Students attend AIMBE’s Public Policy Institute for Rising Leaders

Students in a group at AIMBE meeting
From L to R; Andy Sanchez (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering); Prashant Hariharan (BME undergrad alumnus); Korie Grayson (BME); Taylor Oeschger (BME); Chelsea Stephens (BME); Joseph Long (BME), Adrienne Chang (Biophysics); Garrett Beeghly (BME), Emily Laurilliard (BME), and Charles Webb (BME). 


At the end of October, seven Cornell doctoral students traveled to Washington D.C. with support from Careers Beyond Academia/BEST to attend the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)Public Policy Institute for Rising Leaders. This exciting opportunity was designed for current undergraduate and graduate students, post docs, and early career fellows (including executive branch fellows) in Medicine, Engineering, and Health Sciences interested in the public policy landscape shaping science, innovation, and discovery.

The program explored how public policies shape medical and biological engineering and included speakers from regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), policy experts and thought leaders, as well as industry giants in the medical device and innovation sector. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet and network with government decision makers developing the public policies that govern patents, medical devices, pharma, and health and science legislation.

Attending from the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering were Joseph Long, Taylor Oeschger, Garrett Beeghly, Emily Laurilliard, Korie Grayson, Chelsea Stephens, and Chase Webb. In addition, Adrienne Chang (Biophysics) and Andy Sanchez (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) joined the group.

Careers Beyond Academia/BEST provided guidance, outreach to alumni and business cards for the selected participants who applied to the program as well as reimbursements for registration, lodging, and transportation. Joseph Long, who is also president of the graduate student chapter of the Cornell Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), was the lead graduate student organizer and liaison for the team with a role in coordinating applicants and managing the trip.

“The AIMBE Public Policy Institute is a fantastic opportunity to connect with trainees and professionals in the public policy realm,” said Long. “As scientists and engineers, we do not have many chances to dip our toes into the field of public policy. This conference provides an avenue where biomedical researchers can learn more about what it takes to work with/for government agencies.”

Emily Laurilliard said of the experience: “Before attending this conference, I was very interested in science policy but did not have a clear idea of what a career in science policy looked like or how you could incorporate science policy into your work as a scientist. This conference showed me many more ways to get involved than I had previously imagined and that, even as a graduate student, there are small ways we can get involved in our local community. Overall, this experience was extremely inspiring and exposed me to the multitude of ways I can get involved in policy as a scientist now and in the future.”


AIMBE is the authoritative voice and advocate for the value of medical and biological engineering to society. AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence, advance the public understanding, and accelerate medical and biological innovation. No other organization brings together academic, industry, government, and scientific societies to form a highly influential community advancing medical and biological engineering. AIMBE’s mission drives advocacy initiatives into action on Capitol Hill and beyond.

About Careers Beyond Academia/BEST

Cornell University’s Graduate School Careers Beyond Academia/BEST initiative helps doctoral students and postdocs from all disciplines in their exploration of careers through flexible, experiential, empowering opportunities. Participants develop their transferrable skills while learning about a variety of careers, including those in industry, non-profits, government, communication, policy, consulting, regulatory affairs, and more. Participants have reported more confidence in their career decision, improved skills needed for a successful career, deeper connections with professionals, increased awareness of their career options, and better preparation for a career pathway. Careers Beyond Academia/BEST provides small group and individual consultations, panel discussions, and immersive activities designed to expose participants to career possibilities and test drive particular pathways to guide the career decision-making process and experiential skill building.

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