Kailande Cassamajor is a biology and psychology double major, minoring in chemistry and Africana studies, from Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a poet, bibliophile and avid learner who seeks to pursue her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience or neuropsychology. She is interested in how environments, experiences and exposure impact neurological and neuropsychological aging and development across different populations. She also seeks to understand the factors contributing to ethnic and racial disparities in neurodegenerative diseases. Cassamajor chose Howard University due to the many opportunities to learn, collaborate, serve and travel with like-minded students and professors across different disciplines from a Pan-African approach. Through Howard's service learning organizations, she has traveled to Puerto Rico, South Africa and Ghana. She envisions herself running her own lab, passionately collaborating with scientists from all over the world and writing creatively for all ages. She is enjoying the journey.
Robert E. Coleman Jr. is a computer engineering student from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Robert’s career interest is to obtain a Ph.D. in computer engineering, conducting research in the field of solar energy. Since spring 2018, he has interned at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Additionally, Coleman is heavily involved on Howard University’s campus, holding an executive board position in a number of organizations and serving as an on-campus DJ.
Justin Drummond is a junior civil engineering major, pursuing a Ph.D. in earthquake engineering. Drummond ultimately desires to become a professor at Howard University to serve as a mentor and leader. Justin hopes to inspire other students to achieve their best, helping other minority students on their journey to a Ph.D., as well as other areas in life. Originally from Prince Georges County, Maryland, Justin decided to attend Howard University after inspiration from his parents, who both attended Howard’s School of Pharmacy. Outside of academia, Justin is a musician, playing the piano, guitar, bass guitar and drums. He also serves as president of Chosen: Christian Mentorship Organization at Howard University.
STEM Scholar, Class of 2021
Marc Gorum II is a chemistry major, with a mathematics and biology double minor, from Dover, Delaware. His career interest is to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences and to become a university professor and researcher. He has conducted two summer internships: one with the Naval Research Laboratory and the other with Solenis, both with the aim to further the development and efficiency of the polymer chemistry industry. He chose to attend Howard because he spent several years at predominately white schools and wanted to finally enjoy a learning environment with people who looked like him and shared similar experiences. Marc chose a career in the STEM field because of the potential to positively affect the lives of the Black community through chemical and biomedical means. He is an inaugural member of the Karsh STEM Scholars Program, a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., a member of the 1867 Undergraduate Program, and vice president of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Patricia Mensah is a chemical engineering student from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her career goals are to earn an MD/Ph.D. in bioengineering and become a physician-scientist. Mensah chose Howard because of its long legacy of excellence. She also appreciates that through the Karsh STEM Scholars Program the University has shown its dedication to her success. She opted for a career in STEM not only because of her love for math and science, but also because she wants to see more African Americans studying and researching the problems that affect the community. For the past two summers, Mensah has participated in summer research programs at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. Through these experiences she’s discovered that she enjoys learning about biocompatible materials and how parts of the body have behaviors that can be described by physics and engineering. Eventually, she would like to conduct research to improve health care for all people. Her goal is to extend and enhance the quality of life for those battling illness by developing technology and methods to improve disease diagnosis and treatment.
Ameen Muhammad is a mechanical engineering student from Philadelphia. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in nanoengineering and research nanotechnology. Specifically, he’d like to research nanomaterials that can potentially be harmful to the environment. He wants to one day bring forth new technology that will improve today’s society. Muhammad chose Howard because it felt like home in more ways than he could imagine. He said that he fell in love with the idea of being around like-minded individuals who are all aiming for success. Muhammad hopes to conduct innovative research that will create a new paradigm of advanced technology.
Ashley Oaks is a mathematics and economics double major from Augusta, Georgia. Her passion is using mathematics to solve complex, real-world problems. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics. Oaks has completed research in combinatorics and presented at the Mathematical Association of America headquarters in Washington, D.C. She has also completed research on quasiperiodic function and presented at Howard University’s Research Week. Ashley was also a Mickey Leland Energy Fellow and completed research at the Department of Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in New Orleans. She was selected as a participant in the Citi Freshman Discovery Diversity Program. In her free time, Oaks enjoys acting as an amateur movie critic and playing with her cute dog named Grace.
