Where are you from?
I am from Pomona, New York, which is a town about an hour away from New York City. However, I was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when I was around 3 years old.
Why did you choose UB?
I may have been biased with my choice, but my sister also attended UB for their illustrious PharmD program. Every time I visited her, I would be amazed by the extensive research facilities and resources. Eventually, I figured out I wanted to be an engineer sometime in high school, and remembered that UB is also renowned for their engineering programs. It was somewhat an obvious choice to attend UB for their highly recognized School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, while also having a piece of home in the form of my sister.
What do you like most about engineering at UB?
I love that UB offers so many different opportunities to build your engineering career with. I am a mechanical engineer on paper, but I am more inclined towards the biomedical side of the industry. The medical device industry is what I am pursuing as my field of interest. I have had plenty of opportunities to explore this interest with industry tours and career-based workshops. UB has large connections to local companies that serve as a great gateway to gain experience.
What is your favorite place on campus?
Baldy Hall has a lot of memories for me. During finals week of my first semester at UB, I used the empty classrooms to study all week (and night) long with my sister. As a student assistant for EAS 207: Statics, I used one of the Baldy classrooms for busy office hours. Many club meetings were held in Baldy Hall, and even now I enjoy studying in this building too. There are special nooks that many students don’t know about, so I’m able to study in a quiet and secluded area.
What made you want to get involved with the Biomedical Engineering Society?
Starting my freshman year, I was originally a biomedical engineering major. A lot of upperclassmen mentors recommended me to get involved in Biomedical Engineering Society as a way to better acclimate to the new college setting. I ended up running for freshman representative, and now I am president of the club. I’ve met a lot of friends and colleagues through the club, and from a club industry tour I was able to secure an internship with a UB-affiliated company, The Jacobs Institute. Even after I changed my major to mechanical engineering, the club was still an outlet to pursue my interest in the medical device field.
What are you working on right now?
Currently, I am an engineering intern at The Jacobs Institute, a local medical innovation center. The Jacobs Institute serves to advance the development of next generation medical device technology to treat vascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke. I am responsible for developing watertight, low-profile, easy assembly connections that can be integrated into 3D printed models to create modular JI models used for clinical simulations. This allows for a novel ‘plug and play’ modular design where various arch anatomies can be printed and used with various intracranial anatomies.
What else do you do on campus and in the community?
To quickly summarize, I am a Student Leader for EAS 199 and EAS 202 - the introductory courses for freshmen engineering majors. I’ve had the pleasure to teach freshmen and aid them through their transition between high school and college. I have also worked as a Student Assistant (SA) for Statics. In both cases, I have watched students grow as engineers and as people as well. It’s rewarding to be a part of their journey, and see them take on the same roles later on. Not to mention, I have had the honor to serve as a Fusion 360 Student Ambassador for Autodesk for the 2020-2021 academic year. I was able to promote the use of Fusion 360, a computer-aided design program, throughout various SEAS clubs with workshops and Tinkering modules. I have also been an Honors College Peer Mentor, SEAS Peer Mentor, and volunteer as a SEAS Ambassador. With these opportunities, I help and guide many engineering students in their undergraduate career. As a person with multiple mentors that I frequently ask questions to, I know how valuable it is to gain advice from a more established student. I've gotten multiple opportunities thanks to my mentors, and I would love to pass it on to my mentees.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of being accepted into a research program at Cornell University during the summer of 2021. I had so much support from the Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Lab team, especially from my graduate student mentors, Niharika and Adrita, and Dr. Moridi. They further deepened my passion for iterative design with respect to developing a nozzle apparatus to control microparticle flow during a metal additive manufacturing process. I was able to independently create three different iterations for the nozzle, test them, and make design changes all on my own. I realized the joy of ever-lasting adaptation behind the iterative nature of engineering design. Endless ideas can be translated into reality through intensive research and development.
What are you passionate about?
This may sound corny, but I am passionate about helping others. Whether it be through engineering or volunteering my time or even giving people directions on campus, there’s such a gratification to know you may have made their lives at least a little bit better.
What are your future plans?
This may be funny to say, but I am planning to get a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. With my fundamental skills in mechanical engineering, I want to further specify in the area of engineering I am passionate about. After graduate school, I would love to work as an R&D Engineer at a medical device company.
What is your advice for prospective students?
I would say to keep an open mind. Engineering is more collaborative than you think, and it takes multiple disciplines to build a product. When I first came to UB, I thought I had to major in biomedical engineering in order to pursue the career path I wanted, and suffered from severe tunnel-vision with this mindset. However in my freshman year I explored 3D printing with engineering intramural projects (facilitated by Dr.Olewnik) and I found myself enjoying the more mechanical aspects of engineering. I eventually switched to mechanical engineering to broaden and deepen my fundamental understanding of my interests. Changing my major didn’t decrease my chances to work in the medical device industry, and I am still working hard towards my goal in the field.