Olivia Burns is a University Innovation Fellow and an undergraduate student studying Industrial Engineering at Clemson University. Olivia has lived in New Jersey for the majority of her life, but was born in Winston Salem, North Carolina. A physics teacher she had in high school (who she considers a role model) suggesting she look into engineering as a career led Olivia to apply to prestigious engineering universities in the south. When she received her acceptance letter in February 2016, she knew she would be a tiger for life.
During her freshman year at Clemson, Olivia discovered the Creative Inquiry program at Clemson, which allows undergraduate students to assist graduate students in research; she become involved in two Creative Inquires. The first one was a project funded by a grant by NASA which studied the effects of long term space exploration and how leadership roles shift. Using simulations and scholarly articles, they coded the behaviors of multiple groups interacting and how their dynamic evolved throughout their time working together. The second was researching ways to improve the Creative Inquiry program, and also studied the effect of interdisciplinary teams. Interviews with students and professors told us the important of having a diverse background, which is something Olivia always thought to be vital not only to teams, but to an individual as well. She was a part of multiple clubs and organizations in her campus, such as Clemson Animal Welfare Society, Tigers for Tigers, the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers, and eventually University Innovation Fellows.
Olivia felt that not only was UIF an amazing opportunity for her to network, improve her innovative thinking skills, and work to improve the campus she already loved, but also that her joining UIF would affect the program in a positive way as well. Along with Ethan Bensman, David Gabriel Herman, and Nikki Wyman, Olivia hopes to utilize her time in UIF and bring the Clemson community more chances for innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership across campus.