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Bridget Woody

Bridget Woody

Bridget Woody '20 Wins Prestigious Fulbright Award

Bioengineering senior Bridget Woody has won a Fulbright Award. Her fascination for how innovation helps or harms marginalized communities drives her research into how the past can inform modern-day, ethical engineering innovation.

Bridget Woody ’20, a bioengineering major and history minor, has won a prestigious Fulbright award! The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest U.S. exchange program offering opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Bridget considers engineering a series of puzzles to solve—especially how innovation helps or harms marginalized communities. Her winning Fulbright project proposed traveling to Kingston, Jamaica, to conduct research into how past technological innovations historically affected the colonized slave populations there, as a way to inform modern-day, ethical engineering innovation.  

“The importance of historical context is critical to human-centric engineering,” Woody wrote to the Fulbright committee.

Last summer, Woody traveled to Rwanda with SCU’s Center for Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship, studying that region’s history of genocide and agricultural impacts. She studied abroad in New Zealand, taking a challenging course on bioinstrumentation and design, which required her to conduct a study of real-time water clarity for New Zealand’s waterways. She cites among her key academic  influences her bioengineering curriculum and history courses, especially a course on the Haitian Revolution with Professor Naomi Andrews. She added that outside of the classroom, the Society of Women Engineers has been critical for developing meaningful relationships with her peers and making industry connections.

Originally from Mequon, Wisconsin, Woody’s father Jay is an engineer, and mom Betsey works for the Lupus Foundation of America.

“Bridget is a gifted, inquisitive student who is also an intrepid and creative researcher and thinker,” said Andrews, who is also her research adviser. “She makes Santa Clara proud.”

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