2021 Outstanding Recent Graduate Award
Alejandro Diasgranados, Ed '18, '19
Lauded by district leaders and national education organizations—and loved by families and colleagues—Alejandro Diasgranados is an educator who empowers his students to become agents of change. A fourth- and fifth-grade English and social studies teacher at Aiton Elementary school in Northeast Washington, D.C., Diasgranados was named the 2021 D.C. Teacher of the Year by Mayor Muriel Bowser, who praised his outstanding leadership and commitment to student achievement. The award also singled him out for devising projects that inspire in his students “a joy of learning that has translated into advocacy for issues important throughout the District.” For one of those projects, Diasgranados won a Washington Redskins Foundation grant that enabled him to install an onsite school laundry center for families to use for free. In another, his students wrote letters to Washington Capitals star Devante Smith-Pelly, who was inspired to make a surprise visit to their class. During the coronavirus pandemic, he was commended for assuring that his students were engaged, using multiple phone applications to connect with them and their families. “Mr. Dias,” as he is known by his students, was also one of 51 teachers nationally to receive the 2021 Sanford Teacher Award, which recognized him for “going above and beyond for his students, using his own story as inspiration to show them that they can succeed.” The most fitting example – in 2018, he brought his entire class to his Johns Hopkins School of Education graduation ceremony to see him receive his master’s degree in education.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglass
Allysa Dittmar, A&S '14, BSPH '17
Elyse Heob, BSPH '18, Bus '18
Aaron Hsu, A&S '14, BSPH '15
Inez Lam, Engr '16
Through their company, ClearMask, LLC, Allysa Dittmar, Elyse Heob, Aaron Hsu, and Inez Lam designed the world’s first FDA-cleared, fully transparent surgical mask, and have sold 17,000,000 masks worldwide since April 2020. Their transparent masks are an equitable, accessible, and safe alternative to traditional masks for individuals who rely on visual communication to communicate and connect with others. Their impact has expanded exponentially during the pandemic, removing barriers in communities and workplaces via national governments, state and federal agencies, hospitals, clinics, universities, schools, and many more. While their work is particularly relevant today as communities use masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, the product’s concept has a deeply personal origin for co-founder Allysa Dittmar. Allysa, who was born profoundly deaf, realized the need for this product when she was unexpectedly left unable to communicate with her surgical team. She and her team developed hundreds of prototypes to maximize clarity, comfort, and human connection, and have expanded product lines to offer a consumer mask and a FDA-cleared mask in different sizes. Critical investments in their work have come through awards and grants, including support from the Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab.
Elizabeth Galbut, Bus '15
Elizabeth has been recognized as a 30 under 30 in Venture Capital by Forbes in 2018. She earned this distinction by starting A-Level Capital while a student at Carey, and has grown that student-led venture capital group into two Venture Capital Funds supporting companies that have a JHU Founder. The second fund in fundraising now is on-track to be more than $2 million. Fund I has had tremendous success supporting JHU Founders and Entrepreneurs. Additionally, Elizabeth founded the first female-founded venture capital firm in Los Angeles - SoGal Ventures. Their first fund raised $15 million. She and SoGal Ventures have been featured in multiple publications, including CNBC, BBC, Reuters, Fortune, Forbes, and others.
Timian Godfrey, Nurs '19
Timian Godfrey is the first Native American to graduate from the Doctor of Nursing Practice- Executive program at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She was selected as a Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholar and the recipient of the Nurse Leader Executive Mentorship award. She also simultaneously received her Public Health Training Certificate for American Indian Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health during her time as a doctorate student. Timian served as a leader and mentor in both programs and graduated with honors. Since graduating, she continues to pursue academic and professional growth. Timian was selected as a scholar in the Native Research Ambassador Program at the University of Kansas medical school because of her keen interest in research and policy development. Additionally, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development selected Timian to receive the Top 40 Under 40 Award; she was honored as the Young Alumna of the Year at her alma mater, Southern Utah University; and she received the 2021 American Association of Nurse Practitioners State Excellence Award. She is currently pursuing her post DNP to PhD degree at Arizona State University. She is on faculty at the University of Arizona School of Nursing, Community & Systems Health Science Division, where she is making a significant impact on the health of indigenous people.
Brandon Johnson, BSPH '12
Brandon Johnson, MH, MCHES, is a tireless advocate for positive mental health and suicide prevention services for youth and adults across the country. Brandon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Morgan State University in 2008 and a Master of Health Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. Currently, he serves as a Public Health Advisor at the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Suicide Prevention Branch at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, Brandon serves as a Government Project Officer (GPO) for various suicide prevention grant programs that target youth, adults, and health care systems. Brandon is also the GPO for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), which provides suicide-specific materials, webinars, and training to organizations and communities all over the country working to prevent suicides. Brandon is also the Co-Lead of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Faith Communities Task Force, and serves as the subject matter expert in suicide among Black people within the agency. He has led numerous projects to develop resources and materials to specifically prevent suicide among African-American youth, including representing SAMHSA on the 2020 HHS Report to Congress on African American Youth Suicide. Brandon is the creator of “The Black Mental Wellness Lounge,” a YouTube channel dedicated to discussing Black mental health and healing.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.“ – Unknown
"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once, but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own." – Michelle Obama
Vikram Krishnasamy, BSPH '14
Vikram Krishnasamy is a CDC medical officer working to address America’s drug overdose crisis. His work has involved collaborating with law enforcement and public health partners to assist patients on opioid therapy affected by clinic closures. He also developed an online training program for public health partners that gave them tools to understand the overdose epidemic. In October 2020, he was awarded the Emerging Leaders Service to America Medal for his work from the Partnership for Public Service. Vikram holds board certifications in internal medicine and preventive medicine, and also completed CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service. He continues to provide clinical care in a free clinic in Clarkston, GA.
