ADI Spotlight: Néhémie Guillomaitre

Feb. 15, 2022
Nehemie's Picture in Profile

Néhémie Guillomaitre

Department: Chemical and Biological Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: Columbia University

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

ADI Affiliations:

Tell us about your background.

I am the youngest child born to Haitian-immigrant parents. I am first-gen and low income. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, which arguably the best place to be at any given time.

How has ADI programming impacted you? 

ADI has helped me to connect with peers I can relate to, which I especially appreciated during COVID times because it was really difficult to meet people, much less the people you connect with. With ADI I got placed into the Grad Scholars Program (GSP), where I met some cool people I still talk to and hang out with today. Now I am a GSP Peer Mentor.

What advice would you give prospective, incoming, and/or first year underrepresented Princeton graduate students?

I would tell them to relax, because they made it. This journey may lead to a doctoral degree, but for now they can take a deep breath, reassess, and regroup. Now that you're at Princeton, you've done all the stuff that required you to stay up and grind. Now it's a longer run, and you gotta pace yourself so you don't tire out before the end. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

What's been most helpful to you in acclimating to Princeton?

Two things: My GSP Pod (and my amazing pod leader Amari Tankard, who is an awesome person who made us all feel very welcome and seen, and continues to be a close friend) and Pre-Doc Meetings with Dean Miller, who was always there to cheer me on and really made me feel like there was someone in my corner and an anchor I could turn to if I needed direction in the wide world of resources that Princeton offers.

What should the ADI community know about you?

I enjoy learning about new things, which is why I enjoy watching a lot of international movies because I learn about different cultures in the process. In line with that, I also really enjoy reading books, to the point that I used to get in trouble in elementary school for reading too much! Apparently yes, that's a thing.

What do you know now that you wish you'd known before?

It's okay to show up not knowing anything. I used to have a fear of showing up to office hours and the like without having any work done. I almost felt like I didn't deserve the help unless I had proven I put in the work. I learned that it's okay to think about the problem and come with ideas to discuss; I don't have to be halfway done with it. In general - be more okay with asking for help before unnecessarily struggling first. You don't have to do anything additional to earn the aid, it's here for you to take.

What activities do you engage in beyond research?

I love learning new things, so I have a lot of hobbies. I love to dance (salsa, bachata, kompa, dancehall, hip hop), I enjoy listening to music all the time, I paint, I draw, and I have made several short films.

I’m also passionate about volunteering.  I work with high-achieving, underprivileged high school students around the world to mentor them in the process of researching, writing, and publishing papers to the greater science community about STEM topics of their choice.

With PUPP (Princeton University Preparatory Program), I work with high-performing low-income students in a Trenton high school and come up with lesson plans geared towards teaching them skills to be ready for college.

I, along with a team, have also just begun an initiative to work with a class of high school girls in Zimbabwe.  We teach them about research in STEM and help them learn the tools they need for success beyond high school and to achieve their dreams of going to a school in America.

What's your side hustle?

I braid hair! I've been doing it as a side hustle for about 3 years now, and I'd say I'm pretty good :) DM me for an appointment!

What's the most interesting thing about you?

I am currently learning my seventh language, Korean.  The others are Haitian Creole, English, French, Spanish, American Sign Language, and Chinese.

How would your friends describe you?

My friends are my chosen family, and I have been blessed to meet some very awesome people in my life. I would say my friends would describe me as a very selfless loyal friend who is always there with a listening ear and advice, and a sarcastic jokester who leads a double life (because of my strict parents and all haha). All jokes aside, I guess I don't really know what my friends would say of me, except what they've told me on occasion and what I'd like to think they see me as— someone who makes their life that much better every time they interact with me :)