This fourth-year mechanical engineering student excels in research and service

As an undergraduate research assistant in the laboratory of Dr. Jason Gleghorn, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Olivia Powell is developing a microfluidic storage platform to study the interaction between viruses and bacteria in the oceans, bays, and rivers of our natural environment. She won second place for a poster presentation on this work at the 2018 Greater Philadelphia Region LSAMP Research Symposium and Mentoring Conference, which she attended with 77 members of UD’s Resources to Insure Successful Engineers (RISE) Program. RISE is one of the nation’s earliest and most successful programs for minority students in engineering. Now, Powell, a two-time McNair Scholar and President of the National Society of Black Engineers, is looking toward doctoral programs in biomedical engineering. “Having this incredible hands-on research experience in the Gleghorn Lab changed my outlook for my future,” said Powell.

In January 2019, Powell and 3 fellow students in UD’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) led a trip to the Philippines. There, they are helping a community access safe, potable drinking water. “Joining EWB in my freshman year is probably one of the best decisions I have made, both professionally and personally,” she said. “I chose engineering because I wanted to help people, and EWB has helped me develop a better perspective on how to approach complex, real-world problems.”