Engineering for Humanity
By Sally Gilpin Martinez
In Middle and Upper School, Geneva Goldwood was very unsure about a career path, but during her senior year she realized that she wanted to use math and science to help people. She decided that engineering was a sensible path to follow and started at George Washington University’s engineering school that fall. “I really credit the all-girls high school experience for giving me the courage and self-esteem to speak up in my college classes,” she said. It was very apparent to her which girls had attended co-ed schools, because they did not speak up in class as much. She graduated summa cum laude last year.
In college Geneva won the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award and the Distinguished Scholar Award for engineering. Her senior design team also won an inter-departmental competition for the most innovative nerve regeneration using a 3-D printed scaffold and lasers.
As a sophomore, Geneva toured a company called K2M that developed implants and instruments for spine surgery. She thought, “I can do this – I can make this happen!” She interned there throughout her senior year, which led to a full-time position as a product development engineer right after graduation. She graduated on a Sunday and started her job the following Monday.
“My dream to help people using science and math really came to fruition when I landed this position,” she said. “I love that I get to do a lot of different things at my job: one day I will do a 3D prototype, the next day I may meet with surgeons to discuss the prototypes they will need, and another day we will be in a business meeting with marketing people to figure out how to get our products out there.”
In college Geneva was involved with the nonprofit organization Engineers Without Borders. Her company has a relationship with an orthopedic hospital in Ghana and donates parts for spine surgery.
“When I reflect, I realize I didn’t think about engineering much in high school,” she said. “I didn’t think I could make something that mattered, but that isn’t true. You don’t have to know a lot of fancy math. When I was much younger, I used to always say, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to invent...’ followed by something cool that would make my life easier. But you don’t need to wait until you grow up to invent something. With the tools you have, you can invent something now.”