Premajor students typically have no real- world experience in engineering They have little or no information about Biomedical Engineering career opportunities Their schedules are too filled with core basic science and math classes for them to explore other areas They have to apply for admission to major status in the sophomore year of study
Offer a careers orientation course in the first semester of the sophomore year Make the course one credit hour, pass/fail so students can focus on content not grade Have course material presented by practitioners in academia, industry, law and medicine Schedule course to minimize conflicts with courses students typically take that semester
Content of Presentations Path the speaker took to arrive at present position What work life is like in that field How students should prepare to enter field and what the future may hold Speakers are not compensated, but are free to say whatever they think is important
Speakers from Academia Department of Bioengineering chair students learn that, even though this is a large state university, all the faculty in our department are personally interested in their education and well being
Speakers from Academia Young faculty member from another department in the College of Engineering who does not have a degree in BME, but whose research has a biomedical bent for students who do not get admitted to major status, there are other paths to working in the field of biomedical engineering
Speakers from Academia Two faculty members, one from Bioengineering and the other the chair of a department in the College of Pharmacy, who came to academia after a career in industry provide a good perspective on the relative attractions of the two types of career paths
Speakers from Industry Executive from a large, multi-billion dollar, international biomedical device manufacturer shows the advantages of working for the big boys in the commodity, manufacturing oriented, biomedical business
Speakers from Industry President of a mid-sized biomedical device manufacturer focuses on the importance of marketing in defining and occupying a specialty niche to compete at this level in the biomedical device industry
Speakers from Industry President and founder of a small, entrepreneurial biomedical device company students learn that it takes more than a good idea, engineering talent, and a desire to save lives to build a successful biomedical company: one has to deal with federal regulation as well
Speakers from Law Patent attorneys from two different law firms this is a potentially lucrative field for people with good communication skills in which individuals with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering are in high demand
Speakers from Medicine Practicing clinician with an appointment in the School of Medicine who is also a department chair in a private hospital provides a brief review of the history of medicine and a insightful view of the future of medicine emphasizing the important role people with a degree in biomedical engineering will play in it
Speakers from Medicine MD/PhD who does both clinical practice and clinical research gives a valuable perspective on the difference between the two
Speakers from Medicine Clinician from the School of Medicine who is also the founder of a successful biomedical device company personifies the importance and rewards of choosing a career path that one enjoys
Requirements Attendance (expected, but not enforced) Term paper (enforced)
Prelude to Term Paper On first day of class, students write down: what they think the career opportunities are in Biomedical Engineering which of those they think they would like to pursue upon graduation what they think they need to do to prepare for their selected options
Content of Term Paper At the end of the semester, students submit a paper that describes: what they thought at the beginning of the semester the career opportunities are in Biomedical Engineering what they now think the career opportunities are in Biomedical Engineering
Content of Term Paper (cont) what they thought at the beginning of the semester they wanted to do upon graduation what they now think they want to do upon graduation
Content of Term Paper (cont) what they thought at the beginning of the semester they needed to do to prepare for their choice(s) what they now think they need to do to prepare for their choice(s)
Content of Term Paper (cont) what four speakers were most influential in changing their thinking (either for something or against something)
Students Like It I took this class … because I wanted to learn from those in the field who have been there, done that. Sure enough, that is exactly what I got. When I started the course I thought I had it all figured out…Im quite positive that it was a combination of both this class and my experience working in a laboratory [that] sealed my decisions.
Major Advisor Likes It Students have thought about post-graduation plans Helps make selection of elective courses more efficient Provides context for advice about extra- curricular options (e.g., internships, research experience)
Speakers Like It Good community outreach – most speakers drawn from outside the college Speakers never refuse an opportunity to come back and participate again – often stating they wish they had a class like that when they were students
The College Dean Likes It Bioengineering … education will lead not only to fantastic opportunities to help humanity through developing biomedical technologies and devices, but will also be excellent preparation for careers in medicine, law, government and business. [This course] enlightens students to a cross-section of their possibilities.
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