Walter Scott, Jr. scholars and fellows making their mark

This fall 20 undergraduate and 23 graduate students were welcomed into the 2018-19 cohort of Walter Scott, Jr. Scholars and Fellows, helping the college build on its reputation of excellence in engineering.

The Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship and Fellowship programs allow the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering to recruit some of the best and brightest minds from Colorado and beyond. Among this year’s talented cohort are Katherine Boyd, Jenna Stubbers, and Adam Morrone.

Katherine Boyd, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Kate Boyd and family

Students come to the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering because they want to change the world, and freshman Katherine Boyd is no exception. She believes the time for change is now, and the only thing standing her way is learning how she can make the biggest impact possible. For her, the answer lies in earning a degree in chemical and biological engineering.

“The biggest thing that’s been a constant in my life is that I want to make real-world change on the environment,” said Boyd. “To make that happen I need the practical application and technicality that comes with engineering.”

Boyd’s passion for the environment was sparked by her many outdoor adventures while growing up in Boulder. An avid fourteener hiker, she saw the effect humans have on the natural world and now strives to make positive changes.

“Both of my brothers are Boy Scouts, and the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles stuck with me from a young age,” said Boyd. “I’ve always wanted to make a bigger-scale difference – it’s grown from there.”

Paving the way

For Boyd, making an impact on the environment starts at CSU. She felt welcomed by the people she met on campus, and identified with the campus focus on sustainability and the environment.

“Everyone I’ve met really wanted me here,” said Boyd. “Even at such a big school I felt like people really made an effort to know me.”

The Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship is helping Boyd forge her path. The scholarship provides Boyd an opportunity to pursue an education, meet new people, and diversify her mindset. And her mind is on new ways to solve problems, with new perspectives on engineering and the environment.

“I didn’t think I’d be deemed worthy to join this wonderful community,” said Boyd. “It means so much that someone believes in me.”

Jenna Stubbers, Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering

Jenna Stubbers has always had a strong desire to help others. Finding a path that weaves through engineering, diverse coursework, and a like-minded community gives her opportunities to help even those closest to her.

“Many people in my family have struggled with back pain for a long time,” she said, “and I felt like this field was a way I could help them and many others.” Her coursework in biomedical research and engineering could one day lead her into a career centered on helping people with medical conditions.

Jenna StubbersStubbers believes the first step toward helping people is to grow her experience and knowledge, through engineering coursework and as a part of the University Honors Program. As a biomedical and mechanical engineering student, her courses expose her to diverse concepts in medical research and engineering. On the other side, the honors program’s interdisciplinary courses and seminars give her experiences outside of science and engineering, and feeds her craving for more knowledge.

This craving may lead her to one of her other primary interests: finding a community of like-minded people. Especially attending college out of state and in an entirely new environment, finding the right community is important to her.

“I loved the concept of community that CSU constantly emphasizes,” she said. “When I visited, just being on campus felt like I was in a place where I could be comfortable but still be pushed.”

Whether it is trying out education abroad programs or different research opportunities, she hopes that her experience will ultimately lead her into a career in neuroscience or biomedical engineering.

“I hope to find what I truly love at CSU,” she said. “I want to achieve the sense that I am heading in the right direction for myself and my interests.”

Adam Morrone, Mechanical Engineering

Adam Morrone

Adam Morrone doesn’t do what’s easy; he’s interested in pursuing what’s most likely to impact real people.

While an undergraduate student at Liberty University, Morrone started a prosthetics project that aimed to create fully functional robotic hands for children with only one hand. Leveraging his electrical and computer engineering education, he and his peers succeeded in creating prostheses that respond to electrical impulses in muscles. The project also set Morrone on a path to building solutions to real problems – including prosthetics.

Embracing community

Morrone comes to CSU as a recipient of the Walter Scott, Jr. Fellowship, and he looks forward to pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. With the emphasis the engineering program puts on practical application and industry viability, he knew CSU was the right place to begin his graduate career.

“CSU was by far the school that made me feel most welcome. Every step of the process – from application, to interview, to offer, and then being offered the fellowship – what I heard was, ‘we want you here,’” said Morrone.

Helping to build the community he felt so welcomed into, Morrone is serving as a graduate academic coach in Academic Village, an on-campus residence hall. He’ll be available to help freshman engineers adapt to college life and guide undecided students to specific engineering disciplines.

Practicality in prosthetics

Though the direction of his specific research project is still being determined, Morrone is interested in leaning on his experience in prosthetic control and signal processing. He hopes to help develop technology that allows for control over more complex prostheses, providing people in need with a solution that doesn’t require surgical intervention.

While controlling prostheses for the lower extremity using electromyography is in some ways less complex because there are fewer muscles to read signals from, Morrone’s interest lies in thinking up a solution for the more challenging upper extremity.

“I find the fact that we’re humans and can walk around and our bodies don’t spontaneously disassemble pretty amazing,” said Morrone. “Prosthetics is hard, but it’s very directly impactful engineering. It’s very cool to build something and present it to a person who it’s actually helpful for.”