Adventures in engineering

Representing the engineering, science and math alumni and students of Case Western Reserve University.

Madeline Hart in South Africa in 2017.

Adventures in engineering

A Junior/Senior Scholarship helped Madeline Hart make the most of a world of opportunities at Case.

As part of a study abroad class through the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Madeline Hart traveled to South Africa for three weeks during her sophomore year and joined a non-profit group bringing cheap electricity to remote villages.


While installing solar panels on thatched roofs and hooking them up to a power system she helped design, she learned not only principles of thermodynamics but how to use them to change lives. She also took a safari.


“That’s that whole Case thing, when they make sure it’s much more than engineering,” she said, laughing. “I never thought of engineering as non-profit work. That was really cool.”


The self-described small-town girl from Antioch, Illinois, said she expected rigorous technical training at the Case School of Engineering. The exposure to art, culture and engineering adventures was a welcome surprise.


“It’s encouraged that you take non-engineering courses and be more diverse,” she observed. She did not need much of a push.


Hart studied drawing with an instructor from the Cleveland Institute of Art and took courses in philosophy and art history through the College of Arts and Sciences.


She said a key hometown employer, impressed with the diversity of her education, hired her back to for a third internship. She’s spent the summer before her senior year working on drainage design projects for Gewalt Hamilton Associates.


For her career, she wants to help rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. Alumni helped her to pursue her dream. 


Hart was awarded a Junior-Senior Scholarship that helped defray the cost of tuition her senior year. A work-study student who had to take out private loans, the scholarship allowed her to breathe easier.


“Pretty much everything I make goes to tuition,” she said in 2018. “I’ll be able to devote more time to school, and exploring Cleveland, instead of working the entire time.


“If it wasn’t for engineering, I wouldn’t be going to Case in the first place,” she added. “My family definitely can’t afford it.”


But her favorite subjects in high school were math and science. Teachers and counselors steered her toward engineering. She discovered Case on a college visit and felt the tug.


“I just fell in love with it as soon I was here,” she said.


She made the most of the opportunities. She became a regular visitor to the Cleveland Museum of Art, played club volleyball and served on the executive board of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. 


To get to South Africa, Hart launched a GoFundMe campaign that raised $1,700 online to pay for the trip.


If you’re an alumnus, you might have gotten a call from her. She worked for the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University as a student caller and a team leader.


“I told alumni, when they donate, they help people like me!”


Hart graduated in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and soon after became a civil analyst for Kimley-Horn Planning and Design Engineering Consultants.


If you would like to make a gift supporting scholarships or learn about endowing a scholarship, please contact Janna Greer, manager of donor relations and grants, at 216-368-3647 or

“Pretty much everything I make goes to tuition. I’ll be able to devote more time to school, and exploring Cleveland, instead of working the entire time. If it wasn’t for engineering, I wouldn’t be going to Case in the first place. My family definitely can’t afford it.”

—Madeline Hart

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