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2023 GEM Annual Conference Highlights

2023 Leadership Awards Gala, Gala After-Party and Pre-Gala Networking Reception

Consortium members gathered for a festive reuniting of GEM Fellows, GEM Alumni, and GEM Representatives at the Pre-Gala Networking Reception, sponsored by 3M Company.

The 2023 GEM Leadership Awards Gala honored leaders in the STEM industry, academia, and GEM alumni. Dr. Cordell Hardy (of 3M Company, and a GEM Alum, served as the Gala Chair) After Dr. Hardy’s opening remarks, conference attendees were greeted by the GEM Board Chair, Dr. Johney B. Green, Jr. (a GEM Alum), who is the Associate Laboratory Director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory also served as lead sponsor of the Leadership Awards Gala Dinner and Reception. MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Cornell University were Gala Dinner table sponsors.


• Dr. Christina Fuentes, Senior Consultant, Dark Horse Consulting Group received the “Young Alum Award”

• Cornell University President, Martha E. Pollack, PhD, received the “Academic Leadership Award”

• GEM Alum Dr. Jerome Abernathy, Managing Partner, Stonebrook Capital Management, LLC, received the “Alumni Leadership Award”

• And the “Corporate Leadership Award” was presented to Dr. Ralph D. Semmel, the 8th Director of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory .

A text-to-pledge and pledge card tally announcement commenced after the awards ceremony, with the proceeds benefitting the GEM Fellowship program. Following the Gala, attendees networked at the Gala After Party, which was sponsored by 3M Company.

Friday Breakfast Plenary

The University of Delaware sponsored the Friday breakfast plenary session.

Friday Lunch Plenary

Aerospace and NASA sponsored Friday’s Plenary Lunch.

2023 Graduate Resource, Post-Doc and Employer Fair

Sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the fair offered undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to interact directly with GEM University and Employer representatives to discuss graduate degree and post-doc opportunities. More than 100 GEM University and GEM Employer members were present to engage with the GEM Fellows and GEM Alumni.


The National GEM Consortium’s Getting Ready for Advanced Degrees (GRAD) Lab, sponsored by Arizona State University, exposed underrepresented minority undergraduates to the benefits of pursuing an advanced STEM degree, including how to successfully apply and gain admission to graduate school, as well as the best practices on funding a STEM graduate degree. The GRAD Labs culminated with a panel discussion featuring a diverse array of speakers, who offered practical and actionable insights regarding their graduate research and career experiences.

Technical Presentation Competition and Technical Poster Session

The Technical Presentation Competition (TPC) was sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Lam Research sponsored the Closing Awards Ceremony. Originally developed to showcase the technical assignments and research of prospective and current GEM Fellows during their summer internships and research experiences, the TPC has expanded to showcase students’ skills in research, technical writing, and oral presentations.

The 2023 winners by category, as announced at the awards ceremony are:

Technical Presentation Competition Winners – Masters Program

1. Gabriel Prepetit

2nd Year Master’s Student in Civil Engineering at Columbia University

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Employer Sponsor

2. Jalen Borne

2nd Year Master’s Student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology 

Pacific Northwest National Lab Employer Sponsor

3. Murphy Gay

2nd Year Master’s Student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Employer Sponsor

Technical Presentation Competition Winners – Early PhD Program

1. Candace Todd

1st Year Ph.D. Student in Statistics at Pennsylvania State University

National Renewable Energy Lab Employer Sponsor

2. Matthew Lucia

1st Year Ph.D. Student in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University

National Renewable Energy Lab Employer Sponsor

3. Darnell Campbell

2nd Year Ph.D. Student in Biomedical Engineering at Wake Forest University

Colgate-Palmolive Employer Sponsor

Technical Presentation Competition Winners – Later PhD Program

1. Yessica Nelson

3rd Year Ph.D. Student in Chemistry at the University of California – Los Angeles 

Oak Ridge National Lab Employer Sponsor

2. Kevin Rivera-Cruz

5th Year Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry at the University of Michigan

National Renewable Energy Lab Employer Sponsor

3. Katherine Johnson

4th Year Ph.D. Candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University

Brookhaven National Lab Employer Sponsor

Technical Poster Session

GEM Alumni Networking Mixer

GEM’s networking event, sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive, brought together GEM Alumni, Fellows, and Representatives for networking, dining, dancing, and good cheer. GEM periodically has a celebratory event to commemorate the organization’s mission of advancing scientific impact through our Consortium of stakeholders, such as GEM Alumni, GEM Fellows, Consortium Employers and the entire GEM community.

2024 GEM Annual Board Meeting and Conference

If you missed this year’s conference, don’t worry because GEM’s 48th Annual Board Meeting and Conference will be here before you know it! It will be held September 26-28 in San Antonio, Texas!

Thank You to Our 2023 Conference Sponsors

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