June 2017 Archways

Reaching for the Stars

For Lindsey Marinello ’17,
 the choice of major was inspired by the International Space Station collaboration between the U.S. and Russia. And that spirit of collaboration has characterized her Bryn Mawr career: the physics-Russian double major launched several initiatives to help her fellow students succeed in STEM fields.

By Melissa Learn

“There was something really special about the nature of collaboration between the U.S. and Russia and the fact that we have people living up there continuously who are communicating and doing science and building crazy projects and testing them and making beneficial technologies,” Marinello says.

Originally drawn to Bryn Mawr for its Russian program, Marinello had never taken a physics class before arriving on campus. She maintains that she wasn’t good at math, but she did like “science as a whole, as a method, and also as a way of viewing the world.” Her lack of experience only helped to fuel her pursuit, but she has seen it deter many others.

To gain experience and learn more about the different fields of engineering, she founded the BMC Makers and Engineers Club in her first year on campus. Its mission? To consolidate the resources Bryn Mawr offers and to help students discover what is available off campus as well?

“A surprising number of Bryn Mawr students go into engineering,” says Marinello, “and I thought it would be helpful for it to be represented as a student interest.” Working with the Leadership, Innovation, and Liberal Arts Center and the departments, club members organize workshops, attend conferences and career fairs—and hope one day to get a makerspace at Bryn Mawr. (A makerspace is a place where people with shared interests, especially 
in computing or tech, gather to work on projects and 
share ideas, equipment, 
and knowledge.)

Marinello also worked on a planning resolution with other engineering students and started S.TEAM, which stands for Science Technology Engineering Advocacy for Mawrtyrs. These related efforts set out to improve academic advising and general math and science support for STEM majors by appointing student reps and partnering with the administration to keep students from becoming discouraged. “Bryn Mawr gave me a lot of opportunities to develop as a leader,” she says.

As for the future, Marinello plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in aerospace engineering and perhaps a Russian language development program. In either case, she hopes the initiatives she worked on at Bryn Mawr will continue to encourage students to pursue a path in STEM—and reach for the stars.