I walked out of UB engineering prepared to take on the world and with the tools to do so. To this day, I live by what I affectionately refer to as "Bill-isms." Like my favorite, "the quality of the work you put in today, is the quality of product you'll get out later."
What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
Medical device design, patient-specific 3D printed anatomical models, patient-specific 3D printed surgical guides; currently a medical student.
What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
It all comes back to the impact you can have on people's lives. I think that's one thing that the Student Excellence Initiatives taught me - it's not about the engineering degree, it's what you can do with it and the power that creative thinking and deductive reasoning can have.
What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
In my brief time in industry, the most satisfying experience was when a surgeon would share their patients' success stories. Our job as engineers tends to be "behind the scenes," but when we learned that our surgical guides had helped a patient to be able to turn a doorknob, return to their hands-on job, or throw a baseball again after several months, it felt incredible. It was also wonderful to know that we made our surgeon's lives easier, even if it was just for that one procedure. It was a privilege to be able to have such a profound, lasting impact on someone's life through engineering and technology.
Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
Absolutely, without a doubt, yes! It was 100% worth it and I would do it again, ten times over, if I had the chance. Engineering has without question made me a better medical student and future physician. I look at the world differently from my colleagues, often describing complex medical conditions in terms of basic physics and fluid mechanics principles - I understand why things happen, instead of memorizing just that they happen. Studying engineering taught me to take complex theoretical information and break it down into bite-sized real-world applied principles. This allows me to explain complex ideas in simple, direct terms to my patients.
What would you say to the first-year students currently sitting in your shoes?
Learning a new concept and having a panic attack because I didn't grasp it right away. Remember - that's why you're here! Everything in engineering is about the process. Take the time to hone your process: learn how you learn, ask tons of questions, go to class, stay organized, participate actively in small groups, try and try again on homework problems, and don't be afraid to ask for more help when you need it (preferably, before you get into trouble with grades). There is an entire village - no, a legacy - that wants you to succeed. The seat that you occupy is yours for a reason. Don't let your initial shock with a new concept stop you - learn to put one foot in front of the other until you're able to walk and then run your way across the stage at graduation! We've all been there - you can do this!