“When I first started college, I was pre-med and I wanted to have a backup plan in case I changed my mind. I wanted to research or go into industry, so I thought bioengineering would be a versatile major. After taking BioE classes, I became more interested in engineering, and I realized I don’t necessarily have to become a healthcare professional to make an impact in healthcare.
Now, instead of going to medical school, I’m going to go into consulting for a few years and learn about technology commercialization. Back in high school, someone mentioned that consulting was a growing field, and it’s always been in the back of my mind. I never really thought much about it though, especially because a lot of it is so business related, but I started visiting some information sessions hosted by the business school just to see what it was all about. I ended up getting a summer internship at Hitachi Consulting and had such a great experience there that I’ll be going back after graduation. In consulting, you learn design solutions that tie together critical thinking and the human factor, which I’m very passionate about because I believe that user-centered design is an integral part of engineering.
My advice to new students would be to expose yourselves to different perspectives by taking interesting classes, getting involved in extracurriculars, and studying abroad. Every quarter, I have taken a humanities class (VLPA or I&S) and this has really helped me keep an open mind and explore topics that I’m interested in outside of the required STEM classes. The classes that you take for enjoyment can turn out to be the ones that shape your beliefs and your personal paths the most when you look back on your college career.
I also really enjoyed studying abroad. I studied surrealism in Paris during Early Fall Start right after my internship at Hitachi ended. Summer quarter or Early Fall Start are great times to study abroad because they won’t interfere with your BioE classes during the year. Having the opportunity to study art in Paris was such a unique and memorable experience that really enriched my studies at UW. I love art and design, and being able to pursue this side of my interests added a lot to my educational experience.
One thing that I wish I had spent more time on was extracurriculars. Throughout college, I have spent a lot of time focused on grades. While grades are important because they open up opportunities, I think it’s also really important to have experiences that show what you’re passionate about and what gets you excited! This could be anything like a club that you’re a part of or maybe a project that you did on your own time because you were genuinely interested in it. In my senior year, I have started to get more involved in side projects, and I wish I’d done that earlier because it’s so fulfilling. I took a biomaterials class last quarter, and did a group project on developing a dissolvable, edible nanofiber that has iron supplements that infants can take since they can’t chew tablets or swallow pills. After the class ended, my teammate Namratha and I wanted to pursue our idea further, so our PI Dr. Woodrow is letting us use her facilities. We have received a prototyping grant, so we’ve been purchasing supplies to make our idea happen in lab! We have an interview with Amazon Catalyst next week, and I don’t know how it’ll go, but I’m super excited about it. We don’t really know if anything major will come out of it but it’s definitely fun to explore our idea and see where it will take us.”