I can’t believe this is my last week of undergrad classes. SCenior Year! I still have finals to look forward to, but on the other side of those finals, I’ve got an awesome summer to actually look forward to!
Commencement is May 17, then on May 19 I’ll be heading to South Korea with the iPodiaClass to finish up our group projects on global innovation and attend the USC Global Conference in my second summer study abroad experience as a Viterbi Engineer.
This is my team for our group innovation project – 2 Trojans, 2 students from Aachen in Germany, and 2 from Technion in Israel
KAIST is a top university in South Korea, and I can’t wait to visit!
I fly back from South Korea on June 1, stop by and grab dinner with my parents in Wisconsin, then leave for Dallas on June 2 to start my internship with Abbott Diagnostics on June 3!
Abbott makes a wide range of products, and I can’t wait to experience working for them!
I’m super excited for this internship – lots of Viterbi engineers work for Abbott, but I don’t know of many people who have had the chance to wrok in this division before, so it should be interesting! I’ve also never been to Dallas, so I’m excited to explore the city.
This is honestly my first look at the Dallas skyline, and I’m excited
After 11 weeks of interning, I’ll be heading back to Wisconsin for a few days, then coming right back to USC to finish up my Masters degree in Biomedical Engineering through the Progressive Degree Program. In addition to working on my masters, I’ll be staying involved with Viterbi next year as the Student Affairs Intern, where I’ll be working with programs like Freshmen Academy and KIUEL/Eweek as well as some other really exciting new initiatives, so if you’re going to be a new freshman in the fall, welcome to the Trojan family and I can’t wait to see you around!
Hey everyone! This week I wanted to share with you an example of the awesome things USC students achieve. My friend Alexa and her team have been working on a project all year and are almost ready to file for patents and start a company before they even graduate, so I asked her to write a guest blog! I hope you like it!
My name is Alexa Hudnut and I’m a senior majoring in Biomedical Engineering at USC with Steve. We met freshman year in the dorms, where he lived one floor above me. He asked that I write a guest blog post this week about a group project I’m trying to turn into a startup.
Check out our cool logo!
I think every engineering student wants to create a startup in some capacity. We all believe that we have the skills it takes to be the next Steve Jobs, although we might not say it out loud. By senior year at USC, I’ve worked on several projects that challenged me to create a novel device and develop it to different levels. I’ve even had the opportunity to take a couple of ideas to the Alfred E. Mann Institute and the Stevens Institute.
This spring Steve and I are taking BME 499, a course that’s being tried as an extension of the senior design program within Biomedical Engineering department. We were presented with six projects and asked to work for seven weeks to design a technical solution with the aim of giving explicit enough directions for prototyping. I worked with another senior in Biomedical Engineering to create an artery locator for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or as we sometimes jokingly refer to it: “a stud finder for arteries in the NICU.”
Our product needs to be easy to use and safe for newborns in the NICU
At first, I was convinced that there was no market for the device and it was beyond my technical expertise. However, I continued to look at the problem with my partner, and the more we looked my mind started to change. The biggest turning point was at a brainstorming session when a PhD student explained the technical side to us a little more. It seemed feasible and so we started meeting with him on a weekly basis to discuss our project idea and get his input.
Eventually we pursued a different project, but I decided this project had teeth, so we decided to pursue it further in our BME 416 course (Development and Regulation of Medical Products). Over the next six weeks we were challenged to look into the regulatory and financial future of our project. We learned a lot very quickly about the project outside of the confines of technical development. We are still working on this presentation and we’re going to present it to our class on May 3.
The classroom where it all began! I love small classes like this because it’s easy to brainstorm and pursue multiple ideas or research together like we’re doing here
Outside of class we’re working to take our project to the next level. I’ve been focused on finding and applying to grants, and we’re almost done with our Viterbi Start Up Garage application. The Viterbi Student Innovation Institute is a great resource that you should check out if you’re looking to start your own company.
