Adventures in engineering

Madeline Hart came to Case for the academics and dove into the insightful diversions. Now a Junior-Senior Scholarship should help her to get more out of her campus experience.

As part of a study abroad class through the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Madeline Hart traveled to South Africa for three weeks last year and joined a non-profit group bringing solar power to remote villages. 

While helping to install solar panels on thatched-roof huts and collecting data, she said, she learned not only principles of thermodynamics but how to use them to change lives. She also went on a safari. 

“That’s that whole Case thing, when they make sure it’s much more than engineering,” she said, laughing. “I never thought of engineering as non-profit work. That was really cool.” 

The self-described small-town girl from Antioch, Illinois, said she expected rigorous technical training at the Case School of Engineering. The exposure to art, culture and engineering adventures has been a welcome surprise.

 “It’s encouraged that you take non-engineering courses and be more diverse,” she observed. 

Hart, a civil engineering major, has studied drawing with an instructor from the Cleveland Institute of Art and took courses in philosophy and art history through the College of Arts and Sciences. 

She said a key hometown employer, impressed with the diversity of her education, hired her back for a third internship. She’s spending the summer before her senior year working on drainage design projects for Gewalt Hamilton Associates. 

For her career, she wants to help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. Alumni are helping her to pursue that dream. 

In March, Hart was awarded a Junior-Senior Scholarship that will help defray the cost of tuition her senior year. A work-study student who has already taken out private loans, she’s breathing easier. 

“That is really going to help,” she said. “Pretty much everything I make goes to tuition. I’ll be able to devote more time to school, and exploring Cleveland, instead of working the entire time. 

“If it wasn’t for engineering, I wouldn’t be going to Case in the first place,” she added. “My family definitely can’t afford it.” 

But her favorite subjects in high school were math and science. Teachers and counselors steered her toward engineering. She discovered Case on a college visit and felt the tug. 

“I just fell in love with it as soon I was here,” she said. 

Now she’s making the most of the opportunities. She’s a regular visitor to the Cleveland Museum of Art, plays club volleyball and serves on the executive board of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. She's also president of the Case student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

To get to South Africa last May, Hart launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised $1,700 online to pay for the trip. 

If you’re an alumnus, you might get a call from her one day. She works for the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University as a student caller and a team leader. 

“I tell alumni, when they donate, they help people like me!” 

If you would like to make a gift supporting scholarships or learn about endowing a scholarship, please contact Janna Greer, manager of donor relations and grants, at 216-368-3647or