Goren and Jackson were honored for their leadership, service contributions, dedication to mentoring, and their drive to improve the student experience.
On Monday, April 29, 2019, graduate students Allena Goren and Megan Jackson were honored at the biennial celebration of Graduate Women of Excellence, held in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Building’s Third Floor Atrium. This year, the Office of Graduate Education selected fifty honorees out of a pool of women nominated by their peers, faculty, and staff. Women who receive this distinction are leaders among their peers through both action and example. They exemplify leadership and outstanding accomplishment, and are committed to serving the MIT community and improving the graduate student experience. When challenges arise, these women are catalysts for change.
The Chemistry Department is proud to be represented by Allena and Megan, who fully embody these attributes.
Allena Mistral Goren grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and spent her youth singing country music, racing go karts, and mastering Taekwondo. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona, where she was highly involved in both teaching and research, and her passion for the science spurred her to pursue a PhD in Biological Chemistry in the Drennan Lab here at MIT. She is currently finishing her dissertation on metalloproteins, and her discoveries will help to develop drugs for fighting malaria and contribute to a better understanding of fluorescent proteins for biomedical imaging. In addition to her research, she has kept herself very busy serving on the Chemistry Graduate Student Committee, serving as president of MIT Women in Chemistry, and captaining the MIT Ballroom Dance Team. After graduation, she will be joining the Boston Consulting Group.
Megan Jackson is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her B.S. in chemistry from Caltech, where she became enamored with the fundamentals of inorganic chemistry and electron-transfer. Upon graduating from Caltech, she pursued her PhD in chemistry in order to dive into these topics in greater detail and apply them to energy conversion processes. Her research in the Surendranath Group focused on understanding the factors governing the thermodynamics and kinetics of interfacial inner-sphere electron transfer steps, i.e. electron-transfer steps in which a bond is broken or formed at an electrode surface. In particular, her work demonstrated that molecular sites that are strongly electronically coupled to graphite electrodes behave as metallic active sites rather than simply as molecules attached to a surface, making “graphite-conjugated catalysts” an ideal platform for both probing and tuning interfacial electron transfer at the molecular level. Outside of lab, she served the chemistry department as a part of ChemREFS and as a member of the Quality of Life committee. She is currently a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley and one day hopes to have her own research group where she can continue to bring molecular-level understanding to heterogeneous materials while training the next generation of scientists.