Doctoral student Titilayo Shodiya and master’s student Jordan Schermerhorn have received service and leadership awards from Duke’s UCAE Center for Leadership Development and Social Action.
Shodiya, who will graduate in May with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and materials science, received the William J. Griffith University Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Global Community. The award is given annually to a select number of graduating students whose service and contributions to the Duke community and beyond have significantly affected the university.
During her time at Duke, Shodiya has been heavily involved in the recruitment and development of future STEM graduate students at the elementary, middle, and secondary school levels. Her service to the university and global communities has included
- creating a workshop to help fellow engineering Ph.D. students prepare for their qualifying and preliminary exams;
- serving as director of outreach for the Materials Science Research Society, which aims to build a global community of materials researchers to advance technical excellence;
- serving as a convention leader at the National Society of Black Engineers to help increase diversity in The Graduate School and the Pratt School of Engineering;
- serving on the executive board of the Alexander Bouchet Society, which supports underrepresented graduate students in science research and promotes inclusion in the sciences for all students; and
- serving as founder and head of Project Y.E.S. Academy Inc. (Y.E.S. stands for youth in engineering and sciences), a nonprofit that collaborates with elementary, middle, and high schools in Hillsborough, North Carolina; Berkley, California; and the Washington DC metro area to increase the pipeline of students entering STEM fields.
Shodiya was a recipient of the 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring from The Graduate School. She earned an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from Duke in 2012 and a B.S. in 2010 from Penn State. She has accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.
Schermerhorn, who is graduating in May with an M.S. in global health, received the #GotCaughtLeading award, which recognizes strong acts of character, collaboration, or citizenship by students. She cofounded Dunia Health, a nonprofit that manages mobile health services for the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency.
Dunia Health sends text message reminders to parents who miss immunization appointments for their children. Schermerhorn, who came to Duke after earning a bachelor’s in bioengineering at Rice University, used her master’s thesis work to gather an epidemiological profile of patients who miss appointments and to interview parents about their reminder preferences.