BMES Healthcare Industry Alumni Panel

On Tuesday, May 3rd the Biomedical Engineering Society hosted an alumni panel. The panel consisted of six recent graduates who work in areas like consulting, bioengineering, and marketing, and who have successful careers in the healthcare industry. The members on the panel included Ardelle Persand, Andrew Scheirer, Andrew Sgarlato, Karleigh Blum, Alessandra DiNardo, and Andrew Flintrop.


Ardelle Persand ’14

Ardelle Persand graduated in 2014, and currently works at a large vaccine pharmaceutical company, Sanofi Pasteur, in the Poconos Mountains. She has worked for the company for two years now and has worked on projects for influenza and Yellow fever vaccines.

Andrew Scheirer graduated in 2012 and currently works in the

Andrew S.

Andrew Scheirer ’12

research and development sector of CytoSorbents, which is a critical