15

I am from Puerto Rico, a small, but diverse Caribbean island and home to a wealth of culture and biodiversity. I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras Campus in May 2016 with a B.S in Cellular and Molecular Biology. As an undergrad, I had the incredible opportunity of being part of the RiSE summer research program. Through this experience, I received invaluable training working with Rutgers faculty which I could not have obtained in Puerto Rico. This particular opportunity ignited my desire to pursue a career in the Biomedical Sciences. The quality of research and faculty members at Rutgers excited me to join the Molecular Biosciences graduate program , through which I will pursue a PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology. I feel safe in the hands of my program and I know that my mentors and professors are going to guide me to become an extraordinary professional. During my free time, I enjoy traveling, photography, flying my drone and going to New York City.

Maya Amouzegar imageMaya Amouzegar

RiSE Scholar: Summer 15

I graduated in May 2016 from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor degree in physics and a bachelor degree in Astronomy. As an undergraduate student, I got involved in research in the high energy physics group at Maryland. I then spent the summer of 2015 working as an REU student in the Rutgers experimental high energy physics group. Rutgers’ fantastic reputation in the sciences, the great experience I had as an REU student, and the friendliness of the department encouraged me to choose Rutgers for my graduate studies. So far I have been enjoying my classes and doing research. In my spare time, I take advantage of the facilities in the school of music to practice my cello. After I finish my PhD, I would like to stay in academia and continue doing research in particle physics. I am confident that my graduate education at Rutgers will prepare me for that future.

Shacquille Brown imageShacquille Brown

RiSE Scholar: Summer 15

As an undergraduate at a small four-year school, Bloomfield College, I was aware of ‘bigger’ schools and their reputations. Rutgers, for me, was one of these. During the RiSE at Rutgers summer program, I had a great experience with my mentor and other faculty, staff and graduate students. This full experience of people and the environment at Rutgers, coupled with exciting research exposure, made for a more informed and comfortable decision about pursuing graduate school. Now as a first year graduate student it is hard—classes, homework, lab work and readings. Fortunately, the support from the department and fellow students is awesome, and there isn’t any feeling of being overwhelmed—well, generally. I’m working hard, learning and figuring out things all at once (love it!), all to become a very good scientist and hopefully an even better educator.


Meet the 2017-18 Fellows

Meet the 2015-16 Fellows


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SUPERGrad at Rutgers
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