Spotlight: Fatiesa Sulejmani

At 19, Fatiesa Sulejmani had already graduated from Georgia Tech with an undergraduate degree in BME. Her secret: lots of hard work and late nights. Fatiesa is currently working towards a PhD in BME with a focus in cardiovascular biomechanics. What she likes best about her joint GT/Emory/Peking University program is the international collaborative experience that it provides. Grateful for the mentorship she receives from a professor at Peking University in China, she is looking forward to completing a residency there as well.

Of Albanian heritage, Fatiesa is sensitive to the health issues, especially heart diseases, that plague developing countries. “Many countries lack the resources required to perform complex procedures or adapt them for pediatric cases. Collaborative approaches are imperative to bridge this health gap,” she says, also part of her motivation to work in the field of cardiology.

She currently works in Dr. Wei Sun’s Tissue Mechanics Lab, of which she was also a member as an undergraduate student. Her primary area of study is the mechanics of the right side of the heart which remains largely understudied.

Fatiesa aspires to study medicine after getting her PhD. She wants to study cardiothoracic surgery and become a faculty member in a joint program, much like the one at Tech. Her goal, though, is to disseminate both knowledge and healthcare and have an international impact in the field of medicine.

Reflecting on her days as an undergraduate student, she says, “the undergraduate experience is very different from that of a graduate student. While an undergraduate level education in BME gives you a feel for every field, when you graduate you do not necessarily feel like an expert in any one. Yet, you can choose to go into as much depth as you like in the area of your choice.”

Another page to take from her book is that despite her long working hours, she finds time to pursue hobbies. A speaker of 6 languages, she spends her free time teaching foreign languages in the Atlanta area.

To those just starting out in BME, she says this, “Don’t underestimate the value of anything you learn; every piece of information finds its use in some way or another.”