We have a big week coming up where we’re going to meet with the USC Steven’s Institute to talk about filling our preliminary patent application. We’re also meeting with three potential investors and presenting our scale model to the physician we’ve been working with all term. It’s all very exciting, and pretty unreal. If you want to keep updated you can follow us on Twitter: @InDepthNICU or like our page on Facebook.
As you may know, I am a Freshman Academy Coach, so each year I work with a class of freshmen as a mentor to help them get settled and make the most of their freshman year at USC. As such, I have given more advice than I could ever write down in a blog post, but one piece of advice consistently stands out as the most important: get involved!
Join a club like the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering!
I’ve seen a few students get to college and decide not to join any student organizations, teams, or research groups because they think it will help them do better in school if they have more time to study. This is a trap! Yes, engineering is a difficult major, and yes you will have to manage your time, but the secret to time management is not cutting everything out.
Student orgs help you make the most of your time here, through service and social events
Students who get involved consistently do better freshman year for multiple reasons. First, student orgs and teams are a perfect place to form long-lasting friendships, and give you a home within a home. Being a part of a community that has something in common is incredibly valuable. Also, the busier you are, the more you will get done. Yes, it will take a bit of adjustment, but if you have meetings or practice, it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to get work done ahead of time rather than just always thinking you’ll have time to do things later. You actually will have a lot of free time in college, and giving that free time some structure can make you happier and more productive. Finally, being a part of a team or group gets you more engaged in the awesome USC and Viterbi communities.
Putting together an event like the ASBME Corporate dinner for my classmates made me feel like an important part of the USC community
Obviously you need to find a balance. Don’t join every club and over-commit yourself so that you enjoy none of them, but do check out anything you are interested in. I joined a few clubs freshman year, quit some sophomore year but added in a new one, and kept that process going until my senior year was spent only in organizations I was passionate about and had great friends in. College is a perfect time to find new interests and passions, and you’ll never know what yours are if you don’t try things out. The involvement fairs in fall and spring may very well be the most defining day of your college careers.
If you told me freshman year that I’d eventually take place in a kcikass dance battle with other Biomedical Engineers, I’d have said you were crazy. But that’s college!
With over 750 student organizations, intramural and club sports, greek houses, and more, there is definitely something at USC for you, and you’ll do better and be happier if you find it!
I am writing this blog at 5:30 in the morning, killing time between games at Relay For Life itself, so I hope you enjoy it! I think one of the best ways to describe this event may just be to let twitter feed it to you and add some pictures that didn’t make it.
As you can see, we had an exciting and busy schedule planned for the whole event!
Dr. Gerald Loeb is a member of the BME faculty here, and it’s an understatement to say that his research is amazing. I’ve seen him present multiple times at events for the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, and I’ve taken lots of students on tours to his lab for campus visit events, and the research he’s doing never ceases to amaze me. He holds 51 patents, has been published over 200 times, and he still teaches undergrads (many of my friends are in his class right now!).
He helped develop cochlear implant technology, and one of his most notable recent inventions is the BioTac system, which is essentially a highly realistic model of the human finger, incorporating sensors temperature, pressure, vibration, and more. Check out this sweet video about it:
USC is very focused on translational research – often referred to as “bench to bedside,” where an emphasis is placed on taking novel research from the lab and making a commercial product that can actually be put to use. To that end, Dr. Loeb and several students from his lab started a company – SynTouch, to produce and market BioTac sensors, and recently the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering and the Graduate Students of Biomedical Engineering were invited to go visit their site, which is just down the street from campus, and it was really cool.
They showed us a tech demo similar to what Dr. Loeb shows on lab tours
It’s amazing what the BioTac can do
SynTouch attends many trade conventions to advertise its products
This is called a shadow hand, and BioTacs can be placed on each “finger”
We learned about taking a research concept and establishing a start-up around it, and we’ll definitely be staying in touch with SynTouch and inviting them to campus for ASBME events.
