Rice 360⁰ welcomes Brittany Allen, the new Innovation Design Studio manager at Malawi Polytechnic. And we relaunch our blog with a brief interview to introduce her!
Brittany, tell us more about your background, where you’re from and what you’ve studied.
I’m from just outside of Richmond, Virginia. My family lives in the country. We have horses, 6 dogs, cats, chickens, a pig named PigPig, and more! I did my undergrad in Biomedical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and I got a minor in Venture Creation (similar to entrepreneurship). I got my Master’s in Bioengineering Innovation and Design from the CBID program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Over the past year, I was a Global Health Fellow in the Innovations department of Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins affiliated NGO which focuses on maternal and child health.
How did you first learn about Rice 360°?
I used to work as a research assistant in Dr. Rebecca Heise’s lung mechanobiology lab as an undergrad at VCU. I wouldn’t shut up about global health technologies, so she mentioned that I should look up Dr. Rebecca Richards-Kortum’s work. When I read about her lab’s work, I was inspired by her work to develop and promote equitable health technologies and wanted to be part of it.
Describe Rice 360° in three words.
Medtech for everyone!
We may have to use this…. a great slogan!
If you could switch your job with anyone else within Rice 360°, whose job would you want?
A student at Malawi Polytechnic. So many innovative products come out of the Poly, I’m imagining their heads are just full of great ideas.
What does true leadership mean to you?
Having a vision and executing it.
What do you wish other people knew about Rice 360°?
Personally, I wish I had known about the Global Health Fellowship Program earlier. It seems like the fellows have such amazing opportunities to work on the development of technologies that will have real impact. That’s a rare thing! I look forward to helping spread the word!
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
I almost became an English major instead of an engineer. I often wonder how my life would’ve turned out differently. Mr. GS, if you’re reading this, I still haven’t forgotten!
Brittany, we’ll remember this for future blogs! I see many blog posts in your future!
What do you do during free time?
I read the weirdest books I can find.
What are your plans for the future?
Eventually work in industry as a product development engineer for low-cost medical equipment. Or start my own company. Anything that allows me to work toward creating a world where everyone has access to medical equipment that makes sense for their environment.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I don’t like ice in my water. To me, there’s nothing interesting about this fact because ice water is obviously the worst, but this seems to blow the minds of everyone I’ve ever ordered water in front of.
Brittany, we are so excited to have you on our team and know the talented engineers at Malawi Polytechnic are, too! We look forward to continuing to see amazing innovations come out of this partnership!