Category: S-POWER Blog Posts

Meet The Students: Shakti Katheria

Shakti Katheria is pursuing a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University, expecting to graduate in May of 2023He started his journey at MassBay Community College in 2017 taking part time courses while working full time and was introduced to the SPOWER scholarship in spring of 2018 by a former professor. After applying for, and receiving, the scholarship for Fall of 2018, he was also given the opportunity to attend an energy conference at Northeastern which helped give him a sense of what his future might hold in the energy field and the possibilities at the university. The following year, Katheria applied for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and got to work under Doctor Joshua Galloway and PhD candidate Matthew Kim who conduct research on lithium-ion batteries. His research revolved around replacing the material in lithium-ion batteries to observe battery behavour . Conducting that research, working on battery assembly, and learning Python was not only a great experience for him but also sparked his interest in what other options renewable energy has in terms of batteries. Katheria is currently on co-op with Raytheon Technologies where he works as an electrical test engineer and data scientist within missile defense. “When I come back, I would like to conduct research in solar or wind power because I believe energy is one of the great fields and renewable energies is a solution to climate change” says Katheria, and he is also considering earning a master’s degree in an energy related field.

Meet The Students: Lauryn Rodney

Lauryn Rodney is a 4th year Chemical Engineering student here at Northeastern who joined S-POWER her freshman year and is graduating in 2022. She is a member of the Society of Women (SWE), National Black Student Association (NBSA) and Northeastern University Caribbean Student Organization (NU CSO). A large hobby of Lauryns outside of school include dance, she is a member of No Limits Dance Crew at Northeastern University as well as BU MixX a dance group at Boston University. Upon entering university Lauryn knew she wanted to be a chemical engineer but was not sure in what realm she wanted to use her degree once graduating. Lauryn participated in her first co-op experience in the spring of 2018 at Ocular Therapeutics, a Biopharmaceutical company, as a technical operator where she worked with machines to build products and performed validations. This experience revealed to Lauryn that she wanted to go into research and development as a career. In the fall of 2019 she had the privilege of studying abroad in South Korea for the semester coming back with another co-op the following semester. Lauryn worked at A123 Systems, a lithium ion battery company, as a researcher in the spring of 2019 as her 2nd co-op experience. At A123 Systems she made battery cells then tested them, she also mixed different electrolyte solution to try with the various batteries. From this she determined that this is what she interest in doing. After graduating from Northeastern University Lauryn wants to work in research and development in the skincare and cosmetic field. A huge end goal of Lauryns is to own and create her own skin care brand!

Meet The Students: Syed Hoque

Syed Hoque started his academic career at UMass Amherst where he was a biology student, “From the beginning of freshman year in high school I always saw myself as a devoted premed mostly because I used to watch a lot of medical shows when I was growing up and it seemed really interesting and I thought I was capable” reflects Hoque. Upon entering his freshman year at UMass Amherst, his course load was mainly biology and prerequisites which he soon found himself not connecting with the material. This prompted him to reflect on how the next 8 to 12 years would seem uninteresting as well, so with this realization and the switch to Northeastern University he also switched his major to Chemical Engineering to continue studying the math that he enjoyed. Hoque took his first year at Northeastern to adjust the mindset he developed in life science to a more engineering way of thinking. Although he recognized the difference in these mindsets and found some difficulty in the adjustment,  after continuing taking classes he really found himself enjoying the curriculum and continuing on the path to engineering. Hoque is currently in his third year in his major but fourth year undergrad with most of his time outside of his academic studies as the President of the Islamic Society of Northeastern University and a member of the Chemical Engineering Society. Hoque had his first industry experience in chemical engineering during the summer of 2019 with Biogen in Cambridge, MA where he worked with scale up processes and process development. From there, Hoque did a Co-op rotation at DuPont Electronics and Imaging where he worked on the separation techniques for liquid solutions. Although that experience did end early due to the rise of COVID back in early 2020, he did learn a lot about project management and general lab skills from his time at DuPont. Hoque remarks that SPOWER has helped introduce him to the concept of energy, specifically renewable energy, as he always thought it was an interesting concept and admired people that dedicated their time to tackling these issues. “I think SPOWER is doing a great job in trying to gauge interest, get people together and provide resources and I think the professional staff at SPOWER is also really helpful professionally and also just personally. They’re really personable individuals and they’ve been there for me when I needed help as an engineer as well” , reflects Hoque.

