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York College senior earns coveted engineering fellowship at Virginia Tech

March 28, 2018
Senior electrical engineering major Amanda Redhouse
Senior electrical engineering major, Amanda Redhouse

When York College of Pennsylvania senior Amanda Redhouse learned about a Virginia Tech engineering project benefitting physically disabled children, she was hooked. 

“That’s combining two things that I really like to do: problem-solving engineering and giving back to the community, specifically helping kids,” she says.

She’ll soon get a chance to be part of the work at Virginia Tech after receiving the Bradley Fellowship Award – a tuition award established from an endowment for the enhancement of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

She’s excited to put her skills to good use.

“Giving back to those who need it most is something that I've been taught my whole life and is very important to me,” she says.

Combining math and science

When Amanda came to York College as a freshman, the native of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in.

“I knew I liked math and science, so I wanted to try to combine the two things,” she says. “I went through my first year undeclared, then took some math classes while I was taking engineering classes.”

She was able to experience other engineering disciplines through the Engineering Practice and Design class, but it was electrical that clicked with her.

“I tried out Mechanical Engineering and enjoyed it. But it was the Electrical Engineering section of the class that was a good fit for me,” she says. “I understood what was going on. I felt like I was able to use my real interest, like to problem solve, with the math aspect of it as well.”

Wise encouragement

Before starting her senior year, one of Amanda’s professors encouraged her to look at graduate school.

“It sounded like a good idea because not only do people with a master's degree in engineering earn more money, they are also able conduct more research in higher level development jobs,” she says.

Dr. Jason Forsyth, Assistant Professor of Computer Engineering at York College and a graduate of Virginia Tech, suggested Amanda consider his alma mater.

He connected her with a former Virginia Tech professor who told Amanda about a project he was working on that helped kids. It involved e-textiles, or smart fabrics, to map children's motions with their limbs that have muscular deficiencies. That information is then given to a physical therapist who can better provide service and health care to the children. 

She knew it was something to pursue.

Prestigious company

Amanda applied and eventually was admitted to Virginia Tech. Shortly after, she learned she’d be receiving the Bradley Fellowship Award.

These scholarships and fellowships are among the most competitive in the country and are awarded to the best students who study with the department.

During a graduate recruiting weekend, she was able to talk to current recipients who are currently doing research at the school.

“Talking to some of them was a nice experience,” she says.

The future

After Virginia Tech, Amanda is weighing all options and keeping an open mind. Pursing a doctorate, working for an assistive technology, biomedical engineering or research and development firm are all distinct possibilities.

But, she is certain of one thing.

“Going to Virginia Tech, I'll be able to make an impact on someone else's life through something that I enjoy, which is engineering,” she says. “If I can do that and help benefit children somewhere, then I'm all for it.”

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