41st Annual MLK Celebration Leadership Award Recipient: Kelvin Frazier

Kelvin Frazier PhD '15

Fifth-year doctoral student in physical chemistry

41st Annual MLK Leadership Award

Kelvin Frazier PhD '15, a fifth-year doctoral student in physical chemistry, was awarded the graduate-student MLK Leadership Award for his contribution to graduate-student life and for his work with under-served and under-represented students in STEM. He was also among the invited student speakers at the 41st Annual Celebration.

Frazier earned his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and in Mathematics (2010) from Savannah State University, which resides in his hometown of Savannah, GA. He joined the Swager lab at MIT in the fall of 2010 as a physical chemistry graduate student. His work focuses on developing highly stable and robust gas/liquid sensors based on functionalized nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene.

He served as the 2011-12 president of the Academy of Courageous Minority Engineers (ACME) and as the 2013-14 president of Black Graduate Students Association (BGSA), for which he was recognized with a BGSA Member of the Year award.

BGSA and ACME members with rap legend/entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh at the 2nd annual Personal Branding Workshop. Photo: Division of Student Life, 2015

Both roles led Frazier to co-found the popular Personal Branding Workshop at MIT, an event attended by approximately 100 participants in February of 2015 (and featuring as keynote rapper and entrepreneur Doug E. Fresh). The workshop — co-sponsored by the BGSA and ACME with support from the MIT Division of Student Life — dug into the topic of helping entrepreneurs develop a brand strategy for themselves that will leave a lasting impression on their audience, be they venture capitalists, hiring managers, or customers.

“By having these strategy and development sessions, we can really help attendees recognize some of the weaknesses in their ideas and workshop them,” said Frazier. “A lot of the people here know how to make something great, or how to develop new technology, but we want to make sure people can leave the workshop with actionable items.”

Kelvin Frazier delivers remarks at the 41st Annual MLK Celebration, 2015