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G2: GCSP Cohort 2

(Follow the hyperlinks to see scholar’s e-portfolios)

 

Lucas Bailey McCullum
Major: Mechanical Engineering and Mathematics
Minor or Additional Major: Financial Economics
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Graduating Class of 2019

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
I decided to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program because I admired how the program showed a great interest in introducing the biggest issues of our world to a young audience. By introducing young leaders to international issues, a greater sense of achievability and awareness towards these issues can be reached. I also admire the program’s focus on providing mentoring to the students through faculty members who have already gained experience in these major fields of research.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
The Grand Challenge that interests me the most is “Making Solar Energy Economical” because I believe that it is important for us, as a species, to protect the beautiful planet that we live on. Furthermore, by making solar energy affordable, more people can obtain access to clean alternatives to energy and limit the amount of negative footprint to the environment.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on obtaining a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Master’s degree in either Sustainable Energy Technology or Applied Physics at TU Delft in Amsterdam, Netherlands. If I do not obtain the scholarship, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue a Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy Systems. Following graduate school, I plan to work in the sustainable energy sector while allocating time to travel abroad.

 


 

Emily Duan
Major: Mechanical Engineering
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Graduating Class of 2019

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
Several challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering are extremely interesting to me and I hope to join this interdisciplinary community to tackle these important societal problems. The gathering of students from interdisciplinary studies is one of the most appealing aspects of the program for me because I recognize the value of bringing a diverse group of people together to solve pressing societal problems. I truly believe that the only way that we can move forward in developing innovative solutions is to bring different people with different backgrounds and perspectives together because this type of interaction sparks creative ideas.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most and why?
Access to clean water, restoration and improvement of urban infrastructure, and engineering the tools of scientific discovery are just some of the Grand Challenges that interest me the most. Through my travel experiences abroad, I often feel that I have taken for granted many aspects of technology and resources in my environment, including access to clean water and the maintenance of urban infrastructure. I have always been curious to learn about the unknown. The challenge for us to understand the unasked questions excites me. I hope to tackle these significant societal problems during my lifetime.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to continue to graduate school in mechanical or electrical engineering. During my career, I hope to obtain a Professional Engineering license. I have yet to determine the exact field I wish to develop a career in, but I hope to narrow down my interests through different courses and my internship experiences.

 


 

Stephanie Milani
Major: Computer Science and Psychology
Certificate: Honors College
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Graduating Class of 2019


Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
I joined GCSP because I wanted the chance to synthesize my experiences I have had and will have as an undergraduate student into a cohesive, overarching direction. Additionally, I was intrigued by the opportunity to work collaboratively on interesting, large, and interdisciplinary challenges that have real-world effects.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
I am most interested in the Grand Challenge of reverse engineering the brain because I believe that it is crucial to understanding how the brain works. As it stands, current understanding of the brain is severely limited to the role of discretized neurotransmitters and localized areas. Reverse engineering the brain will give us a clear picture of how these individual parts interact to produce the most complex and sophisticated processing organ in the world. Understanding both the parts and the whole will allow for more precise, targeted treatments of issues like addiction, mental illness, brain damage, or brain trauma in addition to paving the way for new technologies and developments in artificial intelligence.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus on machine learning, artificial intelligence, or robotics. More broadly, I hope to contribute to research that makes a difference in people’s lives.

 


 

Heather Mortimer
Major: Interdisciplinary Studies (Museum Education and Exhibit Development)
Certificate: Honors College
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Graduating Class of 2018

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
Through the Honors College and INDS, I’ve had the opportunity to meet students from diverse academic backgrounds and see how they might solve problems differently from me. The Grand Challenges Scholars Program presents an exciting opportunity to learn from and collaborate with students from various disciplines.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why? 
I am most interested in advancing individualized learning. I’ve always been attracted to museums for their role in facilitating free-choice learning for diverse audiences. Because there is no test at the end of a museum visit, learning must be relevant, accessible, and enjoyable. In a way, museum exhibits facilitate individualized learning by allowing visitors to choose how they would like to learn about a topic; however, I would like to see more exhibits that respond to each individual learner based on their needs.
What are your plans after graduation?
I hope to work in exhibit development, science communication, or education after graduation. I am considering several graduate programs, including programs in museum studies, information design, and health communication.

 

 


 

Laina Colony
Major: Chemical Engineering (Environmental Engineering & Sustainability Track)
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Expected Graduation: 2020

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
I decided to join the Grand Scholars program because I was intrigued by the opportunities it provides. It will introduce me to leadership skills and many other skills while providing me a way to research a challenge I find interesting. The GCSP will help pave the pathway for my future endeavors.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
The challenge I am most interested in is providing access to clean water. I have always been interested in environmental problems and believe they are important problems that need to be solved; that is why my major is environmental engineering. Clean water is a major issue throughout the world and if a new and efficient technology can be designed, millions of people will be helped all over the world. This is a challenge I would like to be a part of.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to attend graduate school. Graduate school will help me to not only further my knowledge in a particular subject, but will also help me figure out what I want in a career, as will internships throughout college.

 


 

Eric Shaner
Major: Chemical Engineering
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Expected Graduation: 2020

Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
I decided to join the GCSP because it appeared to be an excellent opportunity to kickstart my career path. Along with the numerous interesting challenges proposed, the program will help me apply my class time to the real world.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
I’m most interested in the Engineering New Medicines challenge, because there are always new barriers we must break in the medical field to help the world become a better place. Specifically, I’ve always been interested in dementia and how we could find a treatment or even a cure for it.
What are your plans after graduation?
After college I’m not sure exactly what I want to do, but I see numerous possibilities, including completing a Master’s degree and/or working for a company. In the long run, I would be ecstatic to work with medicine or materials.

 

 


Jethro Ssengonzi
Major: Mechanical Engineering
GCSP Cohort 2 (2017)
Expected Graduation: 2020


Why did you decide to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program?
I decided to join the Grand Challenge Scholars Program because I wanted to be exposed to scholars from all walks of life who desire to have a global perspective and impact in their respective fields of study.
Which of the Grand Challenges interest you most, and why?
I have an interest in “Make Solar Energy Economical” because I personally find sustainable energy to be a field that needs to be advanced upon more. I also have an interest in the “Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure” project; the basic foundations of a community, the infrastructure, must always be in check for society to operate well. I view both of these challenges as the ones to have the most societal impact.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to obtain a terminal degree. I am still currently looking into what I want to specialize in.