"BME offered more exposure to other areas of academic interest than other fields of engineering, which appealed to me. I chose to pursue the Molecular/Cellular/Systems Engineering (MCSE) concentration because it seemed like the most applicable concentration—my interests have always surrounded small-scale interactions in the body." Read more about Sami Smalling, Undergraduate Student
Lee Puckett, M.Eng. '19
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
Degree: Masters of Engineering, BME
Lab affiliation/Advisor: Drs. Hartley and Ramakrishna at Weill Cornell
What brought you to Cornell?
Cornell University is an esteemed institution willing to provide resources to ensure that each student can make the most out of their educational experience. Cornell’s undergraduate chemical engineering program was taught by respected professors but allowed for unique experiences such as: the study abroad summer program to Imperial College, numerous project teams, and a unique senior design/device-based project.
What inspired you to pursue biomedical engineering?
After completion of my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, I discovered that I have a passion for health care; my specific passion was creating medical devices intended to improve quality of life.
What is your area of focus and why is it important?
I focus on the creation of minimally evasive robotic devices. We created a robotic endoscope capable of navigating to and sampling brain lesions over long time periods; this allows for capturing genomic data of patients with brain tumors over time to track genomic mutations of cancer.
(Video: Team Brainlander Spotlight)
What opportunities has your time at Cornell given you so far?
I have been a part of the FSAE project team, worked my first job at Willard Straight Hall, rowed in the Lightweight Varsity Crew team, learned so many soft-skills, and met many long-lasting new friends.
What has been your favorite class or experience so far and why?
FSAE project team has been my favorite experience so far. I was the aerodynamic subteam led, learned so many hard skills including laying up carbon fiber, computational fluid dynamics, and building a cool racecar. Additionally, I’ve met so many of my friends, learned about myself, and the value of teamwork.
Any hobbies or interests outside of your scholarship? (have you explored outside of Cornell?
I really enjoy Ithaca during the summers. The break from classes gave me time to hike the pretty trails, paddle board on Cayuga Lake, and explore the countryside. I also enjoy surfing and camping.
What advice might you give other students considering biomedical engineering as a field of study?
Try to make as many personal connections with the staff. They are extremely helpful, not just pertaining to scholastics, but also in providing life advice and networking for jobs.
What’s the next step for you after Cornell?
Short term: a process plant position at GSK. Long term: go back to school for my Ph.D. in material science and become a professor; start my own startup and give back to communities that have provided chances for me to succeed.
Favorite quote that helps inspire you in your work/life?
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon
"What I like the most is the opportunity to work on our design project as if we were working in industry . . . to experience how it is going to be when we start working, both technically and collaboratively. Moreover, it has helped me develop my skills and I feel ready and comfortable to enter the workforce." Read more about Vanessa Cabral Martins, M.Eng. Student
"My research looks at the biological and physical factors which regulate the spread of cancer throughout the body. Specifically, I am interested in how cancer cells generate forces to help squeeze their nucleus through tight spaces in biological tissues." Read more about Jeremy Keys, Ph.D. Student