Shannon Brown Oahu, Hawaii / 23 Biomedical Engineering PhD, 2018 Agricultural and Biological Engineering BS, 2014 University of Florida Doctoral Researcher University of Florida I’m a PhD student at the University of Florida in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering. I transferred from ag/bio engineering (undergraduate) to biomedical engineering (graduate) to apply my biological engineering background in a field that would advance the quality of life. In high school, I loved calculus, but it was not satisfying just to study math or physical sciences. I was fascinated by the complexity of biology and human physiology, although admittedly I didn’t know the first things about them. So, for my undergraduate degree in biological engineering, I put the two together: math and biological science. Along the way, my knowledge of these subjects grew, and accordingly my interests developed. I picked up minors in biomechanical engineering and nutritional sciences that allowed me to explore subjects that excited me most. I personally financed my college experience, so I pursued every scholarship for which I was eligible and worked part-time jobs. The effort paid off (literally), as I received numerous small scholarships from my department, from both colleges in which my department was housed, from ASABE, and from Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society. An internship at RTI Surgical solidified my desire to pursue the medical sciences, particularly orthopedics. I’m going straight for a PhD because I thrive in the research environment, and I’m not deterred by going back to school for a long haul. Additionally, I was awarded three fellowships that make me proud to be a graduate student: a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Pittman Fellowship from the Institute of Cellular Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (ICERM), and a Graduate School Fellowship from the University of Florida. Dedication is an important trait for my job. PhD research is taxing, especially when balancing it with other activities—volunteering, coursework, writing, and life. The students who seem to enjoy it most are willing to stay late, show up on weekends, and tolerate sometimes-tedious work. When I’m not in the lab, I’m hiking in the natural areas around Gainesville or doing power yoga. I also foster for the local greyhound rescue group during summers and participate in K-12 outreach programs during the academic year. And I love baking for my friends! Although work fills most of my hours every day, the rewards are great and the results can make a substantial impact on society, so being resultsdriven also makes this a satisfying position. If you want to excel past your peers in this field, it takes sacrifice. Get ready to buckle down. Bioengineering is basically core engineering plus pre-med coursework, and it can be cutthroat. That said, if you emerge on top, it is truly valuable and an indication of your efforts.
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