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Scholar Bio Sketches


Howard University

I’m Melody Chepkoech, a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University, driven by a passion for engineering research. Over the past four years, I’ve gained invaluable experience as a graduate and teaching assistant, honing my critical thinking and student engagement skills. Inspired by professors during my undergraduate studies in Kenya, I initially aspired to become a professor. However, my experiences abroad led me to reassess my career path. The Teaching Certificate Program at Howard University reignited my passion for teaching under Dr. Deonauth Kamla’s guidance. I’m grateful to be part of the 2022-2023 NSF-AGEP cohort, receiving mentorship from my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Owolabi Gbadebo, and Prof. Francislley Holzmeister. The NSF-AGEP program has given me the confidence to excel in teaching. After my Ph.D., I plan to teach at a community college using a student-centered approach. This setting enables me to contribute to society and address the underrepresentation of women in mechanical engineering professor roles, inspiring the next generation of engineers.


Howard University

My interest in cancer research started after losing my mother to gastric cancer in 2009. I was first introduced to research in a cancer/molecular biology lab upon my arrival at UDC in 2010, where I earned my first scientific publication. After completing my BS in Biology at UDC, I worked for the FDA as an ORISE Postbac fellow for 3 years while and co-authoring three publications. At Howard, I am a fourth year Biology PhD student with a concentration in Parasitology. My passion for teaching was illuminated upon my arrival at Howard when I was assigned a teaching assistantship. I have completed all my course work requirements for the degree at this point, and joined the HHMS-AGEP program in hopes of enriching my path to the professoriate. As an AGEP fellow, I was given the opportunity to attend conferences that have enriched my knowledge about the professoriate. My inspiration to complete this degree is an attempt to fill the shoes my father walked in as he is a Howard University Biology PhD
Alumni and was a professor at UDC for twenty years before he retired.


Howard University

I graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s in Physics, and currently a graduate student in Howard University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. My research focuses on general relativity, specifically gravitational waves and the orbital characteristics of bodies that orbit black holes. As someone with a passion for teaching, my experience in the HHMS-AGEP Program has been extremely gratifying, providing new perspectives and modern educational techniques that greatly improve my ability to inspire a passion and respect for science.


Howard University

My name is Myeshia Shelby, and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Genetics and Human Genetics. My research focus is on Behavioral Science with a passion for translational research. I am currently being funded by NIH to conduct a study on the multifactorial components of Alzheimer’s Disease. This funding opportunity has allowed me to address the disparity that exists in the representation of African Americans in study participation and research literature which aligns with the overall intentions of the AGEP program. As an AGEP fellow, I have been made aware of the profound marginalization of minorities in academia – especially in STEM disciplines. The program has given me tools to strengthen my participation in science and eventually in the professoriate. My goal, as a fellow in this program, is to receive as much mentorship and guidance as possible to become a beacon in the African American community that shines a path to academic success for those that would not have otherwise considered a STEM discipline. I believe my experiences with AGEP will allow me to accomplish this goal.


Morgan State University

My name is Nicole Lemon and I have been living in Maryland for over twenty years. I am originally from North Carolina. I have been teaching middle school math for twenty years. I am a fourth-year doctoral student in math education approaching candidacy with only one more class to take after this semester. My research interest is STEM identity development for African American females at the middle school level. My other interests include trav- eling and eating vegan cuisine. I am a new fellow and look forward to meeting new people and learning more about the program.


Morgan State University

Science is an ever-growing field that contributes to the intelligence of all communities regardless of ethnicity. I am interested in academia because, as an African American woman finishing up her Ph.D. in marine environmentalism, I witness the paucity of African American women in STEM education. As a recipient of the HHMS-AGEP fellowship 2022, I look forward to participating in this exciting program.

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