Meet The Students: Tyree Thompson

Greetings! My name is Tyree Thompson, I previously transferred from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA through their Dual Degree Engineering Program and S- POWER scholarship program. I am studying to obtain my Bachelors of Science in Bioengineering with a concentration in Cell and Tissue Engineering and will be graduating in December of 2021.  The year before my senior of high school I was afforded the opportunity to attend the National Student Leadership Conference’s Biotechnology program at American University in Washington D.C. for a week and half. By the end of this program I learned that there were aspects of Biotechnology that I thoroughly enjoyed but was not interested in the technological aspect of it. This began my search for a potential college major, after looking around I found Bioengineering, a combination of biology, chemistry, physics, math and engineering related topics. At the start of my higher education journey at Clark Atlanta University I was a member of the Honor Society, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter, as well as Counseling Humans In Life Lessons (CHILL) a club focused on mental health advocacy and education via student to peer intervention. In addition to my on campus involvement for a year I was a science and math tutor by way of HBCU Rising Atlanta where I tutored and mentored 3 classrooms of middle school students during the school week. Upon transferring I joined the Black Engineering Student Society (BESS), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Northeastern University Real Estate Club (NURE) here at Northeastern University.  Additionally I work closely and volunteer with the Center for Stem Education- Northeastern University a program that seeks to build, maintain and support a community of educators, researchers and students with the goal of strengthening the K-12 STEM educational focus. I LOVE working with students in STEM related topics because it was the mentoring experiences and programs I participated in that solidified my love for biology and nurtured my curiosity. I truly believe children are the future of the world so as adults we should do what we can with our existing knowledge and resources to cultivate their interest and passions.

Meet The Students: Kyle Higginbottom

Kyle Higginbottom is a Master of Industrial Engineering candidate here at Northeastern University. Higginbottom comes from a small town outside of Worcester, MA called Millbury and earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern in 2017. During his undergraduate career he participated in three different Co-op rotations, the first one with a small biomedical device company based out of Danvers called Abiomed. His second Co-op rotation was with Raytheon in Andover, Massachusetts and spent his final Co-op with Abiomed for a second time. “They were all great experiences with a lot of very hands on engineering work, particularly at the biomed company (Abiomed)… which was a lot of heavy mechanical engineering hands on experience”, he states.

Currently, Higginbottom is working at a biopharmaceutical company by the name of MilliporeSigma located in Burlington, Massachusetts as a Project Manager, participating in a fast paced and engaging, hands on work environment, handling multi and single use custom hardware systems for a global market. “I actually was first introduced to the S-POWER scholarship as I was trying to find my way back toward University and in higher education”, he notes. Richard Harris, the assistant Dean of the College of Engineering at Northeastern, and good advisor of Higginbottom’s was the one who informed him of the opportunities with S-POWER and encouraged him to apply. From there, Higginbottom put together all of the necessary application materials and was awarded the S-POWER scholarship. “I plan to take advantage of this and learn more about the power industry as it relates to my intended major of Industrial Engineering and hopefully make a lasting impact through my studies, and even beyond that after graduation”, remarks Higginbottom.

Meet The Students: Gregory Gidicsin

Greg Gidicsin got started in STEM because he is really passionate about sustainability and environmental science, so engineering seemed like the perfect way for him to use math and science to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges like climate change. Gidicsin originally started out as an Environmental Engineer at Case Western Reserve University and then after his first year, he transferred to Northeastern where he has switched to Civil Engineering.  One experience that prompted him to switch majors was when he went on a study abroad trip to Brazil, what Northeastern calls Dialogue of Civilizations. His trip was focused on renewable energy, but he also got to see some great transportation innovations that were being implemented in Brazil. This really caught his interest and following that trip he landed a Co-op with Environmental Partners as an Environmental Engineer.  “I mean I liked it but I kind of knew that Environmental Engineering wasn’t for me so after that I switched to Civil Engineering with a focus on transportation” says Gidicsin. His second Co-op is with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as a Highway Design Engineer and he is getting to do a lot of that work that he observed while in Brazil, working on bike lanes and pedestrian accommodations. “I’m really getting the chance to do some sustainable transportation work which has been an amazing experience” says Gidicsin as he is now in his third year at Northeastern. He has been in S-POWER all three years and notes “S-POWER has been awesome. The students in S-POWER are amazing, I’ve become close friends with many of them and the professors running S-POWER are just an awesome support system. I consider many of them mentors and I go to them whenever I need help in anything, I know that they’re always going to be there for me”. He does plan to go to graduate school but is not sure if he will attend right after completing his undergraduate degree or head into industry first. He plans to seek guidance from S-POWER faculty and students about graduate school before he makes that decision.

