Lydia Ooyama, B.S. '19, M.Eng. '20

Lydia Ooyama
  • Hometown: Rochester, NY

Lydia Ooyama
Lydia Ooyama (B.S. '19) in the design lab expressing the joy to be found in creating circuitry for her prototype blood pressure measuring device. 

What brought you to Cornell?
I had heard great things about Cornell’s College of Engineering and the fact that they added BME the year I applied for undergrad solidified my decision. I was able to start my M.Eng. a semester early so staying for another semester to finish it was a no-brainer.

What inspired you to pursue biomedical engineering?
I have always been fascinated by the human body and the injuries and diseases that go along with it. I also love the process of building things and solving problems. BME was the perfect combination of bio and engineering.

What is your area of focus and why is it important?
I am currently working on a design project with physicians from Weill Cornell Medicine to develop a device to plug dural tears during spinal surgery. When tears occur, they allow the leak of cerebral spinal fluid from the spinal column out into the body. While most people will only get headaches, a subset of patient’s will contract meningitis which is potentially deadly.

What has been your favorite class or experience so far and why?
I have really enjoyed working on the design projects. I have learned so many new skills ranging from laser cutting to Arduino to lathing. Working with multiple stakeholders and team members in the development of the products has been a truly valuable experience.

Any hobbies or interests outside of your scholarship?
I really love being outdoors and exploring different parts of Ithaca. Buttermilk falls and Taughannock falls are two of my favorites. In terms of food and drinks, Ithaca Beer Company is my go-to.

What advice would you give other students considering biomedical engineering as a field of study?
It is a great field to go in to! My main piece of advice would be to narrow down what job you want after graduation and choose your concentration based off of that.

What’s the next step for you after Cornell?
I plan to go into consulting, either technical or healthcare.

Favorite quote that helps inspire you in your work/life?
“Don’t count the days, make the days count”
-Muhammad Ali

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