Graduate Student Spotlights

Nelyan López-Pérez

School of Materials Engineering | Ph.D. Candidate

Nelyan López Pérez has been awarded the 2016 National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowship Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (NIJGRF-STEM). With its support, she will study high performance fibers used in soft body armors, how they degrade during their lifetime and how their performance is affected by changes at smaller scales. Nelyan joined Purdue's School of Materials Engineering in 2014. She obtained her B.S. in Physics from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus. 

Tasha Zephirin

School of Engineering Education | Ph.D. Candidate

Tasha Zephirin, is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She is the executive assistant for the National Association of Multicultural Program Advocates (NAMEPA) Inc., co-coordinator of the Global Engineering Education Collaboratory (GEEC) research group, and has also served as the Graduate Student Representative on the Purdue Engineering Advisory Council.

Tasha has lived in both the U.S. and Caribbean, growing up primarily in Barbados. She developed an interest in engineering education research while pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering at Virginia Tech. This interest was developed through research and teaching experiences in their engineering education department and leadership roles in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at the Chapter, Regional, and National levels. While at Purdue she has participated in the National Science Foundation sponsored Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship in Magnetic and Nanostructured Materials (IGERT-MNM) program − a collaborative effort with Cornell University and Norfolk State University.

Her research interests include exploring the role of noncurricular engineering education initiatives in the engineering experience − especially within and across cultural boundaries. Her current research focuses in initiatives designed to address diversity, inclusion, and equity goals. Through this research, she aims to inform the development and evaluation of engineering education initiatives in a variety of contexts.

She has previously worked with the Minority Engineering Program (MEP) as a Head Counselor and Co-Summer Program Coordinator for MEP programs (Summer 2013) and as a Graduate Assistant in 2014. As a Graduate Assistant, she held both leading and supporting roles in the design and implementation of services for pre-collegiate and collegiate students as well as facilitating additional advisory support for Presidents of student organizations that have a focus within underrepresented student populations (AISES, MAES, NSBE, SHPE). She has also helped further engineering education research efforts within MEP programming and co-authored conference proceedings with MEP staff. 

Terrell Glenn

School of Mechanical Engineering | Ph.D. Student

Terrell Glenn is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Prior to attending Purdue, Terrell received a B.S. in Physics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in May 2016. Since adolescence, he has had a passion for science and technology. He would always be found tinkering with gadgets around the house and trying to understand the physics of the world around him.

When asked why he enjoys robotics, he says that it is his way of achieving his life's duty to help those with disabilities function the way most humans do every day. He mostly cites his younger brother, Tevin, as his main source of inspiration. Tevin has cerebral palsy, which hinders him from being able to perform simple tasks that most humans do every day, such as walking, talking, and even feeding himself. Tevin is a young many that has so much potential, but due to his circumstance, has no way to express that potential. It is Terrell's ultimate goal to create a robot or robotic system that is capable of assisting his parents in taking care of him. These aspects of science and technology are what drive him to one day help develop a line of robotics that will change the lives of humans with mental and physical disabilities. 

In addition to starting his own robotics company, Terrell is interested in implementing a series of community initiatives for young, underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). His objective will be to help these young men and women become as excited about STEM as he is by giving demonstrations, speaking at events, and conducting experiments. To date, he has conducted several "Science and Innovation Exploration" workshops for students in the metro-Atlanta area. As an undergraduate, Terrell served as the Lead Resident Advisor in the "Historic" Samuel T. Graves House, the President & Founder of the Morehouse "RoboTigers" robotics team, has become a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Physics Students (SPS), as well as several other campus organizations, and was inducted into the nation's oldest academic honor society, Phi Beta Kappa Society. As a graduate student, Terrell has been named a full fellow of the National GEM Consortium and works in the C Design lab under the advisory of Dr. Karthik Ramani.


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