Engineers of Harvard

Engineers of Harvard (EoH) is our initiative to shine the spotlight on women engineers and trailblazers who are creating a difference in our communities and beyond. Featured engineers are current students, faculty members, teaching staff, and alumni.

October 30, 2017

Niamh Mulholland (Electrical Engineering AB ’19)

This week we are so excited to feature a fellow undergraduate in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Niamh Mulholland is a junior concentrating in electrical engineering and serves as the current President of the Harvard Undergraduate Robotics Club (HURC).

What got you started in engineering?

I’ve always loved math and physics and been curious about how or why things work, and so I guess I was naturally drawn toward engineering. It’s really cool to be able to take physical concepts and apply or manipulate them to affect change in the world.

What is something you are passionate about?

In short, the thing that I am most passionate about is learning. When I was a kid, my dad took me to the beach and drew waves in the sand to try and explain Einstein’s theory of general relativity. At the time, I had no idea what we were talking about but I felt like it was incredibly exciting and important.
I still get really excited about learning, understanding concepts and seeing advances or new discoveries in science.

Something you would tell your former self?

Always challenge yourself.

 

 

 

October 2, 2017

Nicole Black (Lewis LabPhD Candidate)

This week we are incredibly proud to share more about Nicole Black, a fourth-year PhD student in Lewis Lab in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Tell us a little about your academic background. What got you started in engineering?

I grew up near Detroit, Michigan where most people’s parents were involved in the automobile industry. Thus, in my mind I linked engineering to the automobile industry. I joined my high school’s FIRST robotics team during my sophomore year and loved the problem-solving and practical nature of engineering, but I also felt a strong pull toward biology and the medical field. During my senior year of high school, I learned about biomedical engineering as a field and the vast opportunities it posed for helping many patients at once through advances in medical devices, genetic engineering, tissue engineering, and more. I decided to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University, and the research opportunities and coursework there coupled with a summer research experience at Columbia University solidified my desire to continue in this field, particularly developing biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. I realized that the best way to make an impact in this field was to pursue a PhD, thus I joined Jennifer Lewis’s research lab at Harvard working on novel biodegradable elastomeric inks for 3D printed medical implants.

What is one thing you wish you could change about the engineering world?

I wish that the societal perspective on the purpose of recruitment of women and minorities into engineering and other STEM fields would change. Many people believe that recruitment of these populations means suppression of traditionally represented groups in engineering (males, white, Asian, upper and middle class). The truth is that as our society, daily lives, and traditional careers become more automated, there will be a massive increase in demand for people overall to join these fields. In order to recruit a higher level of top talent and of people pursuing these fields overall, we need to make more of an effort to reach out to populations that are underrepresented in these fields and make them feel welcome and included. Increasing the overall workforce is the only way to optimize our potential to advance globally and solve the many challenges presented to us, such as climate change, food and clean water production, and major health conditions. Thus, the number of people in engineering fields from all walks of life needs to be drastically increased, we just need to make more of an effort to help women and minority groups to catch up in participation rates.

 

 

September 18, 2017

Professor Evelyn Hu (Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering)

What got you started in engineering?
“I majored in Physics undergrad and in graduate school. My first tastes of engineering were in my first job after graduate school in Bell Labs. I found I was able to use the analytical tools and ways of thinking that were relevant to physics, but apply them to designing materials and devices that could be more generally useful. I still remember the day I was speaking with a colleague, thinking about the switches, components, devices that Bell Labs brought to the world, and how they facilitated communications and realized that this was a great thing – to contribute to the well-being of the world – and it was something I really enjoyed being involved in”

 

What is one thing you wish you could change about the engineering world?
“Make it more diverse in composition and outlook, looking at a broader range of inputs, solutions, and visions.”

 

What is something you would tell your former self?
“Take more risks, spend more time outside of your comfort zone.”