As a Grand Challenge Scholar, I have the opportunity to undertake a number of extraordinary experiences. All of my experiences stem from the following five categories: Service, Interdisciplinary, Global, Entrepreneurship, and Research. Below I have outlined my experiences. In selecting the category title, you can read a more in-depth explanation of my experience. At the bottom of the page, I go into depth regarding not only why I joined this program but also the specific challenge I chose: Engineering Better Medicines.
Baltimore Reading Partners
I worked at Lakeland Elementary School in Baltimore as a reading tutor. For the entirety of Fall 2019, I went to the school for 1 to 2 hours a week (totaling 25 hours for the semester.) The goal of the program is to help students in fourth grade and below, so that they may have a strong enough reading foundation to excel in other courses as well. I was truly honored to have the opportunity to help the foundation.
UVA Cardiac Biomechanics Lab
My research was focused on understanding why increased heart rate reverses the growth of HFpEF patients and restores normal cardiac function. Patients with heart failure preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) do not respond well to the typical treatment for heart failure which is decreasing heart rate; however, they have shown a positive response to a moderate increased heart rate.
JHU APL Multi-Agent Robotic Sandbox
The purpose of the MARS project is to “build an infrastructure allowing seamless transition from simulation to hardware implementations of robotic interactions with intelligent agents.” My job on the MARS project was to take charge of Computer-Aided Design assignments. I was tasked with integrating the hardware with the virtual simulations and connecting them to the next work as well.
ENGINEERING BETTER MEDICINES
As a part of the Grand Challenge program, I had the opportunity to pick a challenge to focus on; I chose Engineering Better Medicines. It so greatly aligns with my research interests. I am interested in Bioengineering, but more specifically Biorobotics (prosthetics and mechanical organs) and Medical Device Design. I want to apply engineering strategies to the medical field and help advance personalized medicine so that patients can receive the best possible care. I aim to engineer better medicines.
I was motivated to join the Grand Challenges program because of the interdisciplinary aspects of the program. As a Mechanical Engineering student, there are few, in any, opportunities for me to engage with the Bioengineering discipline on campus as UMBC does not have a Bioengineering Department. Grand Challenges encourages interdisciplinary work and research, both of which may open opportunities for me to gain another Bioengineering experience and push me closer to doing what I aspire to do in the future.