IVC News > March 11, 2019

Lynnsey Davison: Engineering a Better World

​By: Katie Chappell

IVC Student, Lynnsey Davison. Photo by Lindsey Sweeney

Not many new high school graduates start their college career with nearly a year’s worth of credits under their belt. But 19-year-old Lynnsey Davison, who first came to Irvine Valley College as a 16-year-old, racked up 24 credit hours and a lab certificate before she had even finished high school.

Lynnsey had many choices for her undergraduate education. She had been accepted into the University of California, Irvine and several private schools to study computer science, but she was overwhelmed by the cost of college and she came to realize that her dream was to study engineering. Now Lynnsey is in her second full-time semester at IVC, pursuing her passion.

“I love IVC,” she said. “I have a lot of help here. The support I receive [from the college] is helping me pursue exactly what I want and alleviating the financial stress. It’s allowing me to focus on how to make me the best student I can be - learning how to study better and how to best manage my time.”

Lynnsey is in the first student cohort of the UCI-IVC Engineering Academy – a demanding new transfer program that would allow her to get into the competitive and impacted engineering program at UCI, while first attending a campus she knows and loves.

UCI IVC Engineer Academy
Lynnsey (front row, 5th from left) with her peer cohort, instructors and administrators from UCI and IVC. Photo by Melinda Wilhelm

“Being a part of the cohort is great because there are a bunch of people around you every step of the way, helping in every way they can,” Lynnsey said.

Passion for Science

Lynnsey has always knack for the technical. As a young child, she would get frustrated when an electronic didn’t work, and then she would try to fix it.

“When I was about five years old I had an old mac computer, I spent my summer trying to configure it and try to connect it to the internet,” Lynnsey said.  “I always knew that I was good at putting stuff together and figuring things out. I ended up building my own IKEA bed at eight years old. I taught myself JavaScript programming in middle school.”

Torn between her love of computers and a desire to help others, she was introduced to an impressive STEM partnership program at Santa Clarita High School, where she attended for one semester. It was there that she had the opportunity participate to work with engineers from Boston Scientific, a biomedical research company.

“I knew I didn’t want to work behind a computer my whole life,” Lynnsey said. “I really wanted to help people as well, but I didn’t know how to do that. And I always loved biology and learning about the human body and curing diseases.”

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Lynnsey in the lab at Boston Scientific. Courtesy photo.

The program helped her to see a future in engineering. Last year, after winning several robotics competitions, Boston Scientific offered the recent high school graduate a rare, paid summer internship position in research and development for the electromagnetic division. There she had the opportunity to work with senior engineers on mobile devices that communicate with medical implants through fiber optics. She commuted back and forth from Irvine and soaked up every bit of learning and hands-on research.

Lynnsey (3rd from right) learning about advances in surgery technology at Boston Scientific. Courtesy photo.

A leader, today and tomorrow

Lynnsey sees her role as a leader and a mentor already. She works as an IVC Promise Peer Mentor, meeting regularly with four new college students, to share advice on time management, class scheduling, study skills and where to find academic support. In tough science and math classes, she frequently arranged study groups and acted as a classroom resource, shared her Chemistry 1A professor Thomas Cullen.

“As a student, Lynnsey really impressed me,” Cullen said. “She worked really hard in class. She asked a lot of really good questions. And if she saw anyone struggling in the class, she would give support to her peers.”

This summer, she will return to Boston Scientific for another summer internship and honing her research skills. Her ultimate goal is to make biomedical devices that improve lives, maybe even artificial organs.

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Lynnsey (front row, center) with her orientation group at Boston Scientific. Courtesy photo.

Her motivation is personal. Lynnsey cares for her ailing grandmother, who would benefit from advances in medical devices and procedures.

“My grandma is very much an inspiration,” she said. “She has needed a double knee replacement for a long time, but the process is so painful and the recovery is so long that she‘s been putting it off for years. I just think ‘shouldn’t science bet a little better than this?’”

Lynnsey will graduate with her UCI-IVC Engineering Academy cohort in May 2020 and transfer to University of California, Irvine to continue her engineering education. From there, she plans to pursue a Ph.D.

“I’m sure she can do it,” said professor Cullen. “She has the dedication and drive to succeed in whatever she puts her mind to. She works very hard and she is very engaged as a student – you can tell she loves learning.”

Photo by Lindsey Sweeney.

Lynnsey’s dreams only grow from there.

“I have always wanted to be a CEO,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas. Being a person of color, a woman, an engineer - I have a lot of aspirations. I want to make change and make a difference, and I don’t want to wait for that to happen.”​

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