For me, (Lesley is a senior in the BioE BS program) BioE has been like the Viper at Six Flags, a rollercoaster ride that begins with a 170-foot drop that sends you into a series of loops. BioE has been a similar thrilling ride for me, as the program is always throwing unexpected challenges at me and constantly forcing me to learn new skills. To cope with the intensity of the program, I look to my culture, which I define as the way that people’s values and habits come together to unite them. For me, this means finding positivity and humor in all situations and surrounding myself with individuals who do the same.

This approach to life wasn’t always one that I could relate to easily. When I was younger, I was quite serious and severe and it wasn’t until I attended high school in Mexico that I adopted a more light-hearted outlook on life. Despite my dramatic move from the US to Mexico, there was never a day that I wasn’t brought to tears of laughter by my new upbeat and witty classmates. During this time, I learned to embrace optimism and mastered the art of finding humor in all situations to better handle the more arduous aspects of life.

I believe this attitude will help me be a better engineer. As engineers, we will confront difficult problems and failures, but I trust that if we keep an open mind and remain optimistic, we will foster a more inclusive and productive problem-solving environment.

(This conversation occurs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic) I have spent most of my time reading. I think I read three books this week! I have mostly been reading fiction. Two of my favorite podcasters, Vanessa Zoltan and Casper ter Kuile, say “reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.” Reading fiction has helped me to continue to grow as a person, especially now when I am isolated due to the stay-at-home orders.


Humans of UW Bioengineering is a student led group that aims to bring together the UW BioE community through individuals’ stories. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Krithi Basu, Nathaniel Linden and Hannah Redden took over the project as a senior honors project. Their goal is to incorporate a focus on personal and community cultural backgrounds. They hope to promote cultural awareness across the community and in the engineering design process.