Outstanding Collegiate Member

Abigail Fennell

Colorado State University

For being a champion of her SWE collegiate section; for commitment to outreach, leadership development, and effective programming; and for identifying meaningful ways to serve SWE and the community.

Fort Collins, Colorado, resident Abigail Fennell shares a similar experience with other university women: She was introduced to the Society of Women Engineers while in high school participating in an engineering recruitment event held at a local institution. For Fennell it was Colorado State University (CSU), where she chose to study biomedical engineering and chemical and biological engineering. She was one of 42 high school students statewide to receive a Boettcher Scholarship for exceptional leadership potential, a commitment to community service, superior academic achievement, and outstanding character. Once enrolled at Colorado State, Fennell joined the CSU SWE Section’s high school outreach planning committee.

The first section event she coordinated was the same one that captivated her in high school: Stick with SWE, the section’s high school outreach event, inviting high school juniors and seniors to learn more about pursuing a STEM degree. After this experience, she was tapped to serve as section treasurer, a position she held for two years. Fennell reestablished relationships with and sought the counsel of the university’s financial offices to help manage, document, reconcile, and fortify the section’s budget.

Fennell completed her tenure as section treasurer and now serves as president for the 2022-2023 academic year. She created a film for the SWENext Collegiate Video Challenge that highlights the experiences of the section members and received a third-place honor. She was also a presenter at the WE Local conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sharing information about the section’s outreach programs.

She took part in the 2021-2022 SWE Leadership Development Program and Collegiate Leadership Institute to further develop her leadership skills and acquire resources to share with her section.

Fennell has also proved to be a leader within her academic endeavors. She worked as a bioengineering intern with the Genetic Sciences Division of Thermo Fisher in San Francisco assisting in the exploration of technology used in genetic sequencing. She currently serves as an undergraduate research assistant in the Borlee Lab in the CSU Research Innovation Center where she conducts microbiome research, presents her findings at research meetings, and mentors newcomers to the lab. Her research has earned her two Boettcher collaboration grants, a Ceres Foundation grant, and the Astronaut Scholarship. Additionally, Fennell was chosen to serve as a presidential ambassador representing the office of the president and university advancement at student and donor functions designed to develop affinity and philanthropy for the university.

In her free time, Fennell likes to bake, read, and play Dungeons & Dragons. She also enjoys the Colorado outdoors while skiing, hiking, mountain biking, disc golfing, and kayaking. Fennell expects to complete her studies and earn a B.S. in 2023. Thereafter, she intends to pursue an advanced degree in engineering.