Audrey Ryan is the recipient of the SOM Foundation 2015 Structural Engineering Travel Fellowship.
Having grown up in Wilmington, Delaware, Audrey was home schooled prior to attending Delaware Technical Community College where she took courses in engineering technology. She subsequently transferred into the accelerated BS/MS degree program at Drexel University, where she will receive, in June 2015, a BS in Architectural Engineering and an MS in Civil Engineering, both with a structural concentration. Audrey’s education has also included a semester abroad in Ireland in fall of 2012, where she studied Civil Engineering at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
A participant in the Honors Programs at Drexel, and under the mentorship of Dr. James Mitchell, Audrey has been involved in research projects which include finite element modeling for infrared non-destructive testing of structure (advisor: Dr Ivan Bartoli) and daylighting optimization for existing buildings (advisor: Dr. Eugenia Ellis). Audrey is also the engineering lead of a student-run startup that develops sustainable household systems.
Audrey received the SOM Foundation’s $20,000 2015 Travel Fellowship for her winning Essay, “Bioinspiration in Structures,” her research having been inspired by the words of Michael Pawlyn in his book, ”Biomimicry in Architecture,” wherein he states that, ”As the need for sustainability in the built environment becomes ever more evident, biometrics has emerged as a compelling approach to building design.” Audrey notes that in few domains are form and function so inextricably linked as they are in structural design, and nowhere is the relationship between the two so elegantly balanced as in nature. Audrey will travel extensively in Europe, Asia, and Australia / New Zealand to examine a variety of building and bridge structural systems, and to assess in each the characteristics of structural aesthetics, economic practicality, and environmental sustainability to determine how these characteristics contribute to a design which functions cohesively with nature.
Following graduation, Audrey plans to commence her career as an architectural engineer, with long-term career aspirations focused on bridging aesthetic integrity with sustainable technology in the building industry.