Jamaican American Danielle Grey-Stewart is one of two students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to receive a Rhodes Scholarship for 2021, and one of only 32 students from the United States to do so. She was selected for the scholarship after an intense round of interviews conducted via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said her selection left her speechless, honored, and excited about the opportunity.
Grey-Stewart’s father Roy migrated to the United States in 1982 from Jamaica; her mother Denise is from the US. Both of her parents were students at City University of New York, and her father served as president of the Caribbean Students’ Association at Baruch College in New York.
Grey-Stewart, who was raised in Hicksville, New York, and graduated from Hicksville High School in 2017, has always been interested in science. She is currently a senior at MIT majoring in materials science and engineering. Under the Rhodes Scholar program, she will pursue a two-year MPhil degree in nature, society, and environmental governance at the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford. The degree program will allow her to study how environmental policy is constructed from how people view society and nature. In the future, she plans to become a leader in the area of science policy and hopes to open new pathways for her fellow scientists of color. She will graduate from MIT in February 2021.
At MIT, she is researching functionalized nanothread synthesis in the laboratory of Professor Julia Ortony at MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DSME). She also worked in the laboratory of Professor Moungi Bawendi in the Chemistry Department, synthesizing photo initialized nanoparticles and with Professor Oxman in the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab, where she worked on biodegradable architectural materials.
Grey-Stewart received two grants from the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program and the Horace A. Lubin Award for Outstanding Service to the DMSE Community. She is the chair of the MIT Undergraduate Association Committee on COVID-19 and has written articles addressing the impact of COVID-19 on sustainability for the Environmental Solutions Initiative Rapid Response Group at MIT. She belongs to the Student Advisory Group for Engineering and the MIT School of Engineering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Grey-Stewart has also taught STEM classes to students in France through MIT’s Global Teaching Labs, and she is an outreach assistant with the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center. She was chosen to visit the Navajo Nation to support links between MIT and its Navajo community partners.
According to a news release from MIT, Grey-Stewart will begin her fully funded postgraduate studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom in the fall of 2021.
Photo source – MIT