2020 Young Scholars Program – Co-op: A Transformative Experience

Week three of the Young Scholars Program marks the halfway point for our high school researchers. On Monday, July, 13th, the YSP students participated in a Co-op/STEM Panel with four Northeastern students: Colin Bergmann, Nathalie Leger, Nithila Raman, and Fatemah Mukadum.

Colin Bergmann is a recent Northeastern graduate, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. He completed two of his co-ops at Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB) in Watertown, MA working in water resources. Colin worked as a student program staff for the Center for STEM Education for all four years. During the end of his sophomore year, Colin went on a dialogue of civilization in Sardinia, Italy working on sustainable solid waste management technology and policy with Professor Onnis-Hayden. Colin participated in a variety of extracurricular activities including NUHOC (Outdoors Club), STEMout, NU Rec Climbing, and Enabling Engineering.

Nathalie Leger is a rising senior studying Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering at Northeastern University. She completed one of her co-ops at Novartis in Cambridge, MA working on cell biology and supporting research on chemical probes for protein degradation in bromodomains primarily using western blots and cell viability assays. Additionally, Nathalie traveled to Belgium, Germany for her second co-op in the Neuroelontic Research Flanders working with mice. Currently, she is on her third co-op at Visterra Inc. researching on antibodies.

Nithila Raman is a rising senior studying both Computer Engineering and Computer Science. As for her past two co-ops, she worked specifically on firmware engineering at Mayflower Communications, testing GPS receivers, and then Pax Labs, learning how electronic products get designed. After she graduates, Nithila’s goal is to receive a career in the industry.

Fatemah Mukadum is a rising senior studying Chemistry with minors in Theater and Computer Science at Northeastern University. She completed her first co-op working in Computational Software Algorithm Development at Spectral Sciences in Burlington, MA. Fatemah continues her passion for research during her second co-op as a Research Assistant in the Professor Steven Lopez Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Lab at Northeastern. Her future aspiration is to continue onto graduate school to receive her Ph.D. and be apart of a computer-automated drug design team. Outside of the classroom, Fatemah is a conference director of the Northeastern University Global Health Initiative (NUGHI), organizing conferences, reaching out to potential speakers, and coordinating workshops and programming.

Overall, our students were very interested in co-op and the global experience at Northeastern. Here are a few examples of the questions the students asked:

  1. Fatemah, “You seem to have a lot of experience in computational science because of school and your co-ops, is there anything that made you want to pursue chemistry more than computer science?”
  2. Colin, “Colin, I am interested in civil and environmental engineering, and I know I want to major in civil engineering. I also know that they overlap in many different ways. Since you were an environmental engineer working in a civil engineering company, how could you see that overlap?”
  3. Both Presenters, “How did your experiences with the co-op program change your goals for school and work. For example, how did it influence your decisions about going into industry/higher education?


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