2018 Alumni Award Winners
Three MCS alumni were recognized with 2018 Alumni Awards for their professional achievements and service to the university. They were honored at a reception on May 18 during Commencement Weekend.
♦ by Joyce DiFrancesco and Deb Taylor
Njema Frazier, Alumni Achievement Award
Njema Frazier, who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in physics in 1992, has a history of being first. She was the first African-American woman to graduate with a physics degree from MCS and the first to graduate with a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Michigan State. She is now the acting director of the Inertial Confinement Fusion Program in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE’s NNSA); she is the first woman and first black scientist to head the office.
Within NNSA, Frazier manages scientific and technical projects that ensure a safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear explosive testing. She has led efforts in nuclear weapons modeling and simulation, weapons physics experiments and international collaborations.
Frazier is an advocate for women and minorities in STEM. She was a leadership ambassador for the OneDOE Campaign and a champion of the Department’s Minorities in Energy Initiative under the Obama administration and is a co-founder of the POWER (Professional Opportunities for Women at Energy Realized) Employee Resource Group at DOE. She holds positions on the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers, in the Algebra by 7th Grade Initiative, and in Diversity Science LLC an expert-based network of scientists and engineers dedicated to broadening STEM participation.
Mark Gelfand, Alumni Achievement Award
Mark Gelfand has long been interested in industry and technical education. Since earning a B.S. in physics in 1973, he has been a factory worker, computer programmer, engineer, businessman, investor and philanthropist. Forty years ago, he founded Boston-area company Intex Solutions Inc which developed the standard calculator for the international structured finance markets.
For the past 10 years, Gelfand’s physics and electronics background has served as the foundation for many STEM enrichment projects for deserving youth in the United States, Israel, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda. To date, in Africa, the philanthropic projects established by Gelfand’s non-governmental organization, STEM Synergy, include 18 hands-on science and engineering centers, 31 university STEM outreach programs, 75 municipal schools’ virtual computing labs, and many other hands-on STEM enrichment programs.
Gelfand also is the founder and active manager of TodayTomorrow Ventures, an “impact investment” portfolio of self-sustaining industrial and agro-tech companies in Ethiopia.
Ashley Kilp Godisart, Outstanding Recent Alumni Award
Being a volunteer is a way of life for Ashley Kilp Godisart, and she maintains her passion for service to others regardless of her life’s demands.
While at Carnegie Mellon, she excelled as a chemistry major and Science and Humanities Scholar, was a resident assistant at Mudge House and a volunteer at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. As a leader of the Global Impact Corps for Unite for Sight, Godisart spent two weeks in India and almost three months in Ghana.
After graduating in 2010, she attended the University of Pennsylvania for medical school and returned to Pittsburgh in 2014 for an emergency medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh, where she served as chief resident. During that time, she re-engaged with Carnegie Mellon. She has served on the advisory board for CMU’s chapter of Camp Kesem, is a member of the Carnegie Mellon Admission Council (CMAC), speaks frequently to chemistry majors and students interested in health professions and meets with Science and Humanities Scholars during Spring Carnival each year. Last year, she joined The Task Force for the CMU Experience to reform campus culture to promote wellness and compassion.