The Chemical Engineering (ChE) Department is awarding its 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards to Christine Seymour ’95PhD and Kokui Francisca Adesokan ’09. Seymour will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award, while Adesokan will be presented with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
The Distinguished Alumni Award goes to “visionary leaders in their field. Recipients of this honor have reached exceptional levels of professional and personal achievement. This award recognizes distinguished leadership, service, teaching, innovation, and other exemplary accomplishments that positively impact society and the engineering profession.”
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented to “emerging leaders in the early stages of their careers. Recipients of this honor are no more than 10 years out from receiving their UMass engineering degree. This award recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements and highlights the recipient’s ambitions and potential to positively impact UMass, the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.”
Seymour is presently a director in Regulatory Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls at Pfizer Inc., where she leads regulatory strategy and implementation for a portfolio of biological projects across all phases of drug development and commercialization. She has led the regulatory strategy for products such as Xalkori, Xanax, and Viagra. Previously, she led chemical process development research teams at Pharmacia Corporation and at G.D. Searle for products such as Celebrex and Inspra.
Seymour has served on the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Board of Directors and was the 2018 AIChE president. She serves on the Society of Biological Engineering Board of Directors and was the founding chair of the AIChE Pharmaceutical Discovery Development and Manufacturing Forum. She was elected as an AIChE Fellow in 2011 (the youngest member ever elected Fellow) and received the AIChE Epstein Award for Technical Programming in 2012.
Recently, she received a 2020 Woman of Innovation Award from the Connecticut Technology Council and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.
Seymour serves on advisory boards for the Chemical Engineering Departments at the Lehigh University (previously the council chair) and the University of Arizona, and she is the vice chair for the Lehigh University Engineering Dean’s Council. She is an invited lecturer at the Albany School of Pharmacy.
Seymour recently edited the book Comprehensive Quality by Design for Pharmaceutical Product Development and Manufacture.
Seymour lives in East Lyme, Connecticut, with her husband of 28 years, Regan, who is also a UMass Amherst ChE alum (M.S. ’91). Seymour says they keep busy with endless house projects, and for vacations “they like to go on epic camping and hiking journeys in national parks.” she is also a yoga instructor.
Adesokan is an associate director and engineering manager providing strategic direction and technical leadership to a multi-disciplinary team of engineers on the Geared Turbofan engine programs in the Externals engineering organization at Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut. Her team designs, analyzes, and ensures industrialization of over a hundred Externals hardware to meet performance and safety requirements. She is also responsible for managing a multi-million-dollar yearly budget.
In 2020, Adesokan received one of the Trailblazer Spectrum Awards at the Black Engineer of the Year Conference. In 2019, she received the Professional Achievement in Industry Award at the Women of Color STEM Conference. This prestigious award recognizes professionals for their achievement as leaders and role models in industry and the community.
In 2017, Adesokan was selected as an Emerging Leader for the national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production Ahead Award, sponsored by the Manufacturing Institute. The award recognizes women in the manufacturing industry who are making a difference through advocacy, mentorship, engagement, promotion, and leadership.
In addition to Adesokan’s B.S. degree from UMass Amherst, she earned an M.B.A. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). In addition, Adesokan was featured in the WPI Winter 2018 and the UMass October 2018 newsletters.
Adesokan attends career fairs at local schools and delivers keynote speeches to inspire underrepresented students to pursue engineering careers. She delivered an inspiring keynote speech at the UMass Amherst Women in Engineering and Computing Day Conference attended by over 200 high school girls. Adesokan also serves on the UMass Amherst College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.
Adesokan says she enjoys spending time with her husband and her 1.5-year-old daughter, exploring various cuisines, and traveling internationally. (April 2021)