Inaugural cohort of LEGACY postdoc scholars named

Posted: June 23, 2022
College of Engineering Legacy Scholars
Top row (L to R): Tatiana Cuellar-Gaviria, Daniel Ewim, Colin Hisey
Bottom rown (L to R): Martina Leveni, Leonardo R.C. Moraes, Shawanee Patrick

Six engineering trailblazers have joined The Ohio State University College of Engineering as part of a new postdoctoral scholars program that’s preparing the next generation of diverse engineering leaders in academia.

The LEGACY Postdoctoral Scholars Program inaugural cohort includes Drs. Tatiana Cuellar-Gaviria, Daniel Ewim, Colin Hisey, Martina Leveni, Leonardo R.C. Moraes and Shawanee’ Patrick.

Founded in 2021 by Dean Ayanna Howard and led by Professor Monica F. Cox, the program aims to increase the number of underrepresented minority postdocs who transition to faculty positions within the College of Engineering. LEGACY—which stands for Leading Engineering as Agents of Change and Equity—also focuses on establishing quality mentoring relationships, enhancing research opportunities, and building strong scholarly communities.

“To create a more diverse population of faculty, we have to design a more inclusive environment in academia,” said Howard, who noted that most public postdoc programs focus mainly on research mentorship. “When you’re an underrepresented individual in engineering, it’s not just about research. It’s also about cross-cultural mentorship and how you can bring your whole self to the academic environment to help ensure you’re successful. LEGACY scholars will be part of the solution in defining their own success.”

A unique feature of Ohio State’s LEGACY Postdoctoral Scholars Program is its focus on intersectional mentorship and a research-based, multiple apprenticeship model. Along with choosing research and teaching or service area mentors, scholars in the two-year cohort will select an additional faculty member who aligns with their identities. Scholars and mentors will engage in authentic conversations that promote a culture of inclusivity.

“Intersectional mentorship allows scholars to bring their entire selves to the workplace,” explained Cox. “They engage with mentors and a cohort that encourages them to embrace their personal and professional identities as they conduct their research and share their scholarship nationally and internationally. The energy is positive as scholars develop their independent research portfolios.

Cox noted that the LEGACY model represents the future of higher education and confirms that there is space for everyone to be included and to succeed in engineering.

“Over the years, there has not been a conscious effort that allows postdocs to transition into becoming full-time faculty,” said Ewim. “After reading about the program and the track record of the program director, Professor Cox, and Dean Howard, I was excited about this well thought-out program that deals with mentorship and a clear transition path.”

The program’s focus on inclusivity aligns with the university’s recently announced RAISE (race, inclusion, social equity) initiative, which seeks to hire at least 100 new tenure-track faculty from underrepresented backgrounds, and another 50 whose work addresses social equity and racial disparities.

“One of the things that I love the most about the LEGACY program is that diversity is extremely valued and the program is really tailored to make us succeed in academia,” said Cuellar-Gaviria. “The intersectional mentorship and strong support for career and professional development are some of the best qualities of this program. I look forward to transition into a faculty position in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Ohio State and to represent the Latin American women in engineering and science.”

Learn more about our LEGACY Scholars and their work:

Dr. Tatiana Cuellar-Gaviria’s current research focuses on developing strategies to disrupt bacterial biofilms that cause disease. She’s also interested on implementing the use of multi-omics approaches to better understand disease and the physiological response to treatment. She earned her PhD in engineering at Universidad EAFIT, Colombia.

Dr. Daniel Ewim’s research interests are the intersection of two-phase flow, nanofluids and microfluidics. He’s also interested in engineering for social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion in engineering education. He completed his doctoral degree at the Universiteit van Pretoria in South Africa.

Dr. Colin Hisey’s research involves the use of micro- and nanotechnology to develop tools for extracellular vesicle (EV) research. His primary interests are related to cancer engineering, but he’s also interested in applying these tools in infectious diseases and reproductive applications to ultimately improve human health. He earned his PhD in biomedical engineering from Ohio State.

Dr. Martina Leveni is driven by the need to deal with the accumulation of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and mitigate the climate change it causes. Her research involves energy and environmental systems, carbon management, renewable energy, geoenergy systems, techno-economic assessment, optimization, systems and process level analysis, and reservoir modeling. She earned her PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Rome Niccolò Cusano in Italy.

Dr. Leonardo R.C. Moraes’ research focuses on the development of mathematical and computational tools to model the interactions of subatomic particles. His interests includedevelopment and application of efficient methods to the solution of classical and nonclassical transport equations and the development of computer programs that assist decision-making in problems involving radiation transport through matter. He earned his D.Sc. degree in computational modeling at Rio de Janeiro State University in Brazil.

Dr. Shawanee’ Patrick’s research focuses on gait analysis and improvement. Her goal is to observe how different pathologies, use of walking assistive devices, and rehabilitation strategies impact walking in order to improve mobility outcomes. She earned her PhD in mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University.

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-by Meggie Biss, College of Engineering Communications  |