#STEMBabes: Meet Sruti, a Pre-Med Engineering Student!

January 23, 2018

Hi, and welcome back to the #STEMBabes series!

(If you haven’t read my introductory post to this series, please click over and read it now!)

During this series, I will be featuring a woman doing cool things in her own STEM-related field. This is in the hopes that they will be able to answer any questions you might have about navigating the world of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering as a female. There are so many girls succeeding and truly making a difference in their respective industries, and I hope getting to know some of them better will help/inspire/motivate girls out there who are getting ready to embark on a similar path.

For this installment, I conducted a little email interview of one of my closest friends, Sruti! She was my suite-mate for my first three years of school, and she is killing it right now as a woman in STEM. Sruti is a biomedical engineering major (like me), but she also conducts some really cool research ALL while being on the pre-med track!

I hope you enjoy reading about Sruti’s life – she inspires me every day.

Q – Name 3 Fun Facts about yourself!

A – 

  • In my free time recently, I’ve begun experimenting with beginner/intermediate yoga!
  • I also binge-watching TV, and read interesting science-related articles or random wikipedia pages instead of actually doing my homework when I’m supposed to!
  • I Iove singing and dancing! From a young age I’ve been classically trained in south Indian music and dance and I’ve continued these passions ever since.

Q – Why do you want to go into medicine?

A – After volunteering at a hospital for three high school summers, I realized that medicine is a field where simple acts of kindness can go a long way – and I was hooked. But as I’ve matured, I also see the mess and confusion that sometimes comes with medicine, especially on the patient-end. I knew I wanted to use a rational and analytical route of thinking in my career. Altogether, I chose medicine because I’ve glimpsed the complex good and bad sides of medicine, and that healthcare professionals must keep up with the demand of knowledge to problem-solve the patient. I’m eager for what’s to come.

Q – If you weren’t going to be a doctor, what would your career path be?

A – I used to imagine myself becoming an educator. I think being a teacher or professor is a noble profession – I can clearly remember my teachers that instilled a love for education and hard-work ethic in me. Since teachers are responsible for a student’s character and future, being an effective and memorable teacher is one of the biggest honors.

Q – How do you balance being both an engineering student and a pre-med student?

A – Going from engineering to medicine is definitely the road less traveled. It’s challenging to complete your pre-med courses in addition to your degree courses, but if you plan and keep track of your course layout during undergrad, it’s totally possible. Perhaps you’d like to take courses during summer breaks or during a gap year as well to complete everything on time for your application. That being said, engineering coursework doesn’t always provide you with ample time to pursue healthcare opportunities such as shadowing, volunteering,  and research.

But if you select carefully, the right extracurricular activities can get you a meaningful experience with an appropriate time commitment. For example, academic research can be scheduled in between classes, and shadowing is possible if you have a clinic or medical center near campus.

If you love engineering and medicine, then you’ll have to give 110% to succeed in a demanding major and balance coursework with extracurriculars – but it’ll all be worth it!

Q – What is the hardest part about being a BME major? What is the easiest?

A – The hardest part is taking engineering and pre-med classes simultaneously, because pre-med classes are much less analytical in nature and require more content memorization. It is challenging for me to step away from the problem-solving skills that engineers fare well with. Figuring out what learning methods work best for you will have to be tailored depending on the class, and is different for everyone.

The easiest part is actually being able to use your problem solving skills in all fields. After all, engineering demands a systemic route of thinking that is ideal for the field of medicine.

Q – What experiences/extracurriculars have contributed the most to your college experience?

A – 

  • When I get overwhelmed or experience academic setbacks, volunteering/shadowing at local hospitals reminds me of how excited I get with patient interactions, and how I’m happiest when I help others.
  • Thanks to the perks of attending a small school, I’ve been involved in drug delivery research early on. I’m developing a novel drug for diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retinas in your eyes!), and am currently working on rabbit eye models.
  • Through Global Brigades, setting up a medical and dental clinic in Panama was a rewarding experience that opened my eyes to healthcare around the world.
  • In my free time, I’m heavily involved in my sorority – Delta Phi Epsilon, Beta Eta chapter. I’m lucky that our philanthropic causes align with my healthcare interests, and even luckier that I’ve found an amazing sisterhood that I can call my home-away-from-home.

Do you have any advice for other girls pursuing medicine and/or biomedical engineering?

A – Whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy. Although I was hesitant to pursue BME first, I’m now glad that I did. If doing what you love means your journey to medicine and/or BME may be different/longer than what is expected, remind yourself of what you want to pursue by getting involved in experiences that make you happy. I’m happiest when I help others, so I find volunteering with patients or observing clinical settings reminds me that as much as I love BME, medicine will also be just as rewarding!

Sruti presenting her ocular drug delivery research and winning first place at NJIT’s 2017 Techquest competition!

A huge thank-you to Sruti for contributing her experiences to the #STEMBabes series! If you have any questions for her at all, please contact me and I’ll get you in contact with her 🙂

Stay tuned for the next #STEMBabes post!

Are you interested in contributing to #STEMBabes? Fill out this form here!

(P.S. It’s a new form!!)

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