Novalia Pishesha (Nova) is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her thesis revolves around utilizing genetic and protein engineering techniques to generate high value, über functional red blood cells (RBCs) in the laboratories of Prof. Harvey Lodish and Prof. Hidde Ploegh at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. As a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Student Research fellow and Schlumberger Faculty for the Future fellow, she has employed these engineered RBCs for treating autoimmune diseases and providing long-lasting protection against lethal toxins, with several other applications to come. During her time in the labs, Nova has mentored four undergraduate students on projects that expand the novel applications of these engineered RBCs as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Additionally, she has served as a teaching assistant for 2 courses: Laboratory Fundamentals in Biological Engineering and Molecular & Engineering Aspects of Biotechnology. Aside from research and teaching, Nova is strongly committed in increasing diversity in STEM fields. She is highly involved in the MIT Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) Diversity Initiatives, serving as an MIT summer research program assistant as well as a GradCatalyst Fellow (http://gradcatalyst.com/about). She has also served as a co-director of MIT Women’s Initiative program. Her other passion is to advance the quality of scientific research and higher education in her home country, Indonesia. To start, she is currently the president of Association of Indonesian Students at MIT and helps coordinate the scholar division of Indonesian Students Association in the United States (Massachusetts chapter), aiming to foster connections amongst the community of Indonesian scholars in the Greater Boston Area. She is also leading a team of Indonesian students who are voluntarily translating the Lodish’ Molecular Cell Biology textbook into Bahasa Indonesia such that it can be distributed cheaply and more broadly in Indonesia. Prior to MIT, Nova studied at City College of San Francisco before transferring to University of California at Berkeley in her junior year, supported entirely by the university’s merit scholarships and leadership awards. She finished her B.S. in Bioengineering in December 2011 and was awarded the Departmental Citation in Bioengineering.