Student

Olivia Ferki

  • Plastics & Polymer Engineering Technology

She’s a rising star in her field, active across campus, and an advocate for the College. Over the past few years, Olivia has been training in industry labs, building real-world experience with global leaders leaders like SEKISUI, and rounding out her skills as a research assistant at the on-campus Plastics Innovation and Resource Center.

Olivia Ferki

Q&A with Olivia

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CAREER FIELD AND WHY?

I found my passion for materials science and engineering while working in tandem with student peers and industry professionals through the NASA H.U.N.C.H. program. The program challenged high school students to develop detailed research and prototypes, in specialized project teams, to benefit ongoing space science and exploration projects. Immersed in a project-based environment, I quickly connected with the collaborative problem-solving nature of engineering. Through that experience, I was introduced to the significance of materials science, which led me towards a unique and highly focused materials program at Penn College.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT PLASTICS?

For more than a century, the plastics and polymer industry has acted as a pioneering force, one that is pivotal in advancing global innovation and scientific discovery. The versatility and adaptability of polymers influence every economic sector while offering critical solutions that address immeasurable challenges in medicine, energy, clean water transportation, and food protection.

HOW HAS THE PANDEMIC CHANGED THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR FIELD?

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of working towards a science and engineering technology career that focuses on improving upon and developing adaptable materials solutions. The sudden arrival and rapid impact of the current medical crisis finds the plastics industry as both an indispensable partner and leader who participates in cross industry collaborations. Drawing from its diverse pool of talent, the industry continues to deliver global safety and medical solutions for detection, prevention, and vaccine exploration.

WHAT IS SOMETHING COOL YOU LEARNED AT PENN COLLEGE?

One of my favorite educational experiences at Penn College, was learning MIG welding under the tutelage of my fellow Resident Assistant, Nate Lyon. I had an amazing time stepping out of my comfort zone by learning and practicing a new and beneficial skill!

HOW DID THE MIX OF PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE AND THEORY HELP YOU?

The project-based education that I have received, which pairs theory with practice, endows me with the foundation and resourceful mindset that I will need when approaching all of my future academic and career endeavors. This comprehensive mindset has strengthened my assessment skills and has helped me to discover purpose in every project while engaging in meaningful methods to achieve successful outcomes.

IF SOMEONE WERE INTERESTED IN PENN COLLEGE, WHAT MIGHT YOU TELL THEM?

I would be eager to learn what inspired the individual to select Penn College to begin their academic journey with the Wildcat community! I would also encourage prospective students to explore the many academic, career-focused majors that Penn College has to offer. Small class sizes allow professors to foster our individual learning perspectives, interests, and proficiencies. Our programs parallel industry and immerse students in comprehensive, real-world learning applications that stress the level of expertise and professionalism appreciated by employers. This is evidenced by our high post-graduation placement rate.

Guaranteed Momentum
The benefit of industry support

The benefit of industry support

High achievers, like Olivia, are often recognized for their dedication and accomplishments with scholarship support. Olivia received the Penn College Foundation Scholarship as well as a $7,000 Student Workforce Development Scholarship from SEKISUI SPI, a worldwide leader in thermoplastics.

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Real-World Ready

"The indispensable professional training and direction that I have received from the Penn College faculty and community has not only guided my studies and interests, but has also helped me to establish strong connections to industry, from which I hope to build a strong career."

Olivia Ferki

The power of giving

The power of giving

Grateful for the opportunities she was awarded at Penn College, Olivia and a handful of her standout peers represent the College as Student Development Assistants. These students promote the many ways donations and other gifts support the student experience. 

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Featured Video

Making meaningful change happen

For many students, scholarships and financial aid make a college education possible. That's why financial support from loyal employees, alumni, corporate partners, retirees and other friends is so vital. Check out this video, featuring Olivia, to learn more about the power of giving and the lasting impact of a hands-on education.  

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Plastics & Polymer Engineering Technology

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