Two Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering PhD students were inducted into the university’s chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at a ceremony on Thursday, May 11, in Mason Hall on the university’s Homewood campus. The society recognizes doctoral students’ academic achievements and their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
The Bouchet Society honors Edward Alexander Bouchet, who in 1876 became the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States. Designed to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence and who foster a community of support, the society recognizes students who serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for those who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.
“They [the new inductees] are brilliant scholars and dedicated leaders in their communities who embody the animating spirit and exemplary achievements of this society’s namesake: Edward A. Bouchet,” JHU President Ron Daniels said at the May 11 ceremony, addressing the new cohort of scholars. “We are immensely grateful for the vital work you are undertaking on behalf of your peers, our world, and Johns Hopkins.”
The cohort of honorees were invited to attend an annual conference in April at Yale University, one of the founding chapters of the society, and will join members from the society chapters at 19 American universities.
This year’s honorees from BME are:
Franklyn D. Hall III
Franklyn D. Hall III is a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, focusing on using vascular cells derived from stem cells to understand new mechanisms of disease progression in individuals with Marfan syndrome. Prior to coming to Hopkins, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a biomolecular concentration from Mississippi State University. Hall has received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Gilliam Fellowship and the National Institutes of Health’s Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Award in support of his research efforts.
Hall enjoys working with undergraduate students through teaching and mentorship, and recently co-wrote a course that explores how microbiology and genetic and stem cell engineering are fueling solutions to global climate, animal welfare, and food scarcity challenges. He designed three initiatives to help fellow graduate students, including programming to assist minority students in learning self-promotion techniques, a networking event between Black faculty and students to discuss race-based challenges in academia, and a Black graduate student retreat to create a community-building space that provided recovery from pandemic-induced stressors.
Alexis N. Peña
Alexis N. Peña is a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering with a focus on translational cell and tissue engineering. Peña researches human cell and tissue products for musculoskeletal injuries and disease. Before coming to Hopkins, she earned a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering from Syracuse University as a scholar in both the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. She also received a graduate certificate in food systems from the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Peña is a member of the Alpha Eta Mu Beta Biomedical Engineering Honor Society and a GEM Associate Fellow and was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She has co-authored nine publications on topics including regenerative medicine strategies and in vitro cell platforms for medicine solutions. In all of her work, Peña takes a holistic approach to health care in an effort to improve health outcomes and overall quality of life.