Adjoa Osei-Ntansah is a biology major with a double minor in chemistry and community health from Laurel, Maryland. While at Howard University, she’s had the opportunity to mature as a student, but more importantly, she has gained a support network through the Karsh STEM Scholars Program. Osei-Ntansah’s primary career goal consists of bridging the gap between science and medicine by pursuing a career as a physician scientist specializing in pediatric pharmacokinetics. This goal encapsulates her desire to serve her community, heighten community leadership and demonstrate good citizenship. At the end of her academic journey, she will be able to accredit the values learned and the people who molded her to Howard University, her family and her faith.
Pilar O’Neal is a junior chemical engineering major, minoring in biology, chemistry and mathematics, from Atlanta, Georgia. O’Neal is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Karsh STEM Scholars Program. She chose Howard because she is extremely confident in its ability to prepare her for her future endeavors and for the academic and professional opportunities. Taking advantage of those opportunities, for the last two summers, she spent time in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Clinic, where she served as an intern. After graduating from Howard, O’Neal plans to pursue a MD-Ph.D. Upon completion of her education, she intends to use her knowledge of chemical engineering to help improve the lives of patients by creating better ways to fight diseases such as cancer. O’Neal also likes to volunteer and would like to spend some of her time as a medical doctor, doing pro bono work while running her lab. O’Neal is a member of Alpha Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
Sekou Rowe is a chemical engineering major with a double minor in mathematics and biology, from West Orange, New Jersey. Rowe’s career interest is to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and do research in the designing of models and machines for understanding and improving various biological systems. He enjoys Howard because of the strong community and welcoming atmosphere, as well as all the brilliant students that are here to learn and grow together as a community.
Paa Sey is a junior mechanical engineering major from Warrenton, Virginia. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and has varying research interests from aerospace systems and design to alternative energy. Sey choose to study engineering because of his natural curiosity and desire to innovate. Sey has interned at Polyone Corp. and the National Aeronautics Space Administration’s Jet Propulsion Lab. He chose engineering at Howard because of its competitive and motivating environment. On campus, Sey serves as the president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and treasurer of Howard University Water and Environmental Association.
Ajani Smith-Washington is a physics and economics major from Houston, Texas. His career interest is to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and leverage novel computational techniques to simulate many-body electron systems. Since arriving at Howard University, he has pursued his intellectual interests through research internships at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where he used data from the LADEE satellite's ultraviolet-visible light spectrometer to study the lunar exosphere, and Columbia University, where he worked on passive daytime radiative cooling paints for outdoor roof coatings. Smith-Washington has participated in community organizing projects with Organizing for America and Howard's Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center. He recently completed an internship with the Economic Analysis Group in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice.
Lauryn Summers is a pre-med biology student minoring in chemistry from Chicago, Illinois. Her career interest is to pursue an MD-Ph.D., then become a pediatric anesthesiologist. Summers chose to attend Howard University because of the inclusive environment and how much it reminded her of home. She feels like Howard is the best place to help her grow into the professional that she wants to be. With plans on giving back, once she is established she intends to help the University so that it can continue to flourish and develop future generations of STEM scholars. She’s chosen a career in STEM because she wants to enter the medical field. Summers plans to research how anesthesiology affects the bodies of children and to help make strides to lower the percentages of deaths related to anesthesia. She looks forward to working with children in her future career because she feels that they need to see a young African American in this field so that they can be encouraged to live up to their best potential as well.
Jurnee Tipton is a computer science major from Ypsilanti, Michigan. Tipton chose Howard for its legacy of black excellence, strong academics and its solid athletic program. She fell in love with Howard the minute she stepped foot on the campus. She plans to receive her Ph.D. in computational biology. Her father’s diagnosis and experiences with lupus nephritis is what piqued her desire to pursue this career path. Tipton hopes to become part of the advancement of human health and solving biomedical issues. Outside of academics, she is a member of Howard University’s varsity volleyball team, where she and her team won four consecutive North Atlantic Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference tournaments.
Kourtney Wallace is a graduating senior from Miami, majoring in chemistry and minoring in Afro-American studies. Upon graduation, she intends to research, educate, and improve underprivileged and disadvantaged communities across the African diaspora. Her time at Howard has afforded her a diverse array of experiences—from providing hurricane relief in Puerto Rico to conducting biomedical engineering research in Dubai to embarking on a study abroad/mission trip in Haiti that will commence this fall. Wallace’s favorite part of attending Howard, however, is being in Howard University’s S.H.O.W.T.I.M.E Marching Band. Because whether it’s in New York, Chicago or Las Vegas, it’s all showtime baby!