BS biomedical engineering '10, Key Scholar '11
Occupation: Radiochemist, Yale School of Medicine
Residence: New Haven, CT
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
I chose biomedical engineering as a freshman because I was really interested in healthcare. The opportunity to design and develop medical devices inspired me. I ended up obtaining a minor in environmental engineering, but that kind of chose me more than I chose it. I took a course in chemical engineering in my junior year that let me work in the Biodiesel Lab. After that, I kept taking classes with a focus on green energy and wound up with a minor that I wasn't expecting.
What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?
I worked in the Biodiesel Lab my junior and senior years and decided to devote a fifth undergraduate year in the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Program to improve the sustainability in the lab. I highly recommend the KEY program to anyone who has a vision of a project that they would like to pursue. The scholars' projects range from science to dance to t-shirt pressing, or so it did when I was a scholar!
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?
I accepted a position as the clinical research assistant in Vision Care at Bausch+Lomb in Rochester, NY, during January of my KEY year. In that position, I worked with optometrists and ophthalmologists who helped perform clinical trials of contact lenses and contact solutions. I wanted to obtain experience in healthcare industry before deciding to go back to school to really figure out what aspects and areas interested me the most.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career?
I am currently working as a radiochemist in the Positron Emission Tomography Center at Yale School of Medicine. While in my position at Bausch + Lomb, I realized I really enjoy studies that take subject data into account. I like the idea of implementing adaptations to drugs and medical devices from clinical trials so I accepted a position at Yale that is also a part of clinical trials. I currently work in Quality Control of PET radiotracers that are used to track the path of drugs in the body. I test the radiotracers before they are used in the trials to ensure they meet the FDA qualifications.
What advice do you have for current Hajim School students about their time on campus, graduate study, or the first few years after college?
My advice is to gain experience in as many research settings and/or fields of study that you can! You don't really know what will interest you, or not interest you, until you experience it firsthand. When I was an undergrad, I had no idea what clinical trials were and I thought everyone in BME just works in a lab forever. While that may be the path for you, or the path for me someday, there are a lot of different opportunities out there and you should explore them as much as you can!