Phoebe Edalatpour is a fourth-year civil engineering major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her professional life currently includes interning at Winter Construction as a project engineer intern. Moreover, she is highly involved on campus, being a member of a social sorority and captain of her water polo team. As anyone that has ever met Phoebe can contest, it is easy to see that her intrinsic desire to change lives outwardly shines. It is a rare occurrence to ever see her not smiling. Phoebe Edalatpour is a world-changer and she thanks her experiences with Grand Challenges for setting the stage of her college and professional career.
Grand Challenges has always been a huge impact on Phoebe’s life, as she claimed it strongly influenced her college decision. “I already knew about the larger Grand Challenges program through the Bill Gates initiative. I was always interested in humanitarian applications of engineering and I knew I wanted to go to a university that emphasized that as well as allowed me to pursue a great degree. When I found out Georgia Tech had that program, it was not only a big push to apply to the program, but also consider Georgia Tech above other schools.”
Phoebe is a member of the fourth-year team, Team NoMaDD. NoMaDD is currently working to create a novel malaria detection device that will analyze parasite density in collected blood samples. The project carries close to Phoebe’s heart, as she has seen first-hand the problems around the current method of self-diagnosis.
“Since getting started with Grand Challenges, I’ve had nothing but good experiences. The program has taught me to approach problems in different ways, and just how to approach problem solving in a way I never expected to get out of this program— I’ve always considered myself an optimist, but Grand Challenges has taught me open-mindedness in problem solving that will be valuable for any field I want to go into.”
As part of the Grand Challenge program her freshman year, Phoebe remarks that she was surrounded by a dynamic group of passionate and inspiring people. She attributes her relationships with other Grand Challenge students as a huge influence in pursuing her own passions. She began her love affair with global humanitarianism as part of well-drilling project with Engineers Without Borders. Since then she has traveled to Cameroon, South Africa, and Ghana twice.
“I am very thankful to have formed relationships with such dynamic people. I was in an environment of people pursuing their passions. Everyone was doing such inspiring things and I decided I wanted to be part of that, so I said I want to go to Africa! Since the first time, I’ve been hooked.—I knew it wasn’t a novelty, ‘voluntourism’ sort of trip. I could see the direct impact of my work both in fundraising and actual installation. And, I knew the system we put in would be monitored and maintained for years to come.”
Phoebe continues to work with the organization Saha Global and says that her approach to problems in the field is built on the foundation of anticipating the worst and being able to response with “yes, we can fix this.”
“My advice to anyone coming into the Grand Challenges program is to keep an open mind. Don’t let anyone else intimidate or undermine your goals, they are just as valid and just as cool. Also, be an optimist! There are so many great opportunities, go into everything with an open mind and a smiling face.”