Columbia Engineering Ph.D. student Mateo Williams has passed away, according to an email from SEAS administrators earlier today.

On Monday morning, Dean Mary C. Boyce, Senior Executive Vice Dean Shih-Fu Chang, and  Senior Vice Dean Soulaymane Kachani emailed SEAS students today to inform them that Columbia Engineering Ph.D. student Mateo Williams has passed away. The full email can be found below.

Mateo was in his second year of the engineering school’s Ph.D. program, where he studied Chemical Engineering. Before coming to Columbia, he completed his undergraduate education at MIT as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Mateo’s Ph.D. research “[concerned] renewable energy production, storage, and sustainable development,” with his advisors Alan West and Dan Steingart. Mateo was also named an NSF Graduate Research Fellow this past year and acted as a founding member of the Chemical Engineering department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. 

Boyce, Chang, and Kachani expressed that they are in contact with Mateo’s family. They also encouraged students to reach out to Columbia’s psychological and religious services, which are listed in their email below.

We at Bwog extend our deepest sympathies to Mateo’s family, friends, and professors.

Email from SEAS administrators to Columbia Engineering students sent on Monday, June 21 at 10:22 pm:

Dear Students,

It is with great sadness that we write with some difficult news for our community. Mateo Williams, a second-year Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering, passed away yesterday.

Mateo was applying physics, electrochemistry, and materials science to research concerning renewable energy production, storage, and sustainable development, and was co-advised by Professors Alan West and Dan Steingart. He did his undergraduate studies at MIT, and was a Gates Millennium Scholar. He was named an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in 2021. He was a founding member of the DEI committee of the department of Chemical Engineering.

We are in contact with his family to provide support and assistance during this time.

When we lose a member of our community, we are all affected. Regardless of whether you are near or far from campus, please remember that Columbia resources are always available to provide you or your friends with support; these resources can be found below. 

Please take care of yourself and those around you. We know that all of you join us in sending our deepest condolences to Mateo’s family and friends, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts in the days ahead.


Mary C. Boyce

Dean of Engineering and the Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering

Shih-Fu Chang

Sr. Executive Vice Dean and Incoming Interim Dean, Columbia Engineering

Soulaymane Kachani

Senior Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Resources for Students

●      Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) can be accessed for 24/7 phone support available through on-call service, which is accessed by calling (212) 854-2878 and following the recorded directions.

●      The Office of Religious Life can be reached for spiritual counseling at (646) 906 5913 (Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. EDT and by appointment after hours and during the weekends). For those on campus, Earl Hall and Saint Paul’s Chapel are open from 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday, for prayer and reflection.

 ●      Assistant Dean Yannick Brookes is available to offer support and guidance through the Dean’s Office. Undergraduate students currently on campus can reach out to their Resident Advisor (RA), Graduate Hall Director (GHD), or Residence Hall Director (RHD).

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