Alexis Fleming is an undergraduate senior in bioengineering pursuing the team design capstone track. For her capstone project, she is working on a transcutaneous spinal fusion stimulator under the guidance of Dr. Rajiv Saigal at the University of Washington Medical Center. Outside of school, Alexis is the co-president of GlobeMed and helps run a women’s outdoors group. After graduation, she is planning to apply to medical school.
“As far as favorite memories from UW, specifically from BioE, I really feel the first quarter of BioE core was pretty awesome. At that time, everyone was new to each other, and so excited to meet each other and work together. The work was challenging, but you were in this environment where you can ask as many people as many questions as you want.
I really liked that quarter even though it was stressful. I think our cohort coming together during that time was really great to see. These days, I feel like that’s not quite how it is anymore. But you know, at least we had that quarter. And we kind of had that a little bit for junior fall quarter, but it was starting to dissipate.
I am a TA for BIOEN 325, Biotransport I, and I definitely see that in the junior BioE students. I had office hours recently and they were all there. And I was like, ‘Awww I remember this.’ The frustrating but kind of enjoyable feeling of going and spending hours at office hours trying to do a homework. I think this environment is a really a big strength of BioE, especially compared to other departments. A lot of my friends don’t even know other people in their major. BioE is great in that way.”
“One thing that I struggled with most at UW, which is probably something that a lot of people go through, is actually making friends. I am from Ohio so I did not know anyone when I got to UW. There are a couple of people who I am friends with now. But if I picture myself five years out of college, the ones that I think l will actually be in touch with is pretty low.
Having said that, I started dating my boyfriend in the middle of freshman year. I spent a lot of time with him. I think that was one of the reasons that I did not make very many close friends at that time. I am better now about balancing time with my boyfriend and building relationships with other people, but it would have been nice if I had focused on this earlier. I would have probably had a stronger foundation and community.
Overall, I think that finding a genuine community while also being away from family has been very hard at UW. There are a lot of nice people, but you know how it is – it’s kind of hard to find the ones you can count on.”