Luke Thurber is a Husky through and through. From Edmonds, Wash., Luke received his bachelor’s in bioengineering from the UW and graduated in June 2021 from the Master of Applied Bioengineering program (MAB) in UW BioE. Under the guidance of Dr. Jerry Huang, associate professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Sports at UW Medicine, Luke helped develop a wearable device to track patient’s wrist range of motion. The tool will assist with tracking physical therapy progress and increase compliance with at-home physical therapy exercises. This spring, his MAB team, Return to Life Rehab, competed at the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge with their device to improve access to physical therapy.
What are your future plans?
I’d like to go into medical devices. I’m passionate about developing the next generation of tools for medicine to help doctors and clinicians provide the best care possible for patients.
Was there anything that surprised you about UW BioE?
I was surprised by how broad the field is. The labs in UW BioE all work on a very diverse range of interesting and cutting-edge topics. This breadth of topics is what drew me to BioE; there is always a learning opportunity. The professors have a love of learning, which pushes me to progress and apply solutions to unique problems.
I’ve learned how important relationships are within school and your social life. Special connections fuel you.
– Luke Thurber, MAB ’21
Is there anything you’ve learned about yourself since being at the UW?
Being at UW BioE has cemented my interest in biology and medical devices to help improve people’s lives. I’ve also learned how important relationships are within school and your social life. Special connections fuel you. The connections I’ve made help to cultivate learning and growth.
What has your COVID-19 pandemic year been like?
I focused on school and work to try to get something out of this year with not a lot going on. I’m also getting a Technology Entrepreneurship certificate from Foster School of Business to complement my BioE degree.
Has your community supported you and if so, how?
I have found it very helpful having professors and other students within BioE be there and push me to learn and cultivate my knowledge. Everyone I’ve interacted with has wanted me to succeed. It’s a very giving community in that they love sharing their knowledge and will push everyone to be the best they can be. I found it amazing. The love of science and being curious is what makes the department so great.
Do you have any advice for people considering UW BioE?
My biggest advice is to not just go through the requirements. The faculty really want to help you succeed and bring you along with the research they are doing. Ask them about what they are doing. Don’t take a back seat; put yourself out there. Everyone is very responsive and wants to include anyone. It can be intimidating, but just go for it, don’t worry about it.
What do you like to do for fun outside of school?
I’m into the outdoors – hiking, camping, water sports and boating. In the winter I love snowboarding. Stevens Pass is my favorite ski resort.