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Graduate student Mekedlawit Setegne recognized as recipient of 2023 DARE Fellowship

Mekedlawit Setegne

About DARE Fellow Mekedlawit Setegne

Mekedlawit Setegne is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Chemistry and Sarafan ChEM-H Chemical-Biology Interface Trainee at Stanford. Her doctoral study, advised by Prof. Laura Dassama, is focused on the biochemical and structural characterization of essential biosynthetic enzymes for sterol production in Enhygromyxa salina. She aims to use this science to gain insight on novel bacteria-sterol interactions. Outside of her science, Mekedlawit engages with a slew of cross-campus organizations that strive to make Stanford a more inclusive and equitable environment, such as serving on the executive board of the Black Graduate Student Organization and working as a Lead Learning Consultant within the Center of Teaching and Learning. Within the Chemistry department, she was a founding member of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE@Stanford), an organization that spearheads necessary conversation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the department through a variety of forums such as department-wide town halls and seminars while also highlighting amazing early career Black Scientists. Mekedlawit was originally from Ethiopia, an East African country, and grew up in Ohio. She completed a B.S. in Chemistry at Rice University where she synthesized molecules for site-specific backbone modification of protein and peptides and studied the effects of oxygen levels on the senescence of donor-derived-mesenchymal stem cells.

About the Program

The DARE Doctoral Fellowship Program awards two-year fellowships to advanced Stanford doctoral students who want to investigate and prepare for academic careers and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate. The DARE program's objectives are to better prepare students from diverse backgrounds for academic careers and to have them, at the same time, enrich the educational experiences of others. Thus, the program expands the academic “pipeline” in two ways. DARE was initially created as a four-year pilot program for three cohorts of students on two-year fellowships. The first cohort of DARE Fellows was selected in Spring 2008. The program has since been extended to support 13 cohorts of students.