2021-2022 Leadership

Executive Board

Executive Board

Lisha White


Lisha is a mechanical engineering PhD student from Portsmouth, Virginia. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in engineering from James Madison University in 2016. Lisha began her journey at Carnegie Mellon as a GEM Fellow and is currently conducting research on 3-D printing inside of a gel support matrix. Lisha enjoys soccer, reading, exercise, learning new languages, and diverse catalogs of music. A fun fact about Lisha is that her favorite food is anything cookies and crème!

Dontavious Sippial

Vice President

Dontavious is a chemical engineering PhD student from Montgomery, Alabama. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Auburn University in 2018. Dontavious currently conducts air quality research on secondary organic aerosol formation for volatile organic compounds through the use of smog chamber experiments. Dontavious enjoys reading, volunteering, video games, hanging out with friends, and watching Youtube videos. A fun fact about Dontavious is that he has played a majority of the mainline Pokémon games while growing up, but he just completed the regional Pokédex for the first time playing through Pokémon Sword and felt so good to finally accomplish that!

Quinton Thomas


Quinton is a dual degree ETIM and Civil & Environmental Engineering masters student from Houston,Texas. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Spring 2021. Currently Quinton is involved in numerous organizations on campus and enjoys dancing, cooking, and playing just about any sport. A fun fact about Quinton is that he was a jump roping champion once upon a time but doesn’t like jump roping much now.

Navo Emmanuel

Secretary & Activism Chair

Prior to attending Carnegie Mellon for an MS in Public Policy Management - Data Analytics, Navo received a BSPA in Public Policy with an Economics minor from IU-Bloomington, and an MS in City & Regional Planning with a Statistics Specialization from OSU. Navo is a mission-driven creative and social advocate who uses her analytical skills to demonstrate cases for equitable socio-economic solutions. Her work involves leveraging her Policy, Urban Planning, and Data Science knowledge to support the process of translating data into captivating stories and impactful insights. With her free time, Navo indulges in the arts and spends time contemplating how to make the world a better place for all, one idea at a time.

Uche Agwu

Service Chair

Uche is a mechanical engineering PhD student from Denver, Colorado. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering from Santa Clara University in 2018. As a GEM Fellow at Carnegie Mellon, Uche conducts research on structural mechanics and computational design and analysis. He is focusing on generating light and stiff lattices for additive manufacturing applications within the aerospace industry. Uche enjoys soccer, piano, and Latin dancing!

Katelyn Jones

Social Chair

Katelyn Jones is a third year PhD student and GEM Fellow from Atlanta, GA studying Computational Materials Science. Her research focuses on applying machine learning algorithms to the study of fatigue fracture mechanics in metals. Katelyn graduated from Dartmouth College in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree and took a gap year to travel and prepare for graduate school. She enjoys baking, trying new restaurants, visiting artistic spaces, and traveling. A fun fact about Katelyn is that she once participated in a Polar Bear Plunge, jumping into a frozen pond.

Zakar White

Social Media Chair

Zakar is a mechanical engineering PhD student from Portsmouth, Virginia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science and Technology, a second major in Physics, as well as a minor in Mathematics from Virginia Tech in 2020. As a GEM Fellow at Carnegie Mellon, Zakar conducts research in fuel cells with the preface of computational simulation. In his spare time, Zakar enjoys soccer for the university and a local Pittsburgh team!

Primary Advisor

Ms. Shernell Smith

Executive Director, Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Ms. Shernell is the executive director for the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion. She helps to coordinate multi-cultural, diversity and inclusion programming for the campus community, such as CMU’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, and is an adviser to various student organizations, like the Asian Student Association. She’s a housefellow for students in the Margaret Morrison Apartments, Woodlawn Apartments, Roselawn Apartments and Spirit House, and a college liaison for the College of Engineering.

She also advises sustainability initiatives on campus, like Sustainable Earth and the upcoming Sustainability Weekend in April, and she has used her green thumb to help students grow CMU’s community garden on Winthrop Street.