K-State graduation year: 2008
Degree: BS in biological and agricultural engineering
Currently enrolled: University of Kansas, School of Engineering graduate student
Position: Graduate research assistant (GRA) in the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Research Lab
How many times did you change your major during college?
Describe the process of choosing your major:
I asked for advice from some of my high school teachers, and I thought about what I was good at and what I liked to do. In my case, I like math, science, and biology, so I decided to major in engineering. After researching the types of engineering at K-State, I decided on biological engineering.
What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?
Society of Women Engineers
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
K-State Engineering Ambassadors
Steel Ring Professional Engineering Society
Did you complete an internship or have related work experience prior to receiving your job?
Yes, I had an internship at Hospira, a pharmaceutical contract manufacturing company in McPherson, Kansas. I was assigned to a project in the product labeling department. My main role was to provide a fresh perspective to problems and develop solutions to make the department run more efficiently. The internship taught me how to problem solve, communicate, and work independently on a project.
Describe the process of finding your first job:
I discovered the KU Bioengineering program at the K-State Graduate School Fair. After doing some internet research and talking with professors at KU, I submitted my application, personal statement, and reference letters.
Briefly describe a typical day at your job:
As a graduate student I attend classes (around 6-9 credit hours per semester), but I also work on my thesis research. As a GRA I am required to work 20 hours in the lab, performing research and gathering data for my advisor. So a typical day for me is attending classes two to three hours per day and then working in the lab on research projects.
I also spend a large portion of my time reading journal articles pertaining to my research topics to keep me aware of new advances in my field and learn new techniques or concepts that I can apply to my own research.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the freedom to learn and discover.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
I have a lot of independence and free time, so I have had to learn how to be disciplined, manage my time, and be a self starter.
What advice would you give someone interested in your field?
If you enjoy learning and doing research or you want to work in academia as a professor, graduate school is for you.