Olivia Cook

It was 2009, in a Camp War Eagle session, that I first heard the statistics of engineering graduates. With a room full of prospective students, the speaker said, “Look to your left, and now look to your right. According to statistics, one of you won’t make it.” Although few, these sentences were quite powerful. Each word pierced my mind and challenged me to be one of the people to “make it.”

Since I was five years old, I have always had a passion to fix things. At an early age, my dream was to become a biomedical engineer and create prosthetic limbs for individuals in need. As life would have it, that dreamed changed the older I got.

At Auburn, I started off majoring in Chemical Engineering and concentrating in biomedical engineering with an aspiration to go to medical school. However, I soon realized the passion was not there anymore. As I began to determine my purpose, I was led to major in Polymer and Fiber Engineering and minor in Spanish. This was the best decision I had made thus far. I learned about the different polymers used heavily to create gloves, syringes, catheters, tubes, films, implants, stints, sutures, prosthetic limbs, packaging, etc. By studying these polymers, I was edified on how they can be biodegradable, biocompatible, and at times, recyclable.

Nevertheless, obtaining an engineering degree did not completely satisfy my need and want to fully help other people. So, I chose to continue my studies at Auburn University and pursue a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and concentrate in Health Administration.

Currently, I am a doctoral student in the Public Administration and Public Policy Program, also at Auburn. I have published two papers, with another to be published this fall and I serve on Auburn University’s Women’s Leadership Institute Board as well as on the American Association of University Women Student Council.