LILA-Material Science Mentoring Program

I have been saddened and appalled by recent events that clearly demonstrate the need for immediate action against systemic racism. In the United States, the consequences of historic racial disparities almost every domain: health, policing, the justice system, education, research, engineering, and science. This has even more exacerbated by the recent Covid19 pandemic.

To change, we must listen, educate ourselves, reconsider our values, and take action – and the time for action is long overdue. Students, faculty and engineers of color are still severely underrepresented. A shift in statistics is desperately needed in our material science and chemistry communities. Mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers of color to become leaders in academia and is of the essence. These efforts must come hand-in-hand with efforts to bridge the ever-present gender gap and better support LGBTIQ and female scientists and engineers. I look forward to a future where material science and engineering is led by people of all colors and genders.

I wish to make a small step and launch the LILA-Material Science Mentoring Program. Annually, I will offer:

- Prof. Jennifer Rupp


In the LILA-Material Science Mentoring Program, I offer to support you over the time range of 3-yrs in your career providing guidance in your career development. Applicants should be active materials (or chemistry) graduate students or postdoctoral researchers working in the fields of either solid state materials or ceramics. Students active in the applied fields of solid state materials and devices for energy storage and conversion or information storage and computation are particularly encouraged to apply.

The idea of this mentorship is to provide the LILA-mentee with independent mentoring support and career feedback within the wider material science community outside of their schools. Hopefully by having more academics participating in the mentoring outside of their immediate circle, there can be a contribution to long term statistical shifts in the upper ranks of science and engineering leaders in academia and industry.


Send your application containing the following material on or before the 1st of April 2021:

Send all material as pdf files to Prof. Jennifer LM Rupp: jrupp[at]

2021 Recipients

Hana Terefe Gobena Researcher

Hana Terefe Gobena is an Engineer Researcher at the University of Tours, France, where she conducts research on battery materials and their electrochemistry. In 2017, she received her Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Material Science and Engineering from Adama Science and Technology University (ASTU), Ethiopia. In 2020, she completed her Master of Science (MSc) in Materials for energy storage and conversion from the Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France. Her research interests broadly encompass solid-state materials with a particular focus on energy technology. She believes women must not be underestimated based on gender, religious background, or skin tone and should be given equal opportunity to display their talents. Through her work, she hopes to improve female representation in science as well as inspire women – the majority of which still do not enjoy equal status with men – to forge their own path, build resilience, and achieve financial and mental independence.

Isaac Daniel Dyer Graduate Student

Isaac Daniel Dyer is a 3rd year doctoral student currently working in the Sossina M. Haile Lab for Solid State Ionic Materials & Devices, which is located in the Materials Science & Engineering Department of The Graduate School at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, USA. As a dual citizen of both The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and The United States of America, upon earning his Doctoral Degree, Isaac hopes to effectively utilize his graduate education to increase the representation of Indigineous & Native American leaders in the field of Materials Science & Engineering. With a particular interest in increasing the early exposure of Indigineous children to advanced solid state energy materials, Isaac hopes to make a lasting impact on the quality of life of the next 7 generations of Cherokee Nation children.

2020 Recipients

Dr. Yousra El Ajjouri Postdoc

Yousra El Ajjouri is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Nanyang Technological University, where she leverages advances in mechanochemical synthesis and machine learning for high throughput evaluation of perovskites for photoredox catalysis. As a female engineer with a doctorate in nanotechnology, she believes in the importance of standing up for those excluded, both historically and currently, from academic and scientific circles on account of their background and identity. With her research, Yousra hopes to not only impact the material science community, but also to inspire those who feel trapped in the cycle of discrimination based on gender, religious background, skin tone, or sexual preference.