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Grads to Celebrate ’23

Meet a few members of the outstanding class of ’23 — each with a unique Northwestern direction.

Image: Shane Collins


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ramzy Issa came to Northwestern as a Posse Scholar. Issa’s family is from Palestine, and during his time on campus he served as a co-president of the Middle East and North African Student Association. A neuroscience and global health double major in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Issa has focused his research on Arab American health, a subject he will continue to explore next year in the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program




Julia Shalansky began her college career on a premedicine track but switched her major to human development and global health in the School of Education and Social Policy to learn about the roots of global health issues. A member of the varsity fencing team for four years, Shalansky also took a leadership role on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Originally from Providence, R.I., Shalansky was involved in Northwestern Hillel and worked with the Athletics Department to establish a Jewish student-athlete alliance. 




At the recommendation of her Northwestern roommate, Vibhu Kolli took a public speaking course in the School of Communication and never looked back. As a communication studies major, Kolli explored different subjects across communications and data science while also taking premedicine courses and ultimately discovering a particular passion for reproductive health. Originally from Wisconsin, Kolli is applying to doctor of medicine and master’s of public health programs to pursue her interests in women’s health. 




An American studies major with minors in French and sociological research at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Dori-Taylor Carter has been involved with the Rainbow Alliance on campus, working to make the University a more hospitable place for LGBTQ+ students. Carter, who came to Northwestern from Los Angeles as a Posse Scholar, is also the recipient of a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. As part of that program, which is designed to help diversify the professoriate, Carter will attend the University of California, Berkeley, to pursue a doctorate in sociology. 




A member of the Northwestern chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, Bill Yen is a mechanical engineering major pursuing a Segal Design Certificate and a minor in environmental engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering. Yen’s research focuses on sustainability and food, and during his time on campus he began a project to build a fully automated aquaponics system for fish and plants in the Ford Engineering Building. Originally from Glencoe, Ill., Yen will begin a doctoral program in electrical engineering at Stanford University this fall.  




A double major in international studies at Weinberg College and journalism at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, Samantha Aguilar volunteered with the Special Olympics during her time on campus, coaching volleyball, swimming, track and field, and more. Originally from Omaha, Aguilar is also a member of the Northwestern chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She completed an internship at a nonprofit in San Jose, Costa Rica, the summer before her senior year and also participated in Medill on the Hill, a program that brings students to Washington, D.C., to report on politics from Capitol Hill. 




Originally from Potomac, Md., Will Fowler is majoring in both trombone performance in the Bienen School of Music and political science at Weinberg College. Blending the two fields, Fowler strives to understand the political contexts of his favorite composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich. For his success as a trombonist, Fowler credits his work with the Bienen trombone faculty, including senior lecturer Michael Mulcahy, as well as conducting and ensembles professor Mallory Thompson ’79, ’80 MMus and lecturer Shawn Vondran. Fowler is the only undergraduate member of Bienen’s Untitled Quartet, which won the top prize in the American Trombone Workshop’s 2023 national quartet competition presented by the U.S. Army Band. 

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