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Crystal Green (photo inset) a lead instructor with the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), successfully defended her dissertation on March 19 at the University of Michigan.

“Thanks to all my family and friends for their love and support,” Crystal wrote on her Facebook wall. “And most of all I thank God for ordering my steps through this process. #PHInisheD.”

While working on her doctoral degree in nuclear engineering and radiological sciences, Crystal taught high school students about nuclear engineering.

“DAPCEP allowed me flexibility in creating a curriculum to get students who look like me interested in nuclear engineering,” she told US Black Engineer magazine.

DAPCEP, a regular participant at Career Communications Group (CCG) conferences, has been changing lives through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) since 1976. Their alumni have gone on to become engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, computer scientists, and more.

Crystal, who is on track to graduate in May 2019, plans to work as an imaging medical physicist at a university hospital, conduct medical physics related research, and teach.

Currently, Green is a member of the American Nuclear Society, the Radiological Sciences of North America, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. She was a leader in organizing a two-day conference as president of the Society of Minority Engineers and Scientists Graduate Component.

She also assisted the University of Michigan College of Engineering in the recruitment of underrepresented minorities to graduate school by recruiting at NSBE conferences.

Here are excerpts from a recent conversation with USBE.

I enjoy math and physics. I was originally a math education major but decided to change to nuclear engineering. I saw a presentation about nuclear engineering that included medical physics while I was in the South Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-AMP) summer bridge program in undergrad. I liked the idea of using ionizing radiation to help treat and diagnose various diseases.

Dr. Musa Danjaji was an undergraduate professor who pushed me to go above and beyond. Dr. Kenneth Lewis was dean of my undergrad and motivated me to apply to Michigan for graduate school. Dr. John Foster is a mentor and professor at the University of Michigan who has given me advice on navigating academia and has inspired me to pursue a career in academia.

Currently, I’m running an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved proof-of-concept study with patient volunteers to test my deformable registration algorithm in a clinical setting to register breast lesions between 3D X-Ray and 3D ultrasound images.

(An IRB is a group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects.)

What’s next?

Imaging Physics Residency. Then work as a board-certified medical physicist.

Best Advice

Find a supportive community to help you thrive, to get involved in activities outside of graduate school and do not isolate yourself. The best things tend to not go according to your plan, they are typically beyond what you can even imagine. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

My favorite things

Harry Potter series, the Bible, novels by (Christian writer) Kim Cash Tate. Dancing and travel.

Crystal Green is the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year – Student Leadership Award Winner.

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