Truss Me, I’m An Engineer

While I will be continuing my work into the fall semester, this week marks the end of my summer time with LaCell. I am extremely happy with what I learned and accomplished this summer.

My primary achievement this summer is development of user-friendly image analysis code for LaCell employees to use after I am gone. This satisfies my goals of applying my education to a professional setting, understanding how my engineering education can be used to solve problems outside of engineering, and expanding upon my knowledge of image analysis. In addition, I worked on developing similar but different image analysis code for another project as well as begun researching the project I will take on in the fall. This satisfies my goal of learning how to balance multiple projects at a time. Finally, my time with LaCell fulfills my goal of exposure to a company in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. Now that (the summer portion of) my internship is over, I would like to continue to learn more about image analysis. I would also like to experience what it is like to be in a work environment full time. However, I will have to wait for this experience until my academic responsibilities are taken care of in May 2017 when I graduate.

In my immediate future, I will complete my 5th year at Tulane as a graduate biomedical engineering student by taking classes, working hard in my lab to finish my thesis, and getting as much professional experience as possible in my internship. After graduation, I plan to leave academia and ideally take a job either with medical devices or medical software. While I am still trying to figure out the best way to go about applying for jobs, the best advice I can give others in my field is to build and expand your network every opportunity you get. That is how I got my internship with LaCell, and how many of my older friends got jobs after graduation.

engineerInspiration for my graduation cap in May 2017, and for the title of this blog post.

My experience as a woman in engineering so far has been positive. A third of the biomedical engineering class of 2016 at Tulane is women, and I work in a lab that is made up of more women than men. At LaCell, my positive experiences as a woman in engineering were reinforced. I never felt less-qualified for the projects I took on, and always felt respected when people came to me with questions or updated project objectives. While it is difficult for me to speak from professional experience on leadership in the work place, I can say the best way to be a leader in an academic setting is to be confident and willing to listen to what your peers have to say. Engineering is a field where team work is incredibly common, and I have found that leadership skills I learned in class have easily translated into my work at LaCell.

I am excited to see where my last year at Tulane takes me, and where I end up after graduation. Thanks to my time at LaCell and to the Newcomb College Institute, I will be better prepared for whatever comes my way.

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