5 questions with Isabella Saylor ’24
1 – What helped you gain that confidence? My instructor was working on a project with Samsung. He didn’t ask me if I felt able to be part of it. He just told me, “You will present your results at the United Nations.” My team and I did travel to New York to present our findings on reducing world hunger and poverty. Also, this past summer after my first year at UD, I partnered via Zoom with students from South Korea on an environmental science project with NASA scientists and again presented, this time via Zoom, to the UN.
2 – Why environmental science? Because it’s a very complex and urgent area in which the solutions are technologically very advanced. We wanted to help people understand myths about it, learn where to get information, understand how small actions cumulatively have a big effect on reducing a carbon footprint and be able to connect to relevant businesses. We developed plans for an app. I’m now learning coding to follow through on that.
3 – How did you first get interested in technology? I grew up in a family that told me I could be whatever I wanted. My dad, a middle school principal, got me interested in STEM. My parents are both teachers. My older brother, Michael, at UD too, had taken info tech classes in high school. For women, that path can be intimidating. But you realize you do have the power to take it.
4 – Did your brother influence you coming to Dayton? Well, because he was here I didn’t want to come. But he said, “Just apply.” Then, “Why not shadow me?” Or, “Check out this event.” My aunt, a chemical engineer at Procter & Gamble, helped me look at schools and majors. I did visits. I learned UD is all about collaboration. I realized I’d be a complete idiot not to go there. In my first year, I did Discover Engineering. We worked in a group to create a solution; it’s all about inclusivity and partnership.
5 – What about partnerships outside of class? I keep in touch with the students, scientists and executives who were part of last summer’s work. I was part of the Honors Student Welcome leadership team. I’m involved in a group that meets in residences to develop leading through Christ. With my sorority, Kappa Delta, I’m getting hands-on experience planning projects and events. And a friend of mine made a cheerleading squad; I’m going to go cheer for her.