Ruth Hammond Keeping Busy as Apple and Global Scholar

Monday, January 10, 2022
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Muti-disciplinary campus and classroom opportunities have had Ruth Hammond recognized as an Apple Scholar, a global studies program at Sweden, and a summer research internship with IBM’s Future of Climate initiative.

After three active years at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, mechanical engineering student Ruth Hammond is hoping 2022 will become a transformative period that provides a pathway to her becoming a future leader within science, engineering, and mathematics. 

The new year started with a bang: Hammond was among three distinguished U.S. college students recognized as an Apple Scholar. 

She’s now preparing to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime global educational adventure at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, a country that’s considered a global leader in sustainability. 

Then she’ll return to the U.S. for a prestigious software engineering research internship this summer within IBM’s Future of Climate global initiative. 

Hammond has been a highly motivated student for some time. Growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, She saw firsthand how air pollution from local steel production plants resulted in a myriad of health issues within nearby black and brown neighborhoods. This became the impetus for a mission to fight climate change through technology. She believes impactful innovation will happen through advancements in current climate research in areas such as carbon-capture technology, energy efficiency in transportation systems, and electronic parts recycling.

That’s why Hammond has supplemented her Rose-Hulman studies with knowledge of computer science and involvement in multi-disciplinary opportunities, such as the institute’s Engineers for a Sustainable World organization, contributing to improving campus sustainability efforts, and working on software and mechanical design teams for the Rover Robotics Team. Also, she has expanded her programming skills on research projects with mechanical engineering professors. 

“Even though I started off solely studying mechanical engineering, I was able to explore my interest in computer science through hands-on cross-cutting projects that I had in class,” she says. “There also were many opportunities outside of the classroom that allowed me to engage in multi-disciplinary projects. Solving the biggest problems of our generation, like climate change and increasing global sustainability efforts, takes engineering teams that are more cross-disciplinary. I’m glad to have had those experiences at Rose-Hulman and will have even more during my global studies and summer research internship.”

In Sweden, Hammond is planning to study courses this winter and spring in data science, high-performance computing (HPC), and machine learning while networking with respected researchers in sustainability and artificial intelligence as a part-time research assistant in KTH’s Center for High Performance Computing, the country’s leading provider of HPC services for academic research in Sweden.

“Since the future of the workplace in tech is becoming increasingly more global, this international educational experience will help me become aware of my own cultural identity and biases which is fundamental to my cultural competency,” Hammond said. “I see myself contributing to the advancement in tech by becoming a globally respected researcher in the field of climate change who encourages collaboration between industries both domestically and internationally.”

Hammond’s prospects in contributing to the advancement of tech in areas of accessibility, education, environment, inclusion, and diversity caught the attention of the national non-profit Rewriting the Code organization. It chose Hammond as an Apple Scholar among 290 applicants to be among a trio of U.S. students to receive a $15,000 scholarship, a technology package and exclusive participation in an immersion event with Apple.

IBM also took notice and assigned Hammond to a summer internship within the company’s Future of Climate global initiative. She will work with computer science and materials teams to advance the discovery of carbon-capture materials using artificial intelligence and high-performance computing. This will build upon experiences gained during past internships and co-ops with Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices’ Ethicon subsidiary, Google, and Department of Defense’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Penn State University Applied Research Laboratory.

At Rose-Hulman, Hammond has been actively involved in the institute’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion, National Society of Black Engineers, and Chi Omega sorority, along with being a student ambassador for the Office of Enrollment Management. She also credits mentorship and personal interest from mechanical engineering professors Sean Moseley, Aimee Cloutier and Miles Canino, along with Senior Director of Global Programs Kathy Hammett.

“Being challenged in my classes gave me the confidence to apply for an exchange program at such a well-regarded institution overseas,” Hammond says. “Rose-Hulman has helped me in many ways. It supported me financially with an international study abroad grant. The Center for Global Engagement provided guidance throughout the stress-filled study abroad application process and the Office of Career Services helped me with my resume and interview prep for the part-time position at KTH.”

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