Graduate Spotlight Rebecca Demaree: Diving in Head First

Rebecca Demaree

At age 18, many students struggle with confidence in what they want to be when they grow up. Rebecca Demaree, however, is one of those rare people who has been both sure of who she wants to be and has pursued it to its fullest extent.

Demaree decided she wanted to be an engineer in the second grade and started diving at age 11. She’s carried both endeavors over to Drexel as a chemical engineering major in Drexel’s Division I diving team. Juggling these two parts of her life has provided rewards and challenges.

“There were a lot of times that I would miss class or exams to go to a meet but was glad I had the opportunity to represent Drexel as an athlete,” she said. “It was a unique experience to balance athletics with a challenging degree, but I would do it again if given the chance.”

Diving gave Demaree the support network she needed to bridge her affinity for her home in Denver, Colorado with her new life in Philadelphia — she could see familiar faces at diving meets while at the same time building connections to new teammates and friends in the Drexel engineering student-athlete community. She settled into the Philadelphia lifestyle and fondly remembers participating in local traditions like sledding down the Art Museum steps after a big snowstorm.

Rebecca Demaree Diving at Drexel
Rebecca Demaree in diving competition.

Currently, Demaree is finishing up her senior design project with friends she’s known throughout her college career. Together they’re working on an economic feasibility study for a factory that manufactures viral vectors. Viral vectors are the tools which insert genetic materials into cells and are an essential part of gene therapy.

Though senior design projects can be stressful, Demaree’s group is “having fun pooling all of our knowledge and various strengths for this project,” she said. “There are many aspects of our curriculum present in the design project; it’s a great chance to showcase all of the hard work.”

After graduation, Demaree is returning to work as a scientist at Bristol Meyers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical company where she spent two out of three of her co-ops. At some point after that, she’d like to pursue a degree in law. Her time at Drexel, she says, was “an investment in my future.”