Building a Life in Science

  • Speakers
  • Daniel Alabi, Ph.D.Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Data Science Institute, Columbia University
  • Yehoda Martei, M.D.Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Vice Chief of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity Hematology-Oncology Division, University of Pennsylvania
  • Arthur MusahDirector, Producer, Brief Tender Light
Date & Time


Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium
160 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010 United States

View Map

Doors open: 5:30 p.m. (No entrance before 5:30 p.m.)

In Conversation: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. (Admittance closes at 6:20 p.m.)

Reception: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.

About Presents
Presents is a free events series exploring the connections between science, culture and society. Join our scientists and special guests as they discuss the intersections of their work, followed by an evening of conversation over drinks. It’s an opportunity to hear new perspectives that may challenge your assumptions and stoke your curiosity. Meet interesting people who share a passion for ideas and discovery. Come for the conversation, stay for the connections.

Bringing untold stories to light can help us better understand our own journeys and the world around us. The more narratives we share, the clearer the tapestry of our shared reality becomes.

Ghanaian director Arthur Musah recently premiered his documentary, “Brief Tender Light,” which follows four African STEM students learning to navigate academia in the United States while striving to become agents of positive change back home. Supported by Sandbox Films, the film invites audiences on a feature-length foray into lives rarely depicted on screen.

Imbued with themes of youthful ambition and idealism, the film’s creation allowed Musah to reflect on his own journey in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

Since its premiere, the film has resonated with many on a personal level, including Simons Society of Fellows Junior Fellow Daniel Alabi, who holds advanced degrees in computer science from Harvard and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, as well as Yehoda Martei, an alumna of Yale University’s School of Medicine, now a medical oncologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Join them as they sit down with Marcus Wright, associate producer at Sandbox Films, for a conversation that paints a fuller picture of the STEM ecosystem through their experiences in elite academia.


Daniel Alabi is an incoming assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before beginning his faculty appointment in 2025, he will remain a postdoctoral research scientist in the Data Science Institute at Columbia University. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University. Also, he is the president and co-founder of NaijaCoder, Inc. NaijaCoder aims to proliferate early algorithms education in Africa with a focus on Nigeria. His research interests lie primarily in the design and analysis of algorithms with a current focus on computational science applications.

Yehoda Martei is a medical oncologist, an assistant professor of Medicine, and the Vice Chief of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a global health scholar at the Center for Global Health and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Penn. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Botswana where she conducts most of her research work related to access to essential medicines for cancer treatment. Her research is also focused on implementation strategies for eliminating global disparities in breast cancer outcomes by optimizing high-quality breast cancer therapy delivery in low-resource settings.

Born in Ukraine, raised in Ghana and now living in the United States, Arthur Musah is drawn to stories of people shaped by multiple places. His documentary “Naija Beta” played in Africa, Europe and the U.S., winning several festival awards.

His debut feature “Brief Tender Light” had its U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS in 2024. “Brief Tender Light” has won several awards, including the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Feature and the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2023 Urbanworld Film Festival in New York. Arthur studied filmmaking in the MFA program at the University of Southern California. He also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and worked as an engineer for two decades.

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