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Alumni

Toluwanimi Bello
Major: Chemical Engineering
Grand Challenge: Engineer Better Medicines
GCSP Cohort 1 (2016)
Graduating Class of 2017

Bello

Why did you decide to join UMBC GCSP?
Over time, I have come to realize that human lives are interconnected. What affects someone in Asia, somehow affects someone in the Americas. For me, this reality is a motivation to use my engineering skills to tackle problems all over the world as if they were my own (because they are). Since it is void of political pressures, monetary pursuit, or glory seeking, the GCSP is the perfect environment for me to apply myself in said ways.
Which of the Grand challenges interest you and why?
Like a lot of my colleagues in this program, I am interested in all of the Grand Challenges. However, advanced personalized learning, developing carbon sequestration methods, and preventing nuclear terror all appeal to me for several reasons. As a student, I have seen how difficult it can be for professors to level the playing field in the classroom. Pursuing personalized learning can help solve this problem.  Carbon sequestration interests me because it is a solution to the problem of global warming, which we are currently experiencing. Finally, being from Nigeria, where the terrorist organization known as Boko Haram operates, I have seen firsthand the horror that terrorist operations cause.  The fear of such organizations getting access to nuclear weapons makes me passionate about preventing nuclear terror.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). My studies will equip me to better tackle the Grand Challenges, and to train/motivate others to do so.

 


Amelia Hallworth
Major: Biological Sciences
Minor: Mathematics
Grand Challenges: Engineer Better Medicines and Advance Personalized Learning
Honors College Certificate
GCSP Cohort 1 (2016)
Graduating Class of 2017

Hallworth

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
​I am interested in several of the Grand Challenges, and wanted to learn more about them. I also really appreciate the interdisciplinary of the program, and want to use this opportunity to meet individuals from other fields who also value interdisciplinary study. I also value the service component of the program.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
I am most interested in the challenge of creating more personalized medicine. As a researcher, I am interested in how microorganisms interact with their host (us) to either cause or not cause disease. Small differences between individuals can be amplified in this system, so more personalized medicine would be helpful for both research and disease prevention. Additionally, I am very interested in the ethical issues surrounding the topic. For example, who should be allowed to know the information that is collected​? How should it be stored to prevent loss of data or hacks?​
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Microbiology at Yale University. I ​am interested in studying how the microbes that surround us interact with each other and with our cells. After receiving a doctoral degree, I ​ ​eventually hope to become a professor. I want to run a lab so that I can expand humanity’s knowledge, but also to teach​ younger scientists​ ​so that I can inspire the next generation of researchers.

 


Maniraj Jeyaraju
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies
Minor: Biological Sciences
Grand Challenge: Advance Personalized Learning
GCSP Cohort 1 (2016)
Graduating Class of 2017

Jeyaraju

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
As an Interdisciplinary Studies major, the Grand Challenge program is an excellent opportunity to engage in applied interdisciplinarity. It provides a scaffold to engage in meaningful project-based learning.
Which of the Grand Challenges interests you the most, and why?
I am interested in the “Advance Personalized Learning” Challenge. I have a vested interest in education and personalized learning is an integral piece of my Senior Capstone for Interdisciplinary Studies.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be pursuing an M.D. at the University of Maryland. I hope to become a surgeon, with additional research focus in the fields of health education, international health, and medical anthropology.

   


Nicholay Topin
Major: Computer Science
Honors Certificate
Grand Challenge: Reverse-Engineer the Brain
GCSP Cohort 1 (2016)
Graduating Class of 2017

Topin

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?

The Grand Challenge Scholars Program offers an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals and work on interesting problems. It also lets one get recognition for research and other extracurricular activities one is already doing. Together, these two factors make participation in GCSP very beneficial for me.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
The challenge of reverse engineering the brain interests me most. While I do not have a background in biology, this challenge is very relevant to my main area of interest, artificial intelligence. As increasingly sophisticated digital agents are made, inspiration is being taken from biological systems. By expanding humanity’s knowledge of the most sophisticated processing unit available to us, perhaps we can further improve what we create. A further challenge that interests me is improving virtual reality. Strengthening the link between digital creations and “meat-space” would allow more people to interact with intelligent computer systems in a familiar way.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon University. I hope to eventually be part of a larger research effort at some academic or corporate organization.