University of Minnesota

Biomedical Engineering Student Profile

Name: Ellie Branca
Anticipated Graduation Year:

How and why did you choose your major?

I chose Biomedical Engineering because it combined my favorite interests: math, science, and medicine. I had previously considered the medical field but found it wasn't the right fit for me, and then my dad introduced me to engineering since he is an Electrical Engineer. After doing some research for a high school English project, I found that Biomedical Engineering included all of the interests I wanted in a major, so it was really the best of both worlds.

Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.

Biomedical Engineering is the study of how to solve medical problems using engineering and science methods. I have had the opportunity to take many different types of classes including Mechanics, Electricity/Instrumentation, Materials, Physiology, and Project Management among many others. The biggest challenges that I have faced include learning how to balance the workload with college life and how to develop critical thinking skills when it comes to problem solving.

What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)

As a freshman, I was a surgical volunteer at Experimental Surgical Services, a lab on campus which performs pre-clinical testing for medical devices. This past fall, I had the opportunity to do a co-op/directed study as a Product Development Co-op at Freudenberg Medical-Minimally Invasive Solutions. Within the University of Minnesota, I am a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Peer Mentor Program. I have also played on intramural volleyball, basketball, and softball teams on campus.

In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?

One piece of advice that I would give to students pursuing this major is to ask questions as soon as the pop up and to make sure you get help if you need it. In the beginning of my college career, I made the mistake of waiting too long before getting my questions answered and soon the situation snowballed. Many of the topics taught in the classes are cumulative, so if you're stuck on a subject in the beginning and don't get it clarified right away, you may struggle to understand the rest of the material being taught. The faculty and advisors in CSE and Biomedical Engineering are here to help students, whether it's in their office hours, discussion/recitation, etc.

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