Hajim Spotlights

Emma Luke

Class year: 2019
Major: Biomedical engineering
Challenge: Provide Access to Clean Water
(Click here to see the poster about her GCS experience that she presented at the Undergraduate Research Expo.)

How did you hear about the Grand Challenges Program?

I heard about the Grand Challenges program during my junior year through an email from the biomedical engineering department.

Why did you decide to apply for the Grand Challenges program?

I decided to attend a general interest meeting out of curiosity, and from there I had many ideas of where I could take my project. I had previously conducted research that could easily be applied to the research competency, and I had gone on a volunteer trip to Honduras that could be applied to the service competency. I had ideas on how to fulfill the other competencies, so I decided to apply.

Which of the five “competencies” (research, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurship/innovation, global, service) did you most enjoy completing? Why?

I enjoyed completing the service competency most. I did so through a 10-day volunteer trip to Honduras to install a clean water system. I met some really amazing people during my time down there, and I learned so much from the program and from the community members. (Read more here.)

Do you think you will want to continue work in the field of your “challenge” after graduation? How?

After graduation I will be continuing my education in the field of Biomedical Engineering. While my research will not be focused on providing access to clean water, I will certainly keep my eyes open for opportunities to continue working with this topic.

How did being at the University of Rochester help you to complete this program?

Without the University of Rochester, I would not have known about the program in the first place. I think we should advertise this more because it really is an awesome opportunity to put various projects, from research to community involvement and service projects, together to create a meaningful project to enlighten others on several different issues.

For you, what is the value of the Grand Challenges program?

The Grand Challenges program is valuable because it lets students participate in a meaningful project. By requiring students to make a poster for the research fair at the end of their project, they can educate others on different global issues, such as providing access to clean water. Without the Grand Challenges program, I would not have investigated the lack of access to clean water so intensively.