Abby Ruby is from Bel Air, Maryland and is a recent graduate from The University of Alabama where she majored in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout her entire education, starting from Kindergarten, she has loved school and especially thrived in science and math. In high school, Abby realized how much she enjoyed AP Physics and AP Calculus. She consequently formed special connections with her STEM teachers who convinced her that engineering would be the perfect path for her. However, as a first-generation college student, Abby had many obstacles to face when thinking about her post-high school options. Despite these adversities, Abby wouldn’t let anything slow her down while she pursued her dreams of higher education. She worked hard, took a total of 15 AP classes in high school, scored in the top 90th percentile in the ACT and SAT, all while paying for these tests and extracurriculars with money she earned as a hostess and lifeguard. All of her hard work paid off when she received a full-tuition scholarship at The University of Alabama, which she accepted and declared a major in Mechanical Engineering. While majoring in engineering was no cakewalk, Abby loved her time in college, and made President’s List for her first two years! She also was a member of various engineering clubs such as The Society of Women in Engineering and B Cubed Sat, an organization that competed to put a satellite into space. She also was the captain of her school’s Ultimate Frisbee team, which was ranked 32nd in the country, out of 256 schools!
The work Abby did in college and during her engineering internships was often incredibly rewarding, including when she entered a Biomedical Engineering Design Competition. The objective of the challenge was to create a rehabilitative device or assistive technology to help someone with a disability. Doing market research and speaking to handicapped individuals, Abby and her engineering team found that partially mobile individuals oftentimes don’t have a way to stay active due to the lack of assistive mobility technologies. Therefore, these individuals usually end up completely sedentary through the use of a wheelchair, which is also expensive. Abby chose to develop a motorized walker to assist partially mobile people achieve an active and healthy lifestyle, but still find the support and motivation they need while walking. Abby and her team designed, created, and tested a motorized walker through mechanical design, electrical engineering, coding, and welding/ machining parts. However, due to COVID-19 shutting down all college facilities, Abby’s team was unable to finish the testing and final parts of their walker. In order to continue the project, they passed it on to the next team competing the following year. The ability to create an entirely new product designed to help others was incredibly rewarding and is one of Abby’s favorite engineering projects thus far.
Abby’s passion for STEM expands beyond just engineering. She is interested in all branches of STEM and received education in multiple STEM fields such as physics, mathematics, biomedical studies, computer coding, etc. In her engineering internships and during her senior year, Abby realized that she wanted to find career paths outside of traditional engineering and design. Since, she has explored options in environmental engineering, product management, and leadership. Although her future STEM career is still in the works, Abby enjoys being a lifelong learner and hopes to continue learning more about the sciences every day.
After college, Abby decided she wanted to pursue her passion for helping others but didn’t want to stray too far from STEM fields. She considered many different paths, such as teaching physics abroad for the Peace Corps, volunteering with AmeriCorps NCCC, or working with Teach for America. However, when she found the STEM Education Outreach Specialist position with GEM Environmental through AmeriCorps, she knew it was the perfect fit. By using her background to help other students find passion and success in STEM, Abby is able to find so much fulfillment in her role. Through Outdoor STEM Education for students in need of a learning facility, equitable educational programming, and her support of other GEM programming, Abby hopes to help under-served students find career pathways in STEM fields. Since her passions took her so far and earned her a free college experience, Abby wants to spread the benefits and importance of STEM education to any and all students.
Since Abby moved to Prescott, she has had so much fun exploring Arizona and the surrounding states. She loves the outdoors and any activity that gets her outside and moving such as hiking, rock climbing, camping, yoga, or kayaking! Working for GEM has been an amazing opportunity and she loves being a part of the Arizona Serve community.
If you have any questions for Abby, about anything from STEM careers to life in Arizona, please feel free to reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org!