“Create Real, Positive Change’ Catching Up With the Boys’ ‘07

David Boy and Juliana Bernalostos-Boy graduated from Olin in 2007, members of the second Olin class. Juliana is now working at DSM--a materials science and life sciences company--as a Research and Development Manager. David is a Data Scientist with Henry Ford Health System and a professor at Wayne State University.

Why they chose engineering...
Juliana is originally from Colombia and found out about Olin from a Google search for “good engineering schools.” She and her parents thought Olin was too good to be true -- a scam, in fact -- with no tuition and an exciting curriculum but, after attending Candidates weekend, they were convinced it was legit and that Olin was the place for her. Once at Olin, her classes led her to choose Mechanical Engineering as a major. Alternatively, David came from a family of mechanical engineers, so he naturally gravitated to ME.

What they did at Olin…
David did fluid dynamics research with Brian Storey from sophomore year through graduation. Juliana dove into material science classes and internships. David enjoyed researching the physics of fluid dynamics and building computer simulation models.

One of David’s most memorable classes was UOCD (User-Oriented Collaborative Design) because it was different, and he has used aspects of it to help health care providers learn to empathize and understand their patients. “The lessons taught in UOCD are tremendously useful for health care, especially for understanding how patients handle their health care in their daily lives.”

Juliana’s most memorable class was POE (Principles of Engineering). In the version of POE that she took, the students were assigned to a faculty member for whom they designed a product to help with their research. Coming back to Olin years later, she was excited to see her project still in use today in the MatSci lab!

They were both also involved in many of the campus activities and founded several clubs. Some of their activities included ASME, the first ultimate frisbee team, club budget manager, recreational health at Olin (rho), and the career fair.

What they have done since Olin…

Both Juliana and David went to the University of Santa Barbara to pursue graduate degrees. After Juliana graduated, they both came back to Olin to teach as Resident Scholars. She taught material science classes while David taught math and baking. During this time, Juliana also worked with Insper -- Olin’s partner school in Brazil -- to start an engineering program with a hands-on project-based curriculum.

After a year and a half of teaching, Juliana accepted a job offer from DSM to work as a scientist in Netherlands. David found a job at the University of Twente where he helped them start a bachelors program in “Technology, Liberal Arts & Sciences.” Graduating from and teaching at Olin played a major factor in David receiving this job offer, as the University of Twente had aspirations to create a project-based curriculum. While in the Netherlands, they lived in the tiny village of Susteren, walking distance from both Germany and Belgium. When not working, David and Juliana spent their time biking, exploring the area by train, and visiting art museums.

What they are doing now?

Currently, Juliana and David work in the Detroit metro area. He works as a Data Scientist with Henry Ford Health Systems and teaches data science and computation at Wayne State University. She works as a Research and Development Manager at DSM.

Most of David’s time is spent building tools for data-driven healthcare at Henry Ford Health System. He uses electronic health data to build a better health care system. He says he is “saving lives with mathematics.” The best part of the job is the feeling that his work really changes lives--his work is not quite at the cutting edge of technology, but his projects clearly and significantly improve the lives of patients and caregivers.

A day for Juliana at work includes wearing several hats. For example, in one day she might be dealing with supply chain issues, figuring out how to fix problems with the performance of their materials, attending and running meetings with people all over the world, or working on launching her new research and development team. The best part of Juliana’s day is getting to manage the direction of her own projects while having the resources and the company support necessary to make things happen.

Advice for Olin students…

David and Juliana both wanted to offer advice for present and future Olin students. Carefully consider your reasons for going to grad school. For many, graduate school is a great place to prepare for career in academia or research, where the degree is a job requirement. If you don’t have a strong reason to go, however, they recommend delaying or changing your plans. It’s important to recognize the years after college graduation as critical to gaining work experience… just because you’re not in school does not mean you’re not learning!

Furthermore, they both want to remind Oliners of their responsibility to do awesome things with their abilities. Don’t lose your fire, and use your potential to create real, positive change.

In their experience, Oliners learn a unique set of skills that are surprisingly rare in a majority of the work force. “When you are working on projects at Olin, you really are picking up all kinds of skills that set you apart.” They hope that Oliners use those skills to Do Something!

Posted in: Alumni Speak