Spotlight on Students: Allison Byrne, '18
Why did you choose Cornell?
I was drawn to Cornell because it is a forward-looking university that provides students with the resources to think outside the box and create the future.
Why did you choose to major in BME at Cornell?
My favorite subjects were always math and science, and I wanted to pursue a career in a discipline that would allow me to use these passions to help others.
What opportunities has the major given you so far?
I have had the opportunity to learn from professors that are involved in a wide range of interesting research endeavors. This helped me realize that there are so many different career paths in the field of biomedical engineering; the sky is the limit! I have also appreciated the small class sizes, which have allowed me to get to know my professors on a personal level.
What was your favorite class at Cornell BME and why?
My favorite courses that I have taken are the senior design courses. My team and I had the opportunity to work with a neurosurgeon from Weill Cornell Medicine in an effort to improve the current immobilization methods for patients undergoing stereotactic radiosurgery. It was exciting to apply what I have learned over the past three years to a project with real significance.
What clubs/organizations do you participate in at Cornell?
I have been involved in the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board (CURB), the Pre-Professional Association Towards Careers in Health (PATCH), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). My favorite part of each of these organizations was participating in outreach events that allowed me to teach children about science and engineering.
What is something that surprised you about the major/experience?
I was surprised at how close I have become with the other students in BME. We all work well together and are familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Do you have any advice for other students considering research in Biomedical Engineering?
I personally have loved being a part of the BME major, but I know that it is not for everyone. If you are interested in pursuing a career in academia/research/working in the pharmaceutical industry, this major is a great way to meet professors and learn about different research currently being conducted in the field; many BME courses tie current research into lectures so that we can connect what we are learning to the real world. If you are more interested in being on the R&D side of the medical device industry, maybe consider majoring in mechanical engineering/electrical & computer engineering with a minor in biomedical engineering. These majors will provide you with more relevant hands-on experience to prepare you for such a role.
While at Cornell, what did you do for fun?
I have loved exploring Ithaca during my time here. There is no other university that I know of where students have to walk over a waterfall every morning on their way to class. The fall semester of my freshman year, I took the trail running PE course. It was so nice to get off campus and take advantage of the nature nearby.
One of my favorite memories was participating in Outdoor Odyssey right before I moved in my freshman year. It was a great way to meet some of my peers, and I was less nervous moving in once I knew that I had a few friends to explore campus with before classes started.
I will be interning for a second time at Stryker Corporation this summer before participating in the Master of Engineering program in BME in the fall!