Creating Her Own Way Forward

Marnie Harris

Instead of following a well-worn path, Marnie Harris decide to create her own way forward. She chose Emory as the best place to find support and inspiration for her decidedly unconventional career.

Harris graduated from Georgia Tech with a biomedical engineering degree. She intends to apply that engineering mindset to build a more accessible world, especially workforces inclusive of people with disabilities.

“I thought if I wanted to be on the workforce/workplace development side, I needed a better understanding of business and to expand my network of people who were making business decisions,” Harris says.

She chose to attend Goizueta Business School, where she is on a social enterprise track for earning an MBA in 2020. She was selected as a recipient of the Woodruff Scholarship, which includes full tuition, fees, and on-campus room and board among other benefits. The community of Woodruff Scholars and Fellows unites recipients across all of the schools and units within Emory University.

“I wanted a program that had the resources to invest in me to develop my path rather than fit me to an already prescribed one,” she says. “Throughout the application and decision process, Emory students, faculty, and staff overtly demonstrated their investment in my goals. They showed me not only how I would be personally and professionally developed, but also how my unique fit would add to my cohort and to the school itself.”

Among the experiences that makes her glad she chose Emory is her work with a therapy center in rural Uganda that lacked affordable and durable equipment for children with disabilities. Through Social Enterprise at Goizueta, a program that supports entrepreneurship and impact investing, Harris created a business plan to support a project to build a wheelchair suitable for the African environment of these disabled youngsters. The plan is being shared with investors in hopes of raising $200,000 to implement the project.

At Georgia Tech, she helped found and run an innovative non-degree program for students with intellectual disabilities. For the program known as Excel, she recruited and trained more than 100 college-age mentors to help Excel students navigate campus and live on their own.

“I saw the untapped potential that existed in the disability community,” Harris says. “I am hoping to apply my problem-solving ability developed as a biomedical engineer, my passion for inclusion, and my strategic mindset developed through Goizueta to effectively address these challenges.”

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