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Pearse Lipscomb

Fourth Year Biomedical Engineering Major from San Jose, CA

As an incoming first-year student, I had next to no engineering experience and even less of an idea where I might end up at the end of my college career. Now, three years later, I'm lucky enough to call the EMPOWER student association my family, and the TECHE lab the home of some of my greatest college memories. When I first heard Tim Fountain---the challenger that I worked with my freshman year---play the guitar with his new prosthetic arm (that our team had built!), I realized just how life-changing our work is here at EMPOWER. A year later, I helped lead the team that created a design for an all-terrain ankle foot orthotic to push the boundaries of what is possible for those requiring walking assistance.

After a 6 month co-op at Abbott Labs working on medical devices, I'm returning back to Cal Poly for my second year as EMPOWER president. I can't wait to see both old and new faces again, and I look forward to the work we'll do together this year.


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Ally McCabe

Fourth Year Biomedical Engineering Major from Alamo, CA

Beginning my journey as a biomedical engineering student in 2018, I never would have imagined how great an impact EMPOWER would have on me, my peers, and my community. Similar to many student members, learning about EMPOWER at Cal Poly’s Open House drew me to Cal Poly’s engineering program. Upon arrival, I was welcomed and supported by the organization’s student officers and found a friendly, like-minded community of individuals.


As part of EMPOWER the past three years, I have been fortunate to gain hands-on experience working on quarterly and formal design projects as well as serving as an officer. One impactful project was designing an energy-assisted ankle foot orthotic for a motor-neuropathy victim who hoped to get back to previous athletic activity, particularly hiking. I’ve also greatly enjoyed meeting fellow students, professors, and challengers, learning from their creativity and technical knowledge, and passing on the tips and skills I picked up along the way. 


This year I look forward to serving as SVP of EMPOWER, helping students develop technical-engineering and interpersonal skills and giving back to the student association that has made me into a better engineer. In this new leadership role, I am excited to foster a collaborative and productive environment for the EMPOWER community!


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Ana Conrado

Fourth Year Biomedical Engineering Major

My name’s Ana and I’m from Orange County, California. I am the Vice President of Operations which consists of managing communication with all club members, coordinating outreach events, overseeing design projects and planning the end-of-year banquet. I joined EMPOWER my first year because I fell in love with their mission statement and I too wanted to improve someone’s quality of life. I also saw the great opportunity to work in teams and develop my engineering skills. I became an officer to give back to this amazing student association and provide new students with the amazing opportunities that EMPOWER provided me.  I’ve been a part of two FDP teams: Paraplegic Paintball and Braces for Bill. Outside of EMPOWER, I’m a member of the Cal Poly Women’s Lacrosse team and love traveling to compete against other universities. I look forward to a new year with many new projects and members!


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Yael Livneh

Third Year Biomedical Engineering Major

I’m Yael and I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. Ever since I was a junior in high school and I heard about it for the first time, I knew I wanted to be a part of the EMPOWER team. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the Lower Limb Exoskeleton Assist Project (LLEAP) group as this upcoming year’s Operations Officer. I’m excited to get to apply everything I’ve learned in manufacturing, design, and management to a project with the power to help others in our community. In my free time I like to run, bike, climb, and paint. 


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Max Krueger

Fourth Year Biomedical Engineering Major
Hello! I'm Max Krueger, a biomedical engineering student from Lake Oswego, Oregon. I am the treasurer for EMPOWER so I establish and budget out our plans for the year. Additionally, I make sure the organization has proper funding from both the school and our corporate partners. EMPOWER was one of the primary reasons I decided to attend Cal Poly. The smile on challengers faces when they receive  the projects we work on all year is one of the best feelings and priceless. Outside of EMPOWER I enjoy skiing, surfing, and traveling. I helped open the new hospitality center at Booker Vineyard, where I help make wine on weekends. I am also involved with the CIE, Cal Poly Sales Engineering Club, Cal Poly FinTech, and Poly Reps. Above all though, EMPOWER has been an experience like no other, that I will look back on with such unique fondness, ans as the building blocks of skills that helped me in my career. I am looking forward to the future of EMPOWER and my remaining time here at Cal Poly! Feel free to reach out to chat or for any advice.


