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Student Spotlight: Carolyn Yarina and CentriCycle


Carolyn YarinaThink that as a college student you can’t change the world? We’re here to show you that it’s very possible.

We spoke with Carolyn Yarina, a 2013 University of Michigan chemical engineering grad, about how a class project she started during her freshman year turned out to be a lifesaving organization that she’s launching full-time after graduation.

1) If you could describe your college experience in one word or phrase, what would it be and why? 

Discovery- My college journey, for me, has been about discovering who I am, what I am passionate about, and what I’m capable of. I came in to college with a passion for changing the world but I had no idea how- I assumed I would get a degree, graduate, and go work for a larger company. Over the years I have realized I am an entrepreneur, I’m passionate about using engineering design to solve tangible worldwide problems, and I have the ability and network to launch CentriCycle and change the world.

2) You’ve been involved with CentriCycle since your freshman year. Can you tell us a bit about it and how it all started? 

At CentriCycle, we are developing simple, portable medical technology to improve healthcare in the developing world. Our mission is that healthcare should not be stationary, and we are launching in India with our first device, a manually powered centrifuge. A medical centrifuge is a device that rotates at high speeds to separate blood. This is critical because blood separation enables the use of readily available rapid diagnostic tests for diseases such as hepatits B and C, typhoid fever, syphilis, and malaria. It also extends the transportation life of blood from 2 to 8 hours, which is critical if blood needs to be transported or preserved for further testing.

CentriCycle started as most of the best experiences I’ve had: by chanceI had signed up for a freshman engineering design class, ENGR 100: Engineering Design for the Real World, by happenstance because I had asked someone during my orientation what was the best ENGR 100 class and they told me this class was the best but also the most difficult.