Grad Member Spotlight: Malika Grayson

30 May 2016

Malika headshot IMG_5662

Malika Grayson

PhD Candidate, Mechanical Engineering, graduating May 2016

Cornell University



Malika has been the Co-Director and Director of GradSWE from 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, respectively. In this position, Malika worked with fellow board members on planning professional, social, and outreach events including participation in Relay for Life. Cornell GradSWE also managed to increase attendance to more than 100 persons for some events.

Malika has been recognized for her hard work with the Rudd Mayer Fellowship in 2015 from the Women of Wind Energy. She has also received the Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Award (2015), the National Society of Black Engineers Mike Shin Distinguished Member of the Year (2015), Cornell Engineering Hometown Hero (2015), Diversity Programs in Engineering Graduate Student of the Year (2013-2014), Diversity Programs in Engineering Robert Mozia Award for Outstanding Service (2013).

Congratulations, Malika, on all your hard work and on your successful defense and graduation with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.


What is your degree program (MS/PhD, department)? When do you expect to graduate?

I am currently a PhD Candidate and I expected to graduate in May 2016. I defended in January.


Give a brief explanation of your research.

My research focuses on changing the geometry of a building to increase the potential energy yield above the rooftop of buildings. By changing a building’s structure, the flow can be accelerated, increasing the wind speed which results in an increase in extractable wind power. Research experiments have shown that simple facade changes can increase the power that can be extracted by as much as 500% above the roof.


What do you hope to do with your degree? What are your career goals?

I hope with my degree to be a trailblazer for other females in engineering. Being the only black female PhD candidate in my program and only the second one to graduate with a PhD in Mechanical engineering, it is important I use my degree as an example that it is achievable. One of my main goals is to encourage high school females to stay involved with STEM.

After graduating I will be working at Northrop Grumman Corporation.


What are some of your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I volunteer at the local high school as well as with local groups in Ithaca. I love painting and outdoor activities such as hiking. I enjoy traveling and I look forward to stamping my passport a lot more after graduation 🙂


What’s a fun fact about you?

I changed my first flat tire at age of 15.


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