The student leaders for each project team are the primary points of contact for teams.

Rebecca Macdonald, PhD, PE

Swanson Director of Engineering Student Project Teams

Cornell University
108 Upson Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
607/255-1380 or

Rebecca Macdonald is the first Swanson Director of Engineering Student Project Teams at Cornell University and is thrilled to be in the position of leadership for an incredibly driven group of students with aspiring and impactful goals. The position was made possible by a generous endowment from John. A. Swanson ’61, M.Eng. ’63 and is responsible for leading the project teams program. The Engineering Student Project Team program provides opportunities for students across all engineering and related disciplines to participate in hands-on interdisciplinary design, development, and construction of novel methods and/or models. Students use technology, knowledge, creativity, entrepreneurism, and leadership skills to design and fabricate the projects, then engage in national and international competitions and service projects to show them to the world. Teamwork is fundamental to project success for all of the teams in the program.

Rebecca was awarded a Ph.D. in civil engineering by the University of Alabama in August of 2013. Her dissertation topic was risk mitigation using financial derivatives for strategic materials in construction. Other areas of research interests include risk management, energy, new market drivers, regulatory impacts, and engineering education development. Macdonald is also a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and had completed two master’s degrees – in civil engineering and economics. She previously spent nearly a decade involved in various facets within the energy utility field, but more recently she was a professor in the Department of Construction Management at East Carolina University.

Emily F. Ivory

Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Assistant Undergraduate Coordinator and Engineering Project Team Program Support

Cornell University
104 Upson Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
607/255-1805 or

Emily Ivory has been an integral part of the College of Engineering Student Project Team Program for many years; working closely with students to manage the administrative aspects of their teams. Each project team functions autonomously, developing and testing an original design, culminating in its production and exhibition, whether during competition, or in collaborative production with a service organization. This process not only challenges students in engineering concepts, but also requires them to manage their budget and funding, as well as public relations, travel planning, marketing, and many other responsibilities akin to those required of any independently functioning organization. Emily is the primary point of contact and a continuing source of guidance for engineering project teams in this regard.

Emily is a graduate of SUNY Potsdam and came to Cornell from an administrative position on the production floor of BorgWarner, Morse TEC, Ithaca, where she worked with engineers and production management and staff to streamline administrative operations and implement a quality and safety review process for the Ithaca plant. Emily’s experience in a production facility has provided her with a valuable perspective on the processes adopted by the engineering project teams. She is thrilled to be working with Rebecca Macdonald, Swanson Director of Engineering Student Project Teams, to support these teams as they continuously strive to surpass standards and creatively solve problems within real world constraints.