Becky Darrow is a senior in the Department of Bioengineering at UW finishing the team design capstone track. For her capstone project, she is working with the UW Engineering Innovation in Health program to optimize central venous catheterization under the guidance of Renda Palo and anesthesiologists Dr. Amber Franz and Dr. Bukola Ojo at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Outside of school, Becky matches people in mentorship pairings as BMES Crosslink chair, and she spends most of her free time dancing. After graduation, she has secured a consulting position at Accenture, the technology consulting firm.
“Dancing is a big part of my life. If I go out on the weekend, I will most likely go salsa or bachata dancing. During the week, I regularly take Ballet and Modern classes at UW. Dance is incredibly rewarding and a big emotional release for me. In a traditional classroom, I am learning and processing a lot of theoretical information. It’s all in my mind, and it’s hard to feel a tangible product. However, in dance you are immediately producing something that you can feel, see, and share. In academics it is a little harder to see that you are growing and developing. It also feels great to do something with fewer limitations or expectations. There’s a lot more room for creative thinking as you figure out the different shapes, rhythms, and patterns you can create. Additionally, in social dancing or contact improv, there is a huge communicative component that transcends the barriers that exist in our typical interactions with people. Sharing these moments with others can help me get through difficult emotions or stressful moments in my life. For me, the connection with music is also a huge part of why dance is so cathartic. The classes that I’m taking at UW are accompanied with live music. There have been days when I am angry or sad about something, but I can express it through movement and release that tension without taking it out on anyone. It’s a safe place to express emotions through movement along with the musician who can respond to you too, which is really satisfying. Some people, like myself, are not always comfortable expressing or sharing emotions verbally, but in dance you can do that through movement.
One of the most important things I have learned largely though BioE is that it is okay to not be the best and give 100 percent all the time. Until I came to college, I was always told that I should give 100 percent into everything all the time. I knew that it was okay to not be the best, but no matter what I should give my full effort on everything. When I started BioE and went through core, I learned that it is okay even if I don’t give 100 percent of my effort. We have a lot going on in college, and we need to learn to do what is comfortable for ourselves and the healthiest. This was the struggle during core because I wanted to put everything into every assignment and I just physically was not able to.
I also learned that I don’t have to follow a path that other people have already taken. It sounds appealing to do so because they have been successful and you know you can be too. However, there are so many more things that we can do with our degree or even without it if that’s the choice you make. This realization came to me early in my junior year. I found that I was not really enjoying research that much, although my whole life I thought I would. My grandfather was a professor of biology and my dad is an electrical engineer. My mom is Chinese, which does not necessarily mean anything, but she had expectations for me to pursue a high-demand field like STEM or healthcare. In high school, I loved biology, math, and science, and so I thought engineering is what I wanted to do. Being away from home and from those expectations during college made me realize that I may be headed in the wrong direction. I was sort of self-fulfilling a prophecy that was set by my history and my family’s expectations. I discovered I wanted to work more on big-picture things rather than technical research. That’s when I started to explore other career options that use an engineering background but specifically in business. My parents reacted fine to it—they are really supportive. They were just surprised. I deviated from the path that I thought I was on, and I am really happy that I did.”