Giving Impact Stories

Arielle Gross

Materials Science and Engineering, 2011

Arielle Gross (BS ’11; Materials Science and Engineering) knew she wanted to become an engineer after participating in the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering camp at the University of Illinois while in high school. She loved the opportunity to solve complex problems, optimize polymers, and consider broad applications using materials science. Her college experience thereafter was deeply rewarding—fascinating courses, interesting lab experiments, strong relationships, and Procter & Gamble summer internships in Package Development for Crest and CoverGirl products.

After Arielle graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering in 2011, she launched her career at Deloitte in Chicago doing Engineering and Construction Consulting, to apply her engineering background in a business context.

In 2013, she joined Facebook Inc. in the Menlo Park headquarters. At Facebook, Arielle founded a team of Product Development Specialists who re-invented how the company uses product feedback to iterate on new features and drive launches at scale. Currently, she is the Business Lead to Facebook’s Chief Creative Officer in New York City, leading strategic business and management initiatives that influence the global creative team and broader industry.

In addition, Arielle is passionate about driving gender parity across industries. She co-leads the Facebook Women New York group, is the Facebook Representative on the United Nations Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, and serves as an Advisor for AOL’s #BuiltByGirls program. Through these responsibilities, she advocates for promoting women in leadership positions, encourages girls to study STEM fields, and addresses challenges that drive progress around the world.

Education is a priority that Arielle holds close to her heart. She recently launched the Arielle Gross Engineering Visionary Scholarship Fund as a gift to the University of Illinois College of Engineering. "It has always been a goal for me to give back to budding engineers—people who are eager to build a better future."

The Grainger Matching Challenge fast-tracked Arielle’s investment by matching all new gifts to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative through the end of 2019 up to $25 million. Arielle seized the opportunity to double the impact of her gift to the institution that played a pivotal role in her development. At age 29, Arielle is the youngest woman to establish an Engineering Visionary Scholarship, to date.

"The democratization of education to produce better problem solvers is a noble concept. Many institutions benefit from private donations, which when put to effective use, create invaluable opportunities. If my scholarship fund can help more students launch effective careers and add value to society, that is a meaningful outcome for me."