“When I was applying to college, I knew that I wanted to pursue something medically related but did not know for sure what direction I wanted to go. I was interested in becoming a physician, but did not know if that was exactly what I wanted to do. BioE was broad enough that I thought I could probably do anything with it and would be able to gain a variety of skills.
BioE has turned out to be a good choice for me because I like using an interdisciplinary approach to solving medical problems and working in teams. I’m often less interested in the hard technical aspects that other engineering majors emphasize and prefer to examine problems from a holistic perspective. I think BioE majors are in a unique position to be the bridge between clinicians and engineers.
There are a lot of different pathways in BioE which allow you to tailor the major to your interests, but that can make it tough if you don’t have enough of a focus. I am in an ultrasound research lab designing a methodology to detect and diagnose diffuse liver disease. It’s been really cool because I get to do a technical ultrasound project but also work with collaborators in the UW Medicine Radiology department and see the real clinical relevance.
I’ve accepted a job offer at Philips Healthcare in Bothell to work in their ultrasound group after graduation. So my PI, who is an expert in the field and has industry experience of his own, and my capstone have really given me real world experience that helped me get a job! I’m hoping that working at a company that has such a large presence in biotech and medicine will give me experience and help me decide what kind of graduate degree to pursue in a few years.
My advice to prospective students is not to be afraid to try a variety of things that interest you, whether it is a new club or research lab or something else. Find labs that do research that interests you and don’t be afraid to change labs if your interests change. I changed labs when I realized that the research wasn’t what I was interested in and that’s what led to me learning about ultrasound, and getting to where I am today.”