@SyntouchLLC@ASBME_USC it was great! We definitely learned a lot! Thanks for letting us visit and see your amazing product
I just got back from an awesome vacation to Disney World and the Florida Keys with my Family for Spring Break 2013! It was truly magical.
I love Disney’s commitment to their themes.
DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney had DDR X2 unlocked in unlimited free play mode. I love DDR and almost died of joy.
We stayed at the Art of Animation resort and the decorations were Disney Concept art and it was awesome.
They have Fix-It Felix, Jr. arcade cabinets and they did a great job designing and aging them to look like they are from the 80′s. So much so that they convinced my dad that it was an actual game, despite him living through the 80′s…
The Florida Keys were beautiful and relaxing after Disney!
In addition to art, they had some amazing gardens with scenes from the Lion King set up. See my sister posing in the Elephant Graveyard
Now it’s time to get back to school for my last few weeks of Senior year! I have a bunch of fun, packed weekends now that my Grad-Level FDA Regulations class which met on Sundays is done and I finally have 3 day weekends!
This weekend I’ll be heading to my friend’s house for Easter with my freshman year floormates, as is tradition. It’s basically an annual floor reunion.
We take a family portrait each year on the stairs. Priceless college memories
One major event I have to look forward to is Relay For Life. I used to be president of the club that planned Relay, but I stepped back this year so I could co-preside over the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, but that just means that this year ASBME is going to have a fantastic team and stay the full 24 hours!
This is one of my favorite events each year
At some point I’ll also be heading to San Diego to visit friends, and then before I know it, my parents will be here to visit me before graduation and help me pack!
Mixed in with all of that, I will of course have lots of projects to work on, like my C++ programming class and medical device design elective project. I’ll also be pumping out 2 new day-in-the-life videos each week (featuring Radhika, Kat, Warren, Pedro, Sam, and Zach G), and we’ll be hosting two Live Chats for you on 4/14 and 4/28, so stay tuned here to get all the content we can give you to help you see what student life is like in Viterbi!
If I had to describe USC in a single word, it would be: “Energy.”
What does that mean? School-spirit, motivation, drive? Yes, and more!
Ever since I first visited USC for Explore and saw how happy the students were to be here – how excited they were to go to USC – I’ve noticed an almost tangible energy on campus. It’s the feeling that you’re part of something exciting, something larger than you and your studies. I visited over a dozen schools while searching for my college, and they were all great, but I never matched this feeling anywhere else, and it made my college choice easy.
It’s the energy you feel at a University opening new research and innovation centers seemingly weekly. This photo is from the ribbon-cutting for the new Brain and Creativity Institute
A large part of this energy comes from our nationally dominant Trojan athletic programs which unite the student body, alumni, faculty, and staff. Whether on campus or across the world, you have something not only in-common with other Trojans, but something you can both be actively excited about.
Feel the gameday energy!
This energy goes beyond school-spirit and gameday. Since coming here, I’ve seen it in the faculty, staff, and administration, who are constantly working to improve our school. We’re a top university, and we’re well known for our rapid rise under President Sample and continued rise under President Nikias. You know what you won’t feel on campus? Complacency. Everyone at USC is constantly striving to be innovative and improve our academic programs and student opportunities and bring the university more prestige around the globe. Like I said, when you’re here, you are a part of that. The drive to constantly improve is energizing and motivating.
Our faculty are constantly earning new awards, like Dr. Solomon W. Golomb, 2013 National Medal of Science Winner
When alumni visit campus, regardless of how long ago they graduated, they enthusiastically interact with current students. They work to get us job opportunities and support us in any way they can. What energy is more positive than that?
I think all it takes is a visit to campus or a talk with a current student in order to feel this energy for yourself. I encourage you to read other blogs on this site and I think you’ll even feel the undercurrent of this energy in those.
Students and faculty here can frequently be found working to enhance our studies and our school.
