Oh, The People You'll Know: Scheile Preston
Scheile Preston graduated last weekend. She has always had a desire to help people, and a passion for the human relation aspects of engineering. She has made that a focus of her time at Illinois.
During her freshman year, she was involved with ASME competitions committee and worked on a quad copter project. Her first semester sophomore year she was the publicity director for ASME, and her second semester she studied abroad in Spain. She stated that her time abroad heightened her international awareness, and that she was able to focus on her other interests away from the hustle of campus.
Back in the U.S., Scheile led ASME’s Outreach committee her junior year. She organized and executed charity events, several of which raised funds for Kenwood Elementary School’s STEM program. She created an event called Student Showcase, which is an opportunity for mechanical engineers and other artistic and musical students to showcase their art and perform, and raise money for Kenwood at the same time. On her time serving for ASME outreach, Scheile said it was a great opportunity to grow as a leader, an exercise in organization and time management, and an opportunity to find ways to motivate people and keep them involved.
Also in her junior year, Scheile began working with a professor in the College of Business involved in sustainable change, Dr. Madhu Viswanathan. Through his work, she learned of post-harvest loss in India and the resulting financial loss that small-scale farmer’s experience. She wanted to find a way to work around these losses, and created a team to analyze various aspects of the famers’ lives, and what can be done to improve the farmers’ lives. Palam Solutions is the venture that she created.
“We are providing a rice drying service for rural Indian farmers where we buy rice from farmers to then dry and sell to local rice mills. Implementing well-developed drying technology increases the quality and quantity of the rice produced, creating value for both the farmers and the rice mills,” she said. As of April 2018, Palam Solutions is waiting to hear back from the campus IVenture Accelerator to see if they will be accepted into their program, which would allow them to be eligible for $10,000 in non-equity funding to begin prototyping their dryer and continue their market research.
Scheile’s kindness and dedication to all of her work is evident in everything she touches, and her care for positive societal impact through technology will undoubtedly be at her core through her life.