Meet the Fellows!

The DIB Fellows would love to get to know you, so please come up and say hi if you see us! We would love to hear your thoughts on what we can do to improve DIB at SEAS through the feedback form below or even in-person. Looking forward to seeing you around!

DIB Fellows 2023-2024

 

Lizette Ortega Smiling on a park bench

 

Lizette Ortega

PhD Applied Physics

I am a first-year Applied Physics PhD student studying and making devices on the nanoscale. Before starting my studies at Harvard, I attended Wellesley College where I received a B.A. in Physics. Though I've been in Massachusetts for several years now, I proudly call Houston, Texas my home. Outside of academics, I love finding new music and crocheting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Salma Abdel Magid

PhD Computer Science

I am currently a 4th year PhD student in Computer Science — advised by Hanspeter Pfister in the Visual Computing Group. My research is on computer vision (specifically, image enhancement) and interpretability: trying to understand how and why ML models make the decisions they do. My goal as a DIB Fellow is to support students from underrepresented backgrounds in the CS department, and the larger SEAS community. Outside of work, I love to surf (yes, in the winter here, too!), practice and watch improv comedy, and learn and perform magic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


     

    Image of Elizabeth Suitor, smiling

    Elizabeth Suitor

    PhD Electrical Engineering

    Elizabeth is a second year PhD student researching wearable sensors in the Biodesign Lab with Conor Walsh. She grew up in rural areas of Virginia and Vermont (the largest town she lived in before attending college was 2000 people). Elizabeth received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology and worked as an Electrical Engineer in startups for five years after receiving her bachelor’s before returning to graduate school. She is passionate about using engineering to solve issues affecting underserved populations. She has worked on many products from toys for STEM education (Electroninks Writeables) to autonomous aerostats that bring connectivity to rural areas (Altaeros) to assistive devices for herself and other disabled people.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Image of Amberly Xie, a student fellow, smiling and holding an ice cream cone

     

    Amberly Xie

    PhD Applied Physics

    I’m currently a first year PhD student in the Applied Physics program–working under the guidance of Evelyn Hu in fabricating nanoscale devices for solid state defects. I received a dual Bachelors of Science in Physics and Chemistry from Indiana University. In my free time, I love finding new cafes (with fun drinks like tea or boba) and baking for friends and family. I also love watching Bob’s Burgers and Studio Ghibli films.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

    Deepika Gopalakrishnan smiling outdoors

    Deepika Gopalakrishnan

    MA Design Engineering

    Deepika Gopalakrishnan is currently pursuing her Master's in Design Engineering at Harvard University. She is passionate about designing interventions to tackle unmet healthcare needs for developing countries. After her undergrad in 2020, she co-founded a healthcare innovation startup, Dverse Labs. At Dverse Labs, her team developed autonomous disinfection systems for high-traffic confined spaces and implemented their product in hospitals across India. 

    At Harvard, she aims to gain interdisciplinary and strategic skills to tackle complex systemic challenges in healthcare. Her focus is on gaining skills to develop product-service systems that empower people to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

    In addition to her healthcare work, Deepika has a passion for STEM and design education, and she enjoys mentoring students in creating impactful interventions. She also enjoys illustrating and has created illustrations for children's books.

     

     


     

    Augustin Leon-Saenz

    SB Environmental Science & Engineering

    Agustín León Sáenz is an undergraduate student at Harvard College in the Class of 2025 studying Environmental Science and Engineering. He was born in Quito, Ecuador, and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Outside of SEAS and working as a DIB fellow, Agustín is the Professional Development Chair of Harvard Fuerza Latina and the Policy Chair of the Quechua Initiative on Global Indigeneity at Harvard. He has also researched and interned at Harvard Forest and is currently a research assistant in the Sunderland Lab.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

     

    Lauren Chen 

    AB/SM Computer Science 

    Lauren Chen is a junior at the College studying Mathematics and Statistics with a Concurrent Master's in Computer Science. Outside of being a DIB fellow, she conducts statistics research and is on the board of the Harvard Undergraduate Mathematics Association and Harvard Undergraduate Quantitative Traders. In the past, she has also served on the WiCS Advocacy Council as the Percentage Project lead. In her free time, Lauren enjoys rock climbing, dancing, and trying new restaurants.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    DIB Fellows 2022-2023

     

    Image of Elizabeth Suitor, smiling

    Elizabeth Suitor

    PhD Electrical Engineering

    Elizabeth is a second year PhD student researching wearable sensors in the Biodesign Lab with Conor Walsh. She grew up in rural areas of Virginia and Vermont (the largest town she lived in before attending college was 2000 people). Elizabeth received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Wentworth Institute of Technology and worked as an Electrical Engineer in startups for five years after receiving her bachelor’s before returning to graduate school. She is passionate about using engineering to solve issues affecting underserved populations. She has worked on many products from toys for STEM education (Electroninks Writeables) to autonomous aerostats that bring connectivity to rural areas (Altaeros) to assistive devices for herself and other disabled people.

    • Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?

    As a disabled woman engineer, I have first-hand experience with the barriers affecting people with disabilities both at Harvard and in the broader field of engineering. As a DIB Fellow, I hope to improve the experience of underrepresented minority students at SEAS with a focus on improving the accessibility of higher education for disabled students.

    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?

    Outside of my research and DIB work, you will likely find me playing sled hockey (and other adaptive sports), fixing and designing adaptive equipment, or spending time with friends and family.

     


     

    Image of Brian Magdaleno, smiling

     

    Brián Magdaleno

    AB Applied Math

    Hi everyone! My name is Brián Martín Magdaleno, and I am a current senior at the College studying Applied Mathematics with a secondary in Music. I am originally from Watts, Los Angeles, California, and currently living in Downey, California! I have a passion for music, and I currently serve as president of Mariachi Véritas de Harvard, Harvard's only mariachi!

    • Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?

    I applied to be a SEAS DIB Fellow because I wanted to help foster a more diverse and inclusive environment where all feel welcomed, especially those that may come from an URM group. We know that our SEAS is a vibrant school with lots of innovation and great ideas, and it is vital to ensure all voices are being heard and considered. I believe the first step is making sure we have a community where everyone feels they belong.

    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?

    As I mentioned, I really have a passion for music so you can usually find me composing songs or playing guitar. I also love taking 20-minute naps throughout the day.

     

     


     

     

    Amari Griffin

    MS/MBA student

    • What do you enjoy most about being in STEM?
      What I enjoy most about STEM are the people I often come in contact with. Whether I am in school or at work, the people are always full of new ideas and a passion to innovate. It continuously inspires me to seek out new ways to create to make a difference in the world. 
    • Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?
      Being a Black woman in engineering, I have often experienced what it felt like to be the minority in a room. I know the pressure to perform and the hesitance to show any uncertainty or struggle when working on a difficult task. I wanted to become a SEAS DIB Student Fellow because I want to help other students in the short-term help cope with being the minority while also looking long-term to ensure that STEM is more diverse and inclusive for all.
    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?
      I love to bowl and play volleyball. I also love going to the movies. But what I enjoy most is napping. I consider myself a professional napper.

     


     

    Image of Chepchumba Choge, sitting on outdoor stairs, smiling

     

    Chepchumba Choge

    AB Computer Science and African and African American Studies

    My name is Chepchumba, and I am a senior at the College concentrating in Computer Science & African and African American Studies, with a secondary in the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. I have a keen interest in the intersection of tech and social justice, and have really appreciated the ways in which Harvard’s liberal arts curriculum has allowed me to deeply engage with my varied intellectual interests spanning tech ethics, gender and racial equity, bias in computer systems, and social implications of artificial intelligence. I am extremely passionate about advancing diversity, advocating for inclusion, and fostering belonging for historically underrepresented minorities in STEM, and I am grateful that I am able to engage in this work at SEAS through the DIB Fellowship.

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Image of Bianca Byfield, smiling, outside

    Bianca Byfield

    SB Mechanical Engineering

    My name is Bianca Byfield and currently live in Eden Prairie, MN. I am a senior at the College in Kirkland House studying Mechanical Engineering with a Secondary in Energy & Environment. I am interested in issues regarding sustainability and how environmental issues impact marginalized communities worldwide (specifically looking at the Caribbean where my parents are from). I also have a passion for encouraging underrepresented populations to enter STEM fields!

    • Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?
      I have always been grateful to have women of color in my life who pursued STEM fields. I never felt deterred from pursuing a concentration such as mechanical engineering, however, I know that this is not the same experience some underrepresented students have. As a DIB fellow, I want my work to encourage everyone to feel more welcome and become more involved in the SEAS community.
    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?
      Outside of being a fellow, I am also a part of clubs such as Harvard Women’s Club Soccer and Harvard Society of Black Scientists and Engineers. I also enjoy hanging out with friends, listening to music, and baking

     

    Image of Amberly Xie, a student fellow, smiling and holding an ice cream cone

     

    Amberly Xie

    PhD Applied Physics

    I’m currently a first year PhD student in the Applied Physics program–working under the guidance of Evelyn Hu in fabricating nanoscale devices for solid state defects. I received a dual Bachelors of Science in Physics and Chemistry from Indiana University. In my free time, I love finding new cafes (with fun drinks like tea or boba) and baking for friends and family. I also love watching Bob’s Burgers and Studio Ghibli films.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

    image of Isaac Robinson, outside, smiling

     

    Isaac Robinson

    A.B. Computer Science and Mathematics

    Isaac Robinson is a current senior studying pure math and computer science. Originally from Milton, Massachusetts, this is Isaac’s second year as a DIB fellow. Outside of SEAS and working as a DIB fellow, Isaac is a varsity heavyweight rower and the co-president of the Harvard College Democrats. He created and occupied the position of director of diversity, inclusion, and ethical technology at the group Technology for Social Good. He has also done research and interned at the National Institutes of Health, Jane Street Capital, Meta, and the BGI Group. Next year, Isaac will be pursuing a degree at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, studying topics including electoral systems, voting rules, and artificial intelligence.  

    DIB Fellows 2021-2022

     

    Mia Polansky

    EE PhD student

    I'm Mia, a fifth year Ph.D. student working with Professor Todd Zickler in Computer Vision (technically EE) . I received my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 2017—though it took a year of pre-med courses for me to find my way to engineering, and I will forever be grateful that I eventually did.

    Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?

      • Just as I attribute my switch to engineering as chance, my path to graduate school started when I responded to an listserv email advertising a summer research position; before that, engineering research was a mythical subject to me. As a DIB fellow, I want to ensure that any Harvard undergrads with an interest in research (and those who have yet to realize their interest!) have the resources and knowledge to get started. 
    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?
      • When I'm not attending to my research or DIB duties, you can find me pampering my rescue poodle Tuzi, drawing on my iPad, playing hidden identity board games with friends, and once in a while, going on a jog (pre-covid, I had marathon aspirations, though we'll see if that desire returns in 2022). I love chocolate and coffee (ideally together), can't stand raw tomatoes, and plan my days and vacations around food. If you're wondering if research might be for you, have any questions on how to get started, want to hear me rant about raw tomatoes, or have any other related or unrelated questions or concerns, please reach out because I'm always happy to talk!

    Winston Michalak

    BS Electrical and Electronics Engineering 

    My name is Winston, and I am a senior at the College studying electrical engineering. I hail from the great city of Evanston, IL, and on campus I live in Pforzheimer House. One aspect about engineeringI really enjoy is its versatility and breadth, and I think studying engineering against the backdrop of Harvard's liberal arts core curriculum is a really rewarding way to pursuing a degree at SEAS.

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      Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?
      • I decided to become a SEAS DIB Fellow because I wanted to give back. SEAS has afforded me an unparalleled education and incredible experiences working with and learning from professors and peers. As a DIB fellow, I hope to pay my experience forward so that others may take advantage of the same opportunities that SEAS has granted me.
    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?
      • Outside of being a student and a student fellow, I love hanging out with friends and walking through Harvard Yard

     

    Shi Le Wong

    AB/SM Applied Mathematics with Psychology

    Shi Le is a senior at Harvard College pursuing an AB/SM in Applied Mathematics. She is born and raised in Singapore surrounded by many cousins. As a first-gen student, she went into college not really knowing what to expect and bounced around in the natural sciences and social sciences, before finally settling on Applied Math. She really enjoys AM since it allows her to combine her interests in both quantitative, STEM curriculums and people-oriented, humanistic lenses of psychology.

    • Why did you apply to be a SEAS DIB Student Fellow?
      • I was fortunate to meet a lot of wonderful people in my AM classes, including faculty, staff and fellow students. I was also very interested in understanding more about diversity work, and normalizing the narrative that STEM is not as objective as we think it is and we should actively acknowledge that and work to be more inclusive. Hence, I thought being a SEAS DIB Student Fellow would be a great place for me to grow and contribute to efforts in a community that I feel deeply connected to.
    • How do you spend your time outside of being a student and DIB student fellow?
      • I find jogging really boring but I also recognize its value for health and would like myself to do it more. So to reconcile that, I like to watch food videos while I jog because I love watching food videos. Coming from Singapore where great, cheap food is available everywhere, it is also a nice way of connecting back to home when I watch these videos. I also love going into the outdoors with friends (and then going for good food)!