Meet the Grads: Abigail Osborne attributes success to Engineering Challenge Camp, SWE and faculty support
The world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics has always played an important role in Abigail Osborne’s life.
Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant
Coming from a family where both parents were engineers heavily influenced her interest in the field. Yet it wasn’t until she attended an Engineering in Action camp as a junior in high school hosted by the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources that solidified her interest in pursuing a career in engineering.
“At the time I had never heard of biomedical engineering, but at the camp, Dr. Robin Hissam, who turned out to be my academic adviser, SWE adviser, and greatest support within the College, lead an activity about how biomedical engineers design sports equipment,” Osborne said. “In this activity my group designed a tennis shoe with the goals of being fast, light and good traction. After that activity I started researching biomedical engineering.”
A native of Hurricane, West Virginia, Osborne is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Statler College this May.
As the current president of the West Virginia University chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), an international organization focused on stimulating women to achieve their full potential in their careers as engineers and leaders, Osborne has had the opportunity to connect with other successful women engineers, travel for outreach events and gain support from her fellow members.
“I felt that SWE provided the environment and friends that I was looking for as a freshman,” Osborne said. “SWE provides community and friendship for women and minorities in STEM who may feel like the outsider or the imposter in classes or careers. SWE has given me so much — friends, connections in the professional world and support within a challenging major.”
During her time at the Statler College, Osborne spent two years teaching STEM to elementary and middle school kids through the WVUTeach program and worked two summers as a counselor for the Statler Engineering Challenge Camps. In 2017, she helped elementary and middle school kids learn about the engineering design process, as well as the different disciplines of engineering at the annual summer camps.
“In summer 2018, I only worked as a high school night camp counselor because at that time I was working as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Paul Lockman through the pharmacy school researching medication for breast and lung cancer,” Osborne said. “So basically, I would work at the lab during the day then come in to relieve the day counselors for the evening shift where we would take the kids to do activities like escape rooms and Black Bears baseball game.”
During summer 2020, Osborne worked as an intern for Omnia Medical, designing and improving tools that surgeons use for spinal procedures. After graduation, she will join Omnia Medical as a design engineer.
“I think that SWE, the Statler College and WVU has pushed me to excel and grow,” Osborne said. “I am so grateful for the support from the Statler College, the support from Cate Schlobohm and her office, and especially Dr. Hissam. I felt the College has always supported its students, and now I am confident I am on the right path.”
Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit
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