Biomedical engineering student Erica just received her bachelor’s degree and is just one year away from a master’s through Arizona State University’s 4 + 1 accelerated degree program.
This program, available for the majority of engineering degrees, allows for dual enrollment classes during your senior year and full completion of a master’s and bachelor’s degree in just five years.
“This is a rare and convenient opportunity that makes the most of your time and experiences here at ASU,” says Erica. Not to mention making the most of your money by cutting the cost of graduate school in half.
But it wasn’t the 4 + 1 program alone that brought Erica to ASU. It all started with the personal attention she received as a senior in high school.
Erica applied to every university Arizona has to offer, but ASU alone gave her the personal introduction she needed. Erica met with an engineering advisor who connected her with a prominent professor in biomedical engineering, her major of choice. This professor helped her to see the school inside and out as she saw a beautiful campus, top-tier facilities and hands-on research in a prototyping lab.
Aside from gratitude for the personal attention she received, Erica says,
“I could immediately tell that ASU was a place with energy and a lot to do. Facilities matter, but the surrounding community matters too, and ASU is a lot of fun.”
The benefits of living on campus
Erica took advantage of living in the dorms as a freshman engineer, something she highly recommends for all incoming freshmen. “I met most of my friends in the dorms,” she says, “These people are still my friends four years later and even my current roommates. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
In fact, Erica never moved off campus as an undergraduate, living in ASU’s on-campus apartments since her freshman year.
“Live on campus where you can ride your bike to class, the library and the tutoring center. Live on campus where you can feel the excitement on game days,” says Erica.
But most of all, Erica says to be an engineer, any kind. Erica has come to realize that engineering classes do more than encourage innovative thinking, design strategies and prototyping; engineering is also about managing time and developing personal skills.
“It takes responsibility and motivation to be an engineer. The same qualities that are essential for succeeding in your engineering degree program are essential for your life-long success and achievement.”
Hands-on research opportunities
As an engineer, Erica has had a multitude of opportunities to expand on these skills. Through the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) and separate undergraduate research in a biomedical engineering lab, Erica is gained three years of serious research as an undergraduate student.
For Erica, this research is primarily in the form of medical device development. She is currently working on a noninvasive glucose sensor for diabetics. This sensor will allow diabetics to test glucose levels by merely touching their eye, instead of pricking their finger.
Erica also had the opportunity to participate in a 10-week research experience in Florida before beginning her senior year. In Florida, she worked at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in a chemistry lab, investigating bioactive compounds from deep-sea marine organisms for potential use in the treatment of human diseases. Through this national Research Experience for Undergraduates program (REU) Erica met more than 20 friends from a variety of disciplines from all across the world (and spent the summer on the Florida beach).
“No school puts an emphasis on undergraduate research like ASU,” says Erica. “Take advantage of these research opportunities to get a leg-up on jobs, obtain experience for graduate school, and see hands-on why the time in the classroom really matters.”
Erica encourages students to look into projects like FURI and to talk to favorite professors for individual research opportunities as early as freshman year.
Erica also encourages students to look into Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS). As a sophomore, Erica was on an EPICS team called Doc-in-a-Box. This team received a shipping container equipped with medical devices that had been sent as a medical clinic “in a box” to serve dozens of people in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. This box needed some renovations and improvements following its service including better insulation, a new electrical system and a paint job.
Erica’s team set out to make these improvements in time for its next need as a disaster response clinic. In sum, “the more things you try, the better,” says Erica. “And come to a school that gives you a lot to try.”
The Fulton Schools give students the opportunities they need to fit their individual needs, whether it’s hands-on research, social entrepreneurship, community service, or just some extra time in the tutoring center. Come learn what ASU engineering can offer you.