Trustee Election

2022 nominees for General Trustee included:

Yoonjeong (YJ) Cha ‘09 (TA ’13)

Yoonjeong (YJ) Cha ‘09, TA ’13 is Senior Director of Computational Biology at Immuneering. Her work focuses on using computational approaches for drug discovery and development. She utilizes transcriptomic and genomic data to identify novel targets and drug candidates for central nervous system diseases. She has authored nine publications including papers on data analysis best practices in drug discovery. She earned a B.S. in Computer Science and Molecular Biology from MIT in 2015. As an undergraduate, she directed two high school programs through the MIT Educational Studies Program.

 In the past three years, YJ has actively served SSP on the committee that took the SSP Connect mentorship program from idea to reality. This past spring, she also volunteered on the Admissions Committee. She is passionate about making education accessible.

It is a great honor to be nominated to the SSP Board of Trustees. Like many alumni, I found SSP transformational because of the community and the educational challenge. While it was only 6 weeks, its impact has been much more profound. At SSP, I first learned how to code and analyze data, skills that formed the foundation of my career as a computational biologist. I was excited to help initiate the SSP Connect program, where young alumni can find a place to continue their engagement with the community through mentorship. Through my experience as a participant, TA, and SSP Connect committee member, I have seen first hand how these resources are crucial for students who otherwise do not have this support as they move on to college and then into their careers. As a board member, I would like to explore ways we can reach more underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students who would gain so much through SSP.

Clint Chapple

Clint Chapple Headshot

Clint Chapple’s research on the biosynthesis of the plant cell wall polymer lignin has contributed to our understanding of how lignin content and composition can be manipulated in plants, a topic that has implications for the use of lignocellulosic feedstocks in industry and agriculture. Chapple attended the University of Guelph, from which he received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in botany and his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1989, after which he did post-doctoral research at Michigan State University in the Department of Energy Plant Research Lab. In 1993 he joined the Department of Biochemistry and served as head from 2008 to 2015. From 2015 to 2020 he served as Director of the Purdue Center for Plant Biology. Chapple was recognized with Purdue’s Herbert Newby McCoy Award in 2011, and was recently inducted into the Book of Great Teachers. In 2002, he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in 2020 a Fellow of the American Association of Plant Biologists, and in 2022, a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the editorial boards of The Plant Journal, Plant Physiology, The Plant Cell, and Annual Reviews of Plant Biology.

I am excited at the prospect of contributing to SSP and I am honored to have been nominated to serve on its Board of Trustees. From personal experience, I know the impact that a transformative research experience can have on the academic trajectory and career path of young people. I was a first-generation college student, and because of a summer research opportunity in a faculty member’s lab, I realized that I wanted to pursue an academic research career. I have taught introductory biochemistry to first semester freshmen for fifteen years. I am very deliberate in guiding as many of them as possible into lab research experiences as early as possible and have hosted dozens in my own lab during my career. I had the opportunity to support the development of the SSP biochemistry curriculum when I was Head of the Department of Biochemistry. It has been a pleasure to see it succeed and be replicated at multiple campuses across the country. I am excited at the idea of being able to work to help diversify the SSP student body and see them be inspired to pursue rewarding career opportunities in the future.

Quinton McArthur

Quinton McArthur Headshot

Quinton McArthur has been the Senior Associate Director for Diversity in the MBA Admissions Office at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania since 2020. Previously, Quinton was the Director of Multicultural Recruitment and Associate Director of Admissions at MIT where he worked for nine years. He held prior positions at Rowan University, University of Maryland at College Park, The Education Trust, College Summit, and Menlo School. In total, Quinton has over 17 years of experience working in college admissions, counseling, and college access work. He holds a Master’s degree in Education Policy & Higher Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in psychology.

Quinton is a longtime advocate for diversity and inclusion in higher education, particularly for underrepresented students in STEM. As Director of Multicultural Recruitment at MIT, he increased the pool of Black and Latinx SAT high scorers, increasing the quality of enrolled students, and enrolling the largest class of Black and Latinx students in MIT’s history. He led the design, development, and execution of a 14-day summer program called √mathroots@MIT for high achieving Black and Latinx high school students. This program continues.

I am honored that the Summer Science Program has identified me as a candidate for the Board of Directors. SSP is a program that I have admired for many years because of its history of creating community, imbuing confidence, and cultivating an enthusiasm for science in young people. SSP enjoys a sterling reputation in many admissions offices. It is broadly understood that its alumni are intellectual, hardworking, collaborative, and just plain fun!

My goals for my tenure on the board are threefold. First, I hope to help SSP expand outreach to include more Black, Latinx, Native/Indigenous, first generation college (FGC), and low-income applicants. Second, I want to provide strategic counsel on the evaluation and selection process to ensure that we are evaluating candidates holistically and contextually. Third, I want to ensure that all participants, particularly those from underrepresented populations, develop strong senses of belonging by establishing excellent relationships with peers, faculty, and staff. These goals will make the new generation of scientists even more diverse and dynamic than their predecessors.

Martha Oakley (AAD ’18, AD ‘19-‘21)

Martha Oakley Headshot

I am a Professor of Chemistry at Indiana University, where I have been since 1996. I have twice served as Associate Chair for Teaching and Curriculum in Chemistry, where I led the first overhaul of our undergraduate curriculum in over forty years, and I have also served as Director of Graduate Studies and Interim Director of the Interdepartmental Graduate Biochemistry Program. Since 2021, I have served as Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at IU.

My research interests are in protein structure and function. I have taught graduate and undergraduate courses, and have received faculty- and student-nominated teaching awards, including the President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2020), the highest teaching award the university offers. I am deeply involved in efforts to improve equity and effectiveness in undergraduate education in STEM, both through my role at in the Vice Provost’s office and through participation in multi-university initiatives such as the Sloan Equity and Inclusion in STEM Introductory Courses (SEISMIC) Initiative and the Bayview Alliance. I credit SSP with changing my philosophy on grading; I have implemented a mastery-based grading approach in a section of our general chemistry course.

I am honored by the nomination to serve on the Board of Directors for SSP. Although my current administrative responsibilities preclude my serving on the summer faculty, I remain deeply committed to this program. There is something magical about getting together 36 talented and curious participants, challenging them beyond their expectations, and watching them grow both intellectually and personally. There is a wonderful freedom in the classroom at SSP, where participants love to ask difficult questions and are also willing to take risks as we struggle together to work a problem or master a difficult concept. It has been very exciting to be involved in the expansion of the Biochemistry program at SSP. My participation as a faculty member in its early years gave me an extremely useful perspective on the challenges of expanding the program to make it available to as many talented students as we can. I also believe that it is vitally important for SSP to expand its programming in a way that encourages participation of more students from under-resourced high schools and from groups historically excluded from STEM . I truly believe SSP will continue to shape scientists—and those who apply their skills in other areas—for generations to come, and I would be very proud to be part of those efforts.