“…a problem well put is half solved.” – John Dewey
Pava LaPere, A&S '19
Pava LaPere is a community-focused young entrepreneur who has made waves both as a student at Hopkins as well as a recent alumna. As early as her freshman year, she began founding ventures that still thrive at Hopkins today, and since her graduation in 2019, she has only become more driven and prolific. Pava founded her first venture, TCO Labs, Inc., as a freshman hoping to kindle her peers’ interest in the Baltimore entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a sophomore, she founded The Hatchery at Johns Hopkins, the only undergraduate student incubator offering mentorship, education, and access to resources. In her senior year, Pava created Innov8MD, a nonprofit existing outside of Johns Hopkins that connects student entrepreneur leaders at 15 Maryland colleges and universities. Her final student venture, EcoMap Technologies, Inc., exists as a living map that links Baltimore entrepreneurs to resources in their area by using AI and algorithms. Though she had already founded two entrepreneurial groups to support students on their innovation journeys, after her graduation she founded two additional accelerator programs at JHTV’s FastForward U—the FFU Spark Accelerator and the FFUel Accelerator programs. The Spark program caters to early-stage ventures and provides education on entrepreneurship basics, while the FFUel program guides later-stage ventures and prepares students to get their startups on the market and in front of investors. Pava is a dedicated volunteer who consistently serves on career panels and participates in university activities, and she is always eager to share her wisdom and insights.
Ayushi Mishra, Engr '16
Ayushi Mishra, Forbes 30 Under 30 (Asia), is a Biomedical Engineer and holds an MS Engineering Management from Johns Hopkins University. She started her first venture, Marigold Health, while still in graduate school. It is a digital health platform with Artificial Intelligence to scale peer support and therapy. Marigold Health is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health and Rock Health foundation. In late 2017, she moved to India to work on DronaMaps, a company cofounded by her longtime friend and fellow Hopkins student – Utkarsh Singh. DronaMaps specializes in large-scale mapping with drones and extraction of geospatial analytics from it. Ayushi is passionate about using emerging technology to positively impact the human condition. DronaMaps has been used for drone-based mapping of over 100 villages and 10 urban areas across India. They pioneered the integration of drone maps with existing enterprise giants like ESRI and SAP, and their contribution to Artificial Intelligence was recognized by Economic Times in a ceremony chaired by Steve Wozniak. During the Covid-19 Crisis, DronaMaps volunteered their platform to seven states across India acting as a command and control center. The deployment was inspired by Hopkins Covid-19 dashboards, but ended up providing deeper analytics, like patient tracking, healthcare infrastructure tracking, containment and hotspot analysis, and predictions on spatial and epidemiological spread of the disease at a district level for almost 130 districts across India. Ayushi has been named by Vogue Magazine as one of eight women in STEM leading the battle against Covid-19 in India.
"Disciplinary silos, finding patterns where others see none."
“Finding, envisioning, and then enforcing a structure on chaos, is the only skill that matters in this day and age. It requires flying above.”
Adegoke Olubusi, Engr '16
Adegoke “Goke” Olubusi is co-founder and CEO of Helium Health, a healthcare technology provider working in several African countries to accelerate the continent’s healthcare field transition to a data and technology driven healthcare system. For decades, African hospitals had been operating entirely manually. The result was a major lack in accurate data about the patients they were treating. The situation prompted Goke and two other entrepreneurs to launch Helium Health. Helium Health’s flagship product is used by over 300 hospitals and serves 165,000 patients per month. His work through Helium Health has taken on even greater impact due to COVID-19. Over 250 hospitals signed up to work with Helium Health in the spring of 2020 to gain access to Helium Teleclinic, a platform that enables brick and mortar hospitals to conduct televisits. The company continues to raise its profile, having recently raised $10 million in Series A round. For his work, Goke has been recognized as a 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree, Future Africa Awards Honoree, and a recipient of several notable awards across the globe from Chevron, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, the State of Maryland, the Nigerian President, and more. Goke also serves as a Managing Partner of Magic Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm. Goke was invited to join the Delta Under 30 Advisory Board where members are tasked with re-imagining the passenger experience. Finally, Goke is passionate about helping the next generation of Hopkins engineers and has participated on student-facing panels on international careers and entrepreneurship.
Kaitlyn Sadtler, Med '16
Kaitlyn Sadtler is currently the Chief of the Section on Immuno-Engineering at the National Institutes of Health. She began her lab at NIBIB after a postdoc at MIT. There, she was awarded a Ruth L Kirschstein Fellowship for her work on immunology and tissue engineering. She completed her Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University where she showed a critical role for Th2-T cells in biomaterial-mediated muscle regeneration. Her research has been published in journals such as Science, Nature Methods, Nature Communications, and others. She was recognized as a 2018 TED Fellow and delivered a TED talk that has been viewed more than 2.4 million times and listed as one of the top-viewed talks of 2018. Dr. Sadtler was selected for the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Science and as a 2020 TEDMED Research Scholar. Since starting her laboratory as the only female PI in the main engineering institute of the NIH, Dr. Sadtler has lent her lab’s expertise to the fight against COVID-19, launching the NIH Trans-IC Serologic Survey to determine the number of undiagnosed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States via remote blood sampling and antibody testing. She was selected for a Special Act or Service award from the NIH that is rarely awarded to such young investigators.