When Bridget Hegarty was in kindergarten, she told her mother that she was “going to save the rain forests.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that her curiosity of the natural world led her to major in biological engineering with a focus in environmental engineering at Cornell University.
She is now working toward her PhD in environmental engineering at Yale Graduate School, and is involved in educational outreach for middle and high school students. In addition, she played an integral role in the formation of the Yale Society of Women Engineers (SWE). As for her current project, Hegarty is working to understand cyanobacterial genetics through genetic engineering.
“I have always been full of incessant questions,” said Hegarty in response to what initially sparked her interest in engineering. “I was drawn to the fact that engineering’s primary focus is to apply scientific discoveries to improve people’s lives.”
Her outreach efforts have ranged from volunteering for Family Science Nights hosted at local New Haven schools, to a series of Engineering Days and Girls’ Science Investigations program events for middle school students.
The Yale Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is an organization in which Hegarty has taken a number of leadership roles. She led the effort to found the SWE community at Yale by starting a group for interested graduate students and aiding the process of establishing the group as a recognized section. She served as the president of SWE and co-president of gradSWE at Yale for the past two years. Currently, she is the Diversity and Inclusion Liaison for the society-wide SWE Graduate Leadership Team and continues to support the efforts of the Yale Outreach Committee to expand the Engineering Day program.
October 10th is Ada Lovelace Day! Today the world celebrates all of the accomplishments of women in science, art, design, technology, engineering, and math. Each year, Adafruit highlights a number of women who are pioneering their fields and inspiring women of all ages to make their voices heard. Today we will be sharing the stories of women that we think are modern day “Adas” alongside historical women that have made impacts in science and math.
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