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Few professions have such a positive influence on people’s lives as engineers. Your car, your phone and even your favorite soda are all the end products of innovative thinking and problem solving by engineers.
But beyond material possessions, engineers can also affect our health dramatically, sometimes having life-saving impacts. Engineers ensure clean, accessible drinking water, devise emergency response units for times of crisis and develop new medical devices every day.
This humanitarian aspect of engineering is what initially attracted University of Cincinnati biomedical engineering student Sumedha Kappagantula to the field.
“My family has always been service oriented, so from a young age, it was instilled in me how good it feels to help other people and better their lives,” Kappagantula says.
Kappagantula, a first-year undergraduate student at UC, who is also on a pre-medicine track, hopes eventually to work in emergency medicine or trauma surgery, where she can directly apply her knowledge to saving lifesaving operations.
“You have to be prepared for anything, be quick on your feet and use your resources to provide the best care that you can,” she says. “That’s what I like about it.”
One reason Kappagantula chose UC was because it offers diverse opportunities in the medical field. In addition to having access to UC Medical Center, students at UC are exposed to 11 hospitals within a five-mile radius of uptown campus. This makes for plenty of opportunities for research experiences, something Kappagantula has already taken advantage of. This week, she started work as an undergraduate researcher in UC Assistant Professor Michael Tranter’s cardio-metabolic lab.
This research experience is reflective of UC’s well-known commitment to experiential learning, which is grounded in the university’s nationally ranked cooperative education (co-op) program. Kappagantula’s early experience in the lab will help prepare her for the professional field.
“I really like how UC incorporates co-op into the curriculum,” says Kappagantula. “We get the chance to do research in labs or work in the industry, so we know the expectations of us in the real world.”
Just as importantly, the co-op program will help Kappagantula explore the diverse and broad field of medicine and eventually narrow in on her interests.
Within the first few months of her college career, Kappagantula has already become involved in multiple UC campus organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, pre-med honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta, UC Feminists and the service dog organization 4 Paws for Ability.
As she looks forward to the rest of her college career, she is excited to continue meeting people, gaining valuable research experience and developing the foundation for a successful career in medicine.