For an example of this energetic improvement between students and faculty, check out this blog from last semester where I described a meeting we had with the BME department chair, which resulted in a brand-new class the very next semester!
Why is that my favorite student org? Because we do awesome things like dance battles (see the link just above!) and this weekend we went Paintballing! (Oh ya, and we also do professional events multiple times per semester that help get jobs for our members)
Anyway, ya paintballing was awesome! None of us were very good, but we got a private group so we didn’t have to compete with all the basically semi-pro people. We went to Hollywood Sports Park, which has awesome set ups called Mad Max, Lost City, and Apocalypse, to name a few, and they are all set up really well to match those themes. This was our second year in a row going, and therefore my second time ever going. I think we’ll make it into a tradition though! It’s a great way to meet other BME students from other years (even as president, I still met 4 more new people today!), and everyone needs a study break now and then, so we like to go big or go home!
We split into two teams of 6 and played around 10 matches. My team lost 4 to 6, but we did have one awesome round where I literally got the entire other team by sneaking around the side of the arena and infiltrating their side. Other than that, I am not very good, haha. I think I’m just not patient or sneaky enough, and I’ll have some bruises to show for it.
Everyone and their mom is gonna blog about Viterbi Ball because it was amazing (and I totally won king with my awesome Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering co-president Sara as queen, and ASBME won the most spirited Viterbi Org award). Thank you to Lauren for planning such a great week with the Klein Institute for Undergraduate Engineering Life. I encourage you to read my double feature blog about last year’s Eweek (part 1, part 2). Instead of blogging about VBall, I’m going to focus on another amazing part of the week: Viterbi’s Got Talent.
Enjoy that preview and prepare for your mind to be blown by awesome dancing, because ASBME BROUGHT IT in the talent show this year! We’re not a dance team. None of our members have dance experience. Yet we got together for over 20 hours of total practice over the course of a few weeks to nail this routine, and I couldn’t be prouder of my eboard for the results.
Of course there were other great acts! My friends’ band performed:
I loved Birnkrant. Everyone who I’ve ever talked to that lived in Birnkrant loved it! (To be fair, I’ve noticed that most people claim their freshman dorm is the best, so maybe you can’t lose? Either way, I definitely won!) I blogged about the awesomeness of my floor, BK4 last year so I mainly suggest you go read that. And please watch the fantastic video we made ! I’m gonna push the view count of that over 1000 before I graduate! I make all the freshmen in my academies watch it, so I might as well push it to potential future freshman too, hey? Fun fact, the guy in the opening shot of that video was actually my co-coach this past year.
I lived in Birnkrant before it was the honors dorm, so I can’t really speak to its current status, but again, I’ve heard nothing but great hings. I’m pretty sure they’ve also remodeled a little bit inside too, so it looks even nicer than when we filmed too. I did have a lot of friends who lived in the old honors dorm – Marks Hall, and they had a positive experience there as well. In case you were wondering, yes, as a senior, I do still see people from my freshman year dorm quite regularly.
We love going to football games together!
I might not hang out with them every day anymore, but we like to get lunch and we also do awesome trips to people’s houses for holidays and we went to Las Vegas together over the summer. Statistically, you’re likely going to enjoy the company of a good portion of your floor, and there’s something about freshman year that just ties you together for life!
It’s not Vegas unless you eat all-you-can-eat at a buffet!
Ceasar’s Palace Pool
Almost half our floor was able to reunite last Easter! I hope we can do it again this year!
It’s fun to paint easter eggs with any family!
And of course, beach trips!
Another cool note is that 90% of the people from my floor seem to have gone on to be executive board members of various organizations from student groups like the Associated Students of Biomedical Engineering, Undergraduate Student Government, Design Teams, Dance Teams, and Fraternities. We’re definitely statistically over-represented as a floor in campus leadership Finally, Just in case you didn’t click through to read more about BK: