The Knight-Hennessy Scholarships fund graduate study at Stanford in any discipline, offering membership in a cohort of ambitious students determined to use their education to tackle a pressing global challenge of the 21st century. This year Northeastern University nominated an impressive slate of applicants for this extraordinary opportunity. These students and recent alumni embody the ambitions and ideals of Northeastern: creating knowledge, prizing truth, acting with courage. Read on to meet these exceptional young people.
Claire Celestin COS’19
In recognition of her extraordinary accomplishments and her passion for improving women’s and children’s health, Claire Celestin earned one of the world’s most prestigious postgraduate awards–the Marshall Scholarship–in 2019. An aspiring physician, Claire aims to solve a stark problem: maternal mortality in the United States is increasing, even as it decreases in other developed countries. Moreover, adverse effects in maternal and infant health mirror broader social inequalities, as women of color are three times as likely to die in childbirth as white women in the US. To this problem Celestin brings formidable skills as a researcher, leader, and advocate. At Northeastern, Claire’s work helped extend the concept of implicit bias to the domain of sexual orientation. Celestin’s desire to become a physician was solidified during her cooperative work experience with a midwife in rural Peru, where she witnessed the power of individual practitioners to promote dignity and well-being within a broader context of inequality. As a Marshall Scholar, Claire earned the MSc in Women and Children’s Health at King’s College London and the MA in Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London.
Max Daniels KCS/COS’22
Computer Science and Mathematics, minor in physics
Growing up in rural Florida, Max Daniels taught himself programming and math by scouring the internet for open-source tutorials and hacking his video games. At Northeastern, he declared a major in computer science and math and a minor in physics because these fields offer ways to discover and understand the structures hidden within complex systems. Max has done groundbreaking work toward creating theoretically motivated algorithms that solve applied problems in the domains of Inverse Problems and Optimal Transport. In one part of his research, he showed how Invertible Neural Networks (INN) can be used as generative priors, outperforming the classical technique (currently used in MRI machines) by 10-20 times, and besting competing generative priors by 2 times. This technique also makes appreciable progress toward countering dataset bias. Max earned the 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship in recognition of his outstanding achievements in undergraduate research. Max plans to pursue a PhD in applied mathematics, to conduct research on machine learning, and to communicate his findings to diverse audiences—including the next generation of kids who want to hack their video games.
Paula Somaya Domit CSSH’22
Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, minor in international security studies
Paula Soumaya Domit traveled frequently between her parents’ home countries, Mexico and Lebanon, as a child, with time spent in both places shaping her deep concern with violent conflicts and the human suffering they cause. After her family settled in San Antonio, Paula came to Northeastern, where she has worked closely with Professor Denise Garcia, an expert in international security and global governance, as a research and teaching assistant. Paula has also been involved in research initiatives undertaken by non-governmental organizations that focus on human security and new technologies. She served as a major contributor to the Center for AI and Digital Policy (CAIDP)’s 2020 “Artificial Intelligence and Democratic Values” report, an assessment of thirty countries’ policies related to artificial intelligence. Paula has also been a research lead at the Common Good Digital Framework initiative, which seeks to monitor states’ use of emerging technologies. While Paula has gained expertise in the workings of international governance, she has also been attentive to the ways that all politics is local. Working on a campaign for Massachusetts state representative, Paula gained valuable experience in organizing, community- and coalition-building, and outreach. She aspires to a career in global governance, promoting a broad and people-centric vision of peace.