Alumni Profile

Sydney Marco

Sydney Marco in front of an old yellow truck.

My engineering background has made the world appear differently to me. Courses like statics and physics literally explain why things in the universe behave the way they do, and most people will never know why your phone slides off your car seat when you slam on the breaks or why water comes out of a hose faster when you cover one side of the opening, and I take pride in this grasp I have on the world."

Where I've Been

Cities

  • West Islip, NY 
  • Buffalo, NY

Organizations

  • Good Samaritan Hospital Department of Radiation Oncology
  • Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology Department of Biomedical Imaging

Positions

  • Intern in both organizations, assisted radiologists as well as biomedical engineers

What I've Done

What types of work have you performed? What projects have you worked on?
I have worked in radiation oncology alongside radiologists, preparing patients for medical imaging exams as well as compiling image data. In addition I have assisted biomedical engineers in the more technical aspects of medical imaging who act as equipment technicians for both the modalities as well as vital sign monitors.

What have been some favorite aspects of your work?
My favorite part about working with engineers in a hospital is all the patients I got to interact with. Part of my job was to prep the patients for their imaging exams and filling out their charts with them which often resulted in great conversations or stories. I loved working in medical imaging also because in this field I saw the exact things I learned in class (BE 304) being applied in real life scenarios over and over.

What was one of your most satisfying days as an engineer?
During my summer internship at a medical imaging private practice, I had a patient come in needing urgent exams, however this individual was very scared of the procedure. Knowing that I had a recent background in all of the medical imaging modalities, the radiologist allowed me to explain to the patient the exact mechanics behind an MRI and how the patient would be unaffected by radiation as MRI's utilize a magnetic field to project an image. I also explained to this patient that the x-ray they ultimately required was a very low dose of radiation and that being combined with the MRI was not harmful. This demonstration of knowledge I directly acquired in class from UB was very satisfying, as well as making a patient feel more comforted.

Was it worth it? What has your engineering background made possible for you? What value has it added to your overall life?
My engineering background has made the world appear differently to me. Courses like statics and physics literally explain why things in the universe behave the way they do, and most people will never know why your phone slides off your car seat when you slam on the breaks or why water comes out of a hose faster when you cover one side of the opening, and I take pride in this grasp I have on the world.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I chose biomedical engineering over being a biology major because I would like to go to medical school and choosing the engineering route has been harder and made my GPA suffer a little bit more than I think it would have in just biology. But it is absolutely worth it. The critical thinking skills I have gained and the way I break down problems to solve them has made me think in a more creative way. I would definitely not be the same person if I did not go this route.

Why it Matters

What would you say to the freshmen currently sitting in your shoes?
Worrying and thinking I had a long road ahead of me and difficult classes still far into the future, but everything has been absolutely worth it as I now look at the world differently and approach problems with new ideas.