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Jessica Wright

Third Year Industrial Engineering Major

My name is Jessica Wright, and I am from Santa Cruz, California! I am this year’s Corporate Ambassador, which consists of providing you with opportunities to meet and network with various companies from the medical device and engineering industries. I decided to join EMPOWER my first year because I was inspired by the amazing impact they had on others lives and the community at Cal Poly. This past year, I was the team lead for the Brace for Sheri FDP. We designed and manufactured a specialized lower lumbar brace for a women who was diagnosed with lower spinal deterioration. As an officer, I am excited to work on future projects and meet students that share the same passions. Outside of EMPOWER, I love to camp, fish, and play soccer. I look forward to another great year working with EMPOWER and many all the new members!


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Shannon Robinson

Second Year Mechanical Engineering Major
Hi! My name is Shannon Robinson, and I am from San Diego, CA. I joined EMPOWER last year because of its mission of improving people’s quality of life through innovation and its real-life applications of engineering. I quickly became involved in both quarterly and formal design projects, my favorite being the Hand for Beth FDP. We worked on designing and manufacturing a functional hand prosthetic for Beth, a local resident of San Luis Obispo and survivor of sepsis. I am thrilled to be EMPOWER’s Manufacturing Director this year. My goal is to provide guidance and help facilitate the manufacturing processes for EMPOWER. I look forward to another year with EMPOWER and meeting both new and returning members!


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Laura McGann

Fourth Year Computer Science Major

Hello! My name is Laura McGann, and I am a 4th-year computer science major from San Carlos, CA. I came to Cal Poly largely due to EMPOWER. The possibility of working on prostheses and other assistive devices that were actually delivered to challengers meant I couldn't stay away. I joined the Wagon for Mikaela FDP as soon as I arrived at Cal Poly in the Fall of 2018. After then working on LLEAP - our wonderful exoskeleton project - for two years, I am thrilled to now serve as CEO. My goal is to drive the project with a vision and empower my fellow students along the way so the project will persist to completion beyond my time here. I firmly believe in EMPOWER's mission to serve our community by putting the skills we learn and the resources we have to good use. I can't wait to see all we will achieve in the next year!


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Jenna Cazalet

Fourth Year Mechanical Engineering Major 

My name is Jenna and I am from Los Gatos, California. My role as Technical Director consists of designing and leading workshops for Empower. I joined Empower during my first year at Cal Poly. Ever since, this club has been an integral part of my hands on engineering experience and professional growth. From participating in workshops to leading my own formal design project, I have enjoyed collaborating with the Empower team. This year, I am excited to design engaging workshops and projects for our growing student community. Outside of Empower, I enjoy backpacking, surfing, and fostering dogs!


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Nishka Chawla

Fourth Year Mechanical Engineering Major from Singapore


Hello! My name is Nishka Chawla and I’m from the island state of sunny Singapore! I was drawn to EMPOWER during my first year at Cal Poly because of its commitment to improving the quality of life for others through engineering. Meeting so many wonderful, intelligent, and inspiring people has only enriched my experience and allowed me to discover new things about myself. I have had the privilege of working on the Portable Lift for Alex, and Sight for Clinton FDPs. My involvement in these projects provided me with the opportunity to grow as an engineer while paving the path for my future endeavours. 

As this year’s Quartermaster, I’m excited to share my experience with the club and be a resource for QDP teams to direct their technical questions regarding prototyping and 3D printing. As I manage and optimise the TECHE lab space, I aspire to continuously foster a club environment that offers students a place to learn and grow as engineers while also giving back to the community! I look forward to being back on campus and working with the club this year!


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Marissa VanDeVeer

Third Year Biomedical Engineering Major

Hi! My name is Marissa VanDeVeer and I am a third year from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois! I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering and this years Community Outreach officer. This means that I am in charge of all of the social media, community connections, and marketing of our student association. I joined EMPOWER because I have been interested in prosthetics for a few years now and want to be able to work on projects that help out the community! I have worked on a few Quarterly Design Projects and was on the Formal Design Project called Arm for Beth last year! I learned so much and had such a great time working with others. Aside from EMPOWER, I am the President of Colleges Against Cancer/ Relay for Life, and love spending time with friends or enjoying the beautiful weather!