Two Mercer University Grads Earn Spots in GEM Fellowship Program

Two Mercer University Grads Earn Spots in GEM Fellowship Program

Mercer University graduates Leila Kelly and Kennedy Mays have earned spots in the prestigious GEM Fellowship Program. The program targets exceptional, underrepresented students seeking advanced degrees in applied science and engineering. It aligns their talents with the requirements of GEM’s employer partners.

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Leila Kelly

Leila Kelly, from Aurora, Colorado, was an environmental engineering major.

“I feel incredibly blessed to have been awarded a GEM Fellowship,” Kelly said. “This fellowship will not only support me financially to pursue a master’s degree but will provide invaluable research experience and opportunities to work alongside experts in the field to improve the sustainability of our built environment.”

At Mercer, Kelly was involved in the Engineering Honors Program, was vice president of the American Society of Civil Engineering and helped lead worship nights with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus.

“Ms. Kelly is one of the most diligent, intelligent and driven students I have had the pleasure to work with in my over 20 years at Mercer,” said Dr. Philip McCreanor, professor and chair of environmental and civil engineering and director of the Engineering Honors Program. “She has supported four Go Baby Go adaptive technology build events and participated in a variety of research and design projects. Her potential is practically unlimited.”

Kelly will be interning at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) this summer where she will research sustainable low-carbon construction and building materials. She’ll then attend Villanova University in the fall to pursue an M.S. in sustainable engineering.

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Kennedy Mays

Kennedy Mays, from Savannah, was a computer engineering major.

“I am deeply honored to receive the GEM Fellowship. It is an amazing opportunity to pursue my passion without financial burden,” Mays said. “I look forward to using this opportunity to learn from the best minds in innovative technology so that I can create innovative technology myself.”

At Mercer, Mays was a member and previous chair of the Mercer Chapter Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and was on the Dean’s list and President’s list. She also conducted research alongside Dr. Andy Digh, associate professor of computer science, and Dr. Frank McNally, assistant professor of physics.

“More than anyone else in the research group, Kennedy proved capable of taking on a specific challenge and seeing it through to completion,” said Dr.  McNally. “She’s also detail-oriented, helping establish a note-taking system that became the standard. Kennedy manages to be both an excellent group-work contributor and fiercely independent. I’m excited to see what she does next.”

After graduation, Mays plans to attend Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Science in Software Management (MSSM) program this fall.

About GEM
The mission of The National GEM Consortium is to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of primarily underrepresented groups (African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanic Americans) at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science.

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