About Us

We are dedicated to providing personalized technical communication assistance to graduate students in the College of Engineering. We are proud to serve all students through workshops and office hours, and are funded to provide one-on-one assistance in the departments of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, and Civil&Environmental Engineering. 


CommLab Program Coordinator

Tracy Carter holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering, and oversees each department’s CommLab. She has been a teaching professor for 10 years, and currently teaches Lab and Process Safety in Chemical Engineering. Outside of education and mentoring, she and has over 15 years of extensive experience in technical communications. Tracy serves as a peer reviewer for AICHE, ASEE, and Chemical Process Safety Progress. 


Bioengineering CommLab Fellows

McKay Cavanaugh is a 4th year PhD student working with Dr. Rebecca Willits. Her research focuses on the design of tissue engineering biomaterials that mimic the neural stem cell niche. Her goal is to gain insight into the mechanosensing cues in the niche and understand how they determine the fate of the neural stem cell. She has published peer-reviewed articles and presented research at several conferences including an oral presentation at BMES 2019. She is passionate about public speaking, data visualization, and working with her peers to develop technical and soft skills.

Aleksandra Petelski is a PhD candidate in Dr. Nikolai Slavov’s Laboratory. She is interested in researching the heterogeneity of ribosomes in addition to answering relevant biological questions on the single cell level using mass spectrometry. Before Northeastern, Aleksandra had a variety of research and work experiences, from working in molecular biology laboratory to optimizing additive manufacturing. She continues to contribute to peer-reviewed papers, and strongly believes that communication is key to discovering new scientific principles and progressing research.


Chemical Engineering CommLab Fellows

Nick O’Hare is a 2nd year PhD student working in Professor Eno Ebong’s lab. The lab focuses on how endothelial mechanotransduction can prevent or promote a variety of diseases related to blood vessel dysfunction. More specifically, his work centers around the relationship between endothelial glycocalyx and the blood-brain barrier as well as improving in vitro Blood Brain Barrier modeling. Nick is also the first-year representative for the graduate student council and a 2020 graduate research fellow recipient. Through Commlab, he hopes to support others with their technical communication skills while promoting greater scientific accessibility.

Vyshnavi Karra, or “Vy”, is a 4th year Ph.D student, working in Professor Francisco Hung’s Lab. His lab works on developing computational models of different systems, and specifically Vy’s research is on developing models for a rosette nanotubes for drug delivery systems and bullet-proof body armor. She has presented posters at AIChE and ACS, and has been a mentor in different capacities over the years, such as ChemE Day. Prior to joining Northeastern, she oversaw a women in STEM mentoring program as a master’s student at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Vy has also been working on a book on the importance of science advocacy and the relationship between science and government, publishing in December 2020.



Civil & Environmental Engineering CommLab Fellows

Andrew Summerfield is a fifth-year structural engineering PhD student working with Professor Andy Myers. His research focuses on the prediction of wave loads on monopile-supported offshore wind turbines. Before starting graduate school, he worked at a structural engineering firm in Boston, where he did bridge inspection and rating work. He has presented his research at the North American Wind Energy Academy’s 2017 and 2019 Conferences and at numerous poster sessions throughout his graduate school career. He has also worked as a teacher and tutor in the past. Outside of research, he spends his time reading, playing and listening to music, and thinking about the role of social justice and activism in engineering. 

Book An Appointment Today!

If you are associated with the departments of Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, or Civil/Environmental Engineering, you can book a one-on-one session with a fellow in your department! If not, don’t fear; check out our resources, workshops, and office hours.
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