Caroline "Niki" Harrison is in her fifth year at the University of Cincinnati, graduating in May 2020.  She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, BS/MS ACCEND.  Niki and her teammates are working on the Kayak Balance Assist Challenge for our Challenger, Team River Runner Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky ("TRR").  Team River Runner's mission is to provide all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community purpose, and new challenges through adventure and adaptive paddle sports.  Some of the Veterans TRR serves have mobility and balance issues.  Niki and her teammates are creating a device to help them safely get in and out of kayaks.

Why did you choose your major?  I grew up knowing I would become a mechanical engineer, preferably with a focus in government or veteran-related work. Throughout middle and high school, I competed in regional and state science fairs, primarily focusing on ballistics.

Describe your experience working with QL+:  When QL+ presented their potential projects to our Senior Design class, I immediately knew I wanted to work with them.  QL+ mission to help veterans, first responders, and their families is extremely unique.  The chance to help people who deserve it the most is extremely rewarding.

The biggest challenge for our team has been the lack of a direct challenger. Our project is meant for a group of people, so there are less specific needs to address.  I look forward to the possibility of testing our Kayak Assist Device with Team River Runner.
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What would you say to other students about QL+?  QL+ is one of the most impactful companies to work with for your senior design or other projects. You have the chance to impact people’s lives instead of a conventional engineering project.

What are your plans after graduation?  I am a DoD SMART Scholar; after graduation, I will be completing my contract to work with the US Army as a civilian engineer. I will also be pursuing a Ph.D. in National Security.

On a personal level, the week after graduation I will marry my fiancé, who will have recently commissioned as an Air Force Officer through AFROTC.
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What has been the proudest moment of your college career?  My work with the organization Silver Wings is the proudest achievement of my college career.

Silver Wings is a national, co-ed, professional organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense. It is the sister organization of the Arnold Air Society, an AFORTC a professional, honorary, service organization. Anyone interested in joining or learning more about either organization can find more information at

Silver Wings has led me to travel across the country, working with students, alumni, and active duty/retired military personnel. I have served as Major General John P. Hyde Chapter President, Silver Wings National Conclave Commander, and Major General John P. Hyde Chapter Secretary.

I also met my future husband, who is in Arnold Air Society, though my work with Silver Wings.

What three words best describe you?  Communicative, passionate, logical
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