Meet The Students: Madisyn Dudley

Hello everyone, my name is Madisyn Dudley, I’m a transfer student from Clark Atlanta University to Northeastern University through the S-POWER scholarship program. I am studying Electrical Engineering and I will be graduating in 2021. My journey into STEM is heavily rooted in human rights and environmental justice activism, I knew early on in my academic career that I wanted to leverage my engineering knowledge to address marginalized community issues. I chose to be a part of the Northeastern and S-POWER community because I really felt as though their goals aligned with mine. I’m very passionate about renewable energy and using it to not only make the world a better place but making the lives of marginalized communities better as well. S-POWER played a huge role in my journey, I met them very early on in my academic career at Clark Atlanta and it just further grounded me in my desires to solve energy challenges on a macro and micro scale. I loved how not only were they willing to support me before even thinking about transferring to Northeastern but also while I was at northeastern, it was so helpful transferring to school with the S-POWER program that already had faculty, staff, and students ready to support me in any way that they could. With S-POWER I had an awesome opportunity to have an REU at Northeastern University studying photovoltaics which helped even further ground me in my desires to work with renewable energy and research topics around that. I also had the amazing opportunity to have a global Co-op based in Somalia where I was a solar design engineer and I was able to partner with businesses in Somalia and bring them affordable and reliable solar energy. I do plan to just hop right into industry after graduation, I do want to work within the energy sector as a renewable energy engineer. Eventually I want to get a Master’s degree in Education or Engineering Education as one of my big career goals is to have my own STEM school centered around green energy.

My Path to SPOWER & Northeastern University

My name is Camara Johnson and I am a Masters student studying Electrical Engineering at Northeastern University. I am originally from Washington, DC.  I am the youngest of two and will be the first person in my immediate family to continue towards their graduate studies. My main motivation for engineering is that I would like to be able to help people.  My path to engineering has helped me build character. I received my undergraduate degree from Hampton University, a HBCU located in Hampton, VA. I graduated a year late and initially felt very insecure about it but if I had graduated on time I am almost certain I would not have ended up in Boston, let alone at such a good university as Northeastern.


I realized I wanted to go to graduate school during an REU I did one summer. I really enjoyed the research and class I took over those ten weeks. I loved working in the lab and working with my graduate student mentor. The graduate student that mentored me helped teach me a lot and I was able to have a better perspective for what graduate school might be like. I was really interested in the idea of being specialized in a certain topic.


What drew me to Northeastern out of the other graduate schools I was looking at was the SPOWER faculty. I met Prof. Minus and Dean Harris when they visited my school and signed up for the Northeastern visit shortly after. When myself and other students from Hampton came for a tour, our returning flight was cancelled and we ended up staying an additional two or three days. These extra days gave me a chance to see the city a little more and get a better feel for Boston. I really appreciated how helpful Claire, Brad, and Marilyn were to us and I really felt like they cared about our well being. Before coming to Northeastern I was pretty set on attending another graduate school, having already had 4 completed credits.


Graduate school has been an adjustment for me with the workload and moving to a new state. I have had great opportunities and this past summer was able to work as program assistant with the SPOWER REU program and thoroughly enjoyed working with the students. I was selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and was able to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Boston which was a wonderful networking opportunity. I have been helping teach Robotics at an elementary school and this is helping me to become a more well rounded engineer. I am thankful for the experiences, friendships, and work relationships I have made during my time here and look forward to continuing to grow.

Summer 2018 Research Opportunity in Madrid, Spain

Juan Mesa (S-POWER)
Summer of 2018 was anything but normal. Thanks to Professor Laura Henderson Lewis, I was granted the opportunity to research and develop ferromagnetic micro-wires and glass coated micro-wires at the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid. Micro-wires have proven promising for advanced applications in sensors and other methods of data transportation, and if successful, they could significantly increase the quality of electronic appliances used today.

During our free time, my research colleague Alex Jimenez and I were able to learn much about Spanish culture. We toured the beautiful city of Madrid, visited the Roman aqueduct and ate cochinillo in neighboring city Segovia, we explored the medieval city of Toledo, and celebrated el Festival de San Juan in the Mediterranean city of Malaga. All in all, it was a wonderful trip full of exciting research, beautiful scenery, amazing food, and incredibly smart and inspiring people. My time with the S-POWER program has been filled with opportunity and innovation so my hope is that the new group of S-POWER scholars pursue all kinds of research and growth opportunities during their time at Northeastern. I challenge them all to work hard and smart and to enjoy everything that helps advance their personal and professional growth.

Field Trip to Block Island

On July 25th, the Young Scholars (along with other groups such as the REUs, S-POWER, and ASME) took their last field trip down to Block Island in Rhode Island to take a tour of the wind farms. Wind farming is the grouping of wind turbines in an effort to generate electricity, and Rhode Island is home to the nation’s first offshore wind farm! While listening to a guided tour on the ferry, the YSPs learned about how the wind farms are comprised of 600 ft tall turbines that distribute power to over 21,000 homes through a transmission system that links a 28.1 mile cable between the island and mainland. The students even had the chance to explore the island and do some shopping as well as head to the beaches and lighthouse! It was a great way to take a break from the lab, while still making it an enjoyable learning experience.

S-POWER Students enjoying ferry to wind farm

YSPs enjoying the view

Exploring the lighthouse area

Students enjoying their tour of the wind farm