AEMB Answers – Apr 2015

1.What are the different types of BME internships I can potentially get? And is there a way to get exposed to all types in one internship so I can pick which one I like?

One of the great (or for some, frustrating) things about BME is that you become knowledgeable in many different areas. We learn about everything from biology to circuits, from mechanics to cellular physiology, and everything in between. For this reason, there are a huge number of internships, co-ops, and research opportunities that BMEs get involved in. There are internships focusing on pharmaceuticals and drug development, medical device design, consulting, marketing and sales, and business, just to name a few.

If you are looking for an internship, the most important thing is to think about what area you have an interest in and to look for internships in that general area. If you don’t know, that’s fine too! Talk to Sally, go to the career fairs throughout the year, talk to upperclassmen friends who have participated in internships or co-ops and see what thoughts they have.

Short of that, take a chance and pursue an internship in a field you might not know a whole lot about. The worst that can happen is that you won’t get it and you won’t be any worse off for it. No matter what internship you pursue, it is always possible to explore other areas of the company you are with to see what you might like. If you interning at a medical device company such as Medtronic or Bard, you will have the chance to learn about marketing, sales, or any other department if you express that interest. Aside from that, there are certain rotational programs which give you the chance to work in a few different areas, but these are usually for 1 or more years; longer than the typical internship.

2. What are some good ways to prepare for BMED 2210 over the summer since now I have to take it before taking the old BMED 1300?

BMED 2210 is all about learning how to think like an engineer. That means understanding a problem, extracting the useful information from it, constructing an approach for tackling the problem, using a systematic method to solve it, and evaluating your result in the appropriate context. Pretty much all engineers learn these same basic skills and BMED 2210 does it in the context of biomedical relevance (fluid flow in the body, production of a drug, etc).

Having a solid foundation in analytical problem solving, the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and math (algebra and calculus) will serve you well as you learn different problem-solving techniques. More importantly, come in with an open mind and being willing to change the way you think. One of the hard things about BMED 2210 and similar classes is that they challenge you to think differently about problem-solving than you may have in the past. If you come in and put in the effort to learn the strategies, you will do well and position yourself to succeed in upper division classes.

3. Is this curriculum change harder than before? I’m not sure if I should switch over to the new one or not.

BME is a relatively new field and is quickly growing. On the one hand, it is exciting to be a part of a rapidly developing field at the cutting edge of science and engineering, but it can also be frustrating when designing an effective curriculum. The curriculum was overhauled just four years ago and now, it has happened once again. The idea behind these changes, both in the past and now, is to make sure the curriculum is as relevant and helpful as possible to careers after you complete your degree.

The key changes from the most recent curriculum change are the removal of BMED 1000 and establishing BMED 2210 as the inaugural BME course and adding a circuits/circuit lab requirement. Some course numbers were changed around and biotransport/systems modeling are now 3 hours instead of 4 but those are relatively minor changes. As current students, we all have the choice of staying on the current curriculum or switching to the new one.

In terms of which one is easier, it essentially boils down to how you feel about ECE courses. If you enjoy circuits and electronics, the new curriculum may be a better choice; otherwise, the current one may suit you better. However, the choice of curriculum should be not based solely on if you think one is easier or harder. Consider what you may want to do after graduation and what you’re interested in; if you want to go into device design or app development, it may be to your advantage to take the new curriculum. Another factor to consider if you should switch is how far you are along in your studies; it will probably be easier for someone not very far along to switch than someone graduating in December who only has a few courses left.