Buckeyes participate in inaugural U.S.-Africa science, engineering and medicine symposium

Posted: November 2, 2022

Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Aeriel Leonard was invited as a delegate at the first U.S.-Africa Frontiers of Science, Engineering and Medicine Symposium hosted by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and the African Academy of Sciences. Computer Science and Engineering Professor Tanya Berger-Wolf was on the organizing committee and co-led a plenary session on biodiversity at the event, held Oct. 12-14 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Leonard was chosen as one of 100 total delegates from the U.S. and Africa out of more than 1,000 applicants. To qualify, delegates must be an emerging leader in science, engineering or medicine with recognizable contributions to advancing their fields.

The U.S.-Africa program brings together outstanding young scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from the U.S. and the member countries of the African Union to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in their fields. The goal of meetings like this is to enhance the scientific exchange and dialogue among young researchers and, through this interaction, to facilitate research collaboration within and beyond the region.

Leonard at symposium
Leonard at the symposium​​​​​​

In addition to the biodiversity track Berger-Wolf helped organize, the symposium featured sessions to explore the research frontiers of artificial intelligence, materials science, climate change and food security, and infectious diseases.

Leonard presented her research on advanced characterization techniques, such as scanning transmission electron microscopy, to understand dislocation interactions within the microstructure during mechanical loading.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Leonard. “And one of the first times I thought about the global impact of my research beyond the technical problems.”

Berger-Wolf, who holds a joint appointment in computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and leads the National Science Foundation-funded Imageomics Institute at Ohio State, said that Leonard’s invitation is testament to her innovation and scholarship.


“It was inspiring, invigorating and exhilarating to be with this brilliant group of scientists for three days,” she said. “I’m proud to have played a role in bringing them together and excited to see what new connections emerge and where they take science. Many conversations grew beyond those present at the meeting and will engage many members of the Ohio State community, leveraging our breadth and strengths.”

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