WEAA Scholar News and Notables

WEAA Scholars make an impact during their time at Northwestern University, and for years after.

Current scholars

Thekra Alkadee: Class of 2027 – Thekra is working on getting an internship/research experience with Dr. Ragy, working on ancient Arabic manuscripts over the summer. She is also working on a project where she will be leading a summer python boot camp for girls 6-12th grades!

Anita Bassey: Class of 2025 – Anita is currently interning at Abbott Laboratories and has had an amazing time so far. She works on the formulation and diluent team under Research and Development. Her project is testing the bulk stability of immunoassay diluents, and determining which properties of formulations are more stable to mechanical stress than others. She has been at Abbott for two and a half months now but feels as though she’s been there for years with how much she has learned. The company has an amazing climate, and every new person she meets is so open to getting to know her as well as providing advice for her future goals. She looks forward to the rest of her time there, and hopes to get as far as possible with her project.

Isabella Socci: Class of 2027 – Isabella will be interning at Amazon this summer in Seattle as a Software Development Engineer Intern. She’s a Matriculate fellow, involved in robotics and NUSTARS, and is hoping to start on research this spring or fall.

Kaniya Hester: Class of 2023 – The Bilingualism and Psycholinguistics Research Group focused on bilingualism, multilingualism, and linguistic diversity. https://bilingualism.northwestern.edu/

Lily Lee: Class of 2025 – DJ for radio jazz on Tuesday mornings on station 89.3 FM from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

Katelynn Nguyen: Class of 2024 – Collaborated with the Shedd Aquarium on designing the exterior of the building and outdoor classroom event space in the fall of 2021

Alumnae News

Esther Taylor: Class of 2004 – Author of Finding the Love You Deserve: 30 Lessons in Self Love and Acceptance

Sara Gammage: Class of 2003 – Theater major currently working as a free-lance stage manager; credits include the Los Angeles production of Hamilton

Kimberly Collins: Class of 2020 – Attending NU Feinberg School of Medicine

Janel Montfort, M.D.: Class of 2008 – Practicing Family Medicine in Pensacola, FL.

Laquita Brown, M.D.: Class of 2011 – Practicing medicine in Columbia, Missouri

Jennie Myhran: Class of 2012 – Software engineer for health care performance improvement

Leslie Wiley: Class of 1979 – Associate Pastor for the Nineteen Street Baptist church in Washington, D.C.

Jennie Myhren graduated from NU in 2012 with a journalism and history degree.  She lives and works in Chicago where she has established a software engineer career at Vizient Inc.

Antonia McKinney graduated from Northwestern in 2005 with a BS in Chemical Engineering. After college she joined General Mills in Reed City, Michigan supporting Yoplait Operations and in 2007 she joined the Dow Chemical Company.

Chloe Wong is the recipient of the 2021 Senior Woman’s Service Award. She graduated with a BA in anthropology; other majors are Global Health Studies and Asian American Studies. Chloe received honors such as Dean’s List in 2019, Council of 100 Trailblazer Award, Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grant, Diamond Scholarship, Bonnie and Mike Daniels’ GESI Scholar, and Clinton Global Initiative Fellow. While at Northwestern, Chloe volunteered for Supplies for Dreams, a nonprofit that provides extracurricular experiences to students in the Chicago public schools. She began as a mentor, and then she became a School Coordinator, leading 5-10 Northwestern students in mentoring sessions and mini-activities every week. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.


Thelma Iwuchukwu Godslaw (NU class of 2012) received her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (2021).  WEAA celebrates Thelma’s successes. Congratulations!

In 2019, WEAA Scholar Mattlyn Cordova officially committed to the American Studies PhD program at Harvard.

During the summer of a previous year, WEAA Scholar Hannah Whitehouse visited six countries to conduct field research on El Sistema-inspired programs in England, Greece, the Philippines, Kenya, India, and New Zealand. El Sistema is a music education program that has provided music education programs to more than 700,000 underserved youth.

Leondra Downs graduated from NU in 2017 with a degree in Political Strategy and Communications. She received her Master’s degree in International Conflict and Security from the University of Kent’s Brussels in 2000.  Leondra now works for a Chicago civic journalism lab which documents and publishes the city council information. LinkedIn  Podcast

Karena Puldon graduated from Northwestern (2007-2011) with a BA in biology and chemistry. After college she moved back to California and worked as the Director of Research and patent strategist at Invicta Medical, a start up developing a minimally invasive solution for the treatment of sleep apnea. Following that work, she joined medical school at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine for medical school. She is currently applying to Internal Medicine residency programs and looks forward to receiving her M.D. in a few short months.

“The WEAA Scholars Program certainly played in a role in these accomplishments and I wanted to extend my gratitude to the program for the opportunities that were given to me during my time at NU. I look forward to contributing to the association in the future, to support and inspire leaders and scholars.”

Nicole Amani Magabo is a writer, director, producer and multimedia journalist based in Kampala, Uganda. She recently completed her debut short film “Family Tree” as writer, producer and director. After leaving Northwestern with Journalism and African Studies degrees, Nicole worked as a journalist and advertising copywriter in Kampala, and a marketing coordinator in Boulder, Colorado. In 2018, she completed an MA in Screenwriting from The London Film School.

“Family Tree” is about an 8-year-old schoolgirl who finds out that she has siblings at her father’s deathbed. Below, Nicole with her cast and crew on set.

Two Chapin Hall women—Barbara Caulfield (’69, L72) and Eva Jefferson Paterson (’71)—led student government during the tumultuous days of the Vietnam War and advocacy for student rights, especially for women. Both went on to become national figures.

Barbara Caulfield (1947-2010) was a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Northern District in California. She also held high-level positions in the private sector, and was a law professor at UC Hastings in San Francisco and the University of Oregon, and an adjunct at several other universities.

Eva Jefferson Paterson has championed civil rights throughout her life. She is president and co-founder of the Equal Justice Society, a “legal organization transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts.”

In the arts, Fujiko Nakaya has gained international attention for her immersive fog sculptures, beginning in 1970 when she wrapped the Pepsi pavilion at the World Exposition in Osaka in fog. Among the many venues featuring her fog environments are the Australian National Gallery in Canberra; the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; and San Francisco’s Exploratorium.