January 4, 2023

It's now 2023! To start the new year, we're taking a look back at some of our favorite Olin stories from 2022.

A collage of images representing twelve Olin stories.

Presidential Inauguration, Facebook whistleblowing, alumni sustainability, small satellites, engineering with purpose, bold visions, autonomous robotics, new partnerships - 2022 (and these stories) had it all.


A Big Fish in a Really Big Pond

On January 14, 2022, we published a story about Riva Gulassa ’15 who was working for a project called Tidal at X, the moonshot factory (formerly Google X) and was employing a background in mechanical engineering and a passion for sustainability to help protect the world’s oceans by making the seafood industry more sustainable.

Riva Gulassa ’15 pictured while remotely monitoring intelligent underwater cameras.

Growing the Future of Farming

In March, building on the topic of sustainability, we spoke with two Olin alumni who are using their knack for technological innovation and careful problem-solving to increase yield and sustainability on their Midwestern family farm.

Clark and Bryn McPheeter on their farm with their three children.

NASA Selects Olin's SWARM-EX Satellite Mission; Will Provide Launch Services

Later in March, we learned that the SWARM-EX satellite mission that Olin students and faculty lead Dr. Whitney Lohmeyer had been working on for two years was selected by NASA’s 2022 CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). This meant that the agency will now provide the Olin team with launch services required to launch their small satellites to Low Earth Orbit, in 2023! Stay tuned for more!

Members of OSSTP work on a prototype of a CubeSat.

Frances Haugen ’06 tells Olin, “How we treat each other matters”

Frances Haugen '06, returned to campus on Thursday, April 28 to speak to a crowd of Olin students, faculty and staff, and guests from Wellesley and Babson in the Norden Auditorium. Haugen shared her personal and professional path working on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook, and ultimately why she made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook in 2021.

Frances Haugen '06 is photographed in Norden Auditorium during a speaking event at Olin in 2022.

Expanding the Oval and Opening Doors: The Inauguration of Olin President Gilda Barabino

On May 5, 2022, Olin College celebrated a milestone event two years in the making—the long-awaited and much celebrated inauguration of its second president and first Black woman president, Dr. Gilda A. Barabino.

Olin President Gilda Barabino stands at the podium during her Inauguration ceremony on May 2022.

A Big STEP toward Engineering with a Purpose

During the spring semester, Olin’s creative, triple-wide course called STEP revolutionized how students learned and made things. Twenty-three Olin students and four faculty embarked on a new experiment together—working side-by-side to tackle a “messy,” real-world challenge from start to finish.

An arrangement of multi-colored sticky notes adorn a classroom wall.

Celebrating the Olin Class of 2022

On Sunday, May 15, during an unusually warm spring day, Olin College celebrated the Class of 2022 at Commencement in the tent on the Great Lawn. Hundreds of friends and family members joined Olin faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and friends to wish Olin’s newest graduates well.

A variety of graduation caps are shown in the crowd as the Class of 2022 listen to the Commencement Speaker.

Olin team wins national “More Water Less Concentrate” competition

As we shared in September, a team led by Olin Assistant Professor Emily Tow and including eight Olin students, as well as members from Harmony Desalting, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earned the top prize—$150,000—in the “More Water Less Concentrate” competition.

Members of Professor Emily Tow's research team, seen here, have won first place in the national “More Water Less Concentrate” competition.

Olin Extends Footprint to Cambridge with “The Mirror”

Through its vision of “Engineering for Everyone,” Olin College has partnered with the Kendall Square Association and HBCUs, expanding what’s possible for the young people and industries of Cambridge by building an impact studio in Cambridge called The Mirror. We wrote about this bold vision in October.

The Cambridge-based youth program Innovators for Purpose are pictured holding a design review.

Olin Alumnae Create New Model for Sustainable Cultural Change at Microsoft

Born out of a need for community and connection during the pandemic, two recent Olin College alumnae created a new model for sustainable cultural change at Microsoft Cambridge. Their distributed leadership approach is now being recognized by company leadership and industry networks alike.

Gracey Wilson '20 and Allison Basore '20 stand on opposite sides of an outside Microsoft sign.

“Build Something that Matters”

In December we published a story about Leif Jentoft ’09 and how he's filling gaps in the supply chain with intelligent, autonomous robotics. Spending his summers tinkering with things in the Northwoods as a kid, Leif received an important piece of advice from his dad: “Make sure you build something valuable, not just cool.” For Jentoft, his dad’s advice from long ago still rings true.

RightHand Robotics RightPick and Tompkins Robotics t-Sort

Educational Partnership with Local Compost Company Grows Impact-Centered Education at Olin

In Jean Huang's introductory Biology class, “Think Like a Biologist,” students and professor engaged in a unique partnership with local compost company, Black Earth Compost, who sponsored the lab portion of the class for the entire fall semester. "This class is a great example of the potential of impact-centered education," says Mark Somerville, provost and professor of electrical engineering and physics. Besides Mark, we spoke to students in the class, as well as Professor Huang, to find out more about the novel educational approach in our final story of the year.

Jackie Zeng '23, a member of the Biology foundation class “Think Like a Biologist," gives a thumbs up while working in the lab.