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Grand Challenges Scholar, Spring 2024

Lilli Offenberger

Lilli Offenberger originally wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but then she discovered biomedical engineering was an ideal fit for her interests.

“I found that I didn’t want to diagnose a disease and create a treatment plan,” says Offenberger, who is graduating from the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. “I wanted to create a device to diagnose the disease or develop a solution to help with the aftermath.”

Her “aha!” moment when she realized she was on the right path came in BME 182 Biomedical Engineering Product Design and Development I. Offenberger developed a medical device to help people in rural areas of the Philippines get diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, a leading causes of death in the country.

As a student in the Grand Challenges Scholars Program, Offenberger had many opportunities to apply her biomedical engineering skills to solve real-world health challenges. She researched a 3D-printed testing model for orthopedic surgery and participated in entrepreneurial activities to address a gap in women’s health care.

She was also actively involved in the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, known as EPICS. Offenberger was an undergraduate teaching assistant and grader for EPICS and worked on two projects: Rewired Bionics, which focused on creating a pin lock prosthetic attachment for a Marine Corps active duty member, and Foster AZ, which increased access to resources and opportunities for the Phoenix area foster community.

Offenberger is proud of completing two EPICS projects over the past four years. This accomplishment earned her several awards from the program and the satisfaction of helping people in her community. 

She says Jared Schoepf, director of the EPICS program, was an influential part of her undergraduate years.

“His encouraging words have led me to step outside my comfort zone and realize that even when life gets tough you need to laugh, shrug it off and keep going,” she says.

Now a Grand Challenges Scholar upon completion of her bachelor’s degree, Offenberger is continuing her education at ASU, pursuing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering through the Accelerated Master’s degree program. 

Offenberger has cherished the multitude of classes, communities and opportunities she has been a part of so far at the Fulton Schools.

She says, “These ventures have presented me with diverse challenges, pushing me to expand my creativity, utilize resources and truly grasp the essence of engineering.”

Read about other exceptional graduates of the Fulton Schools’ spring 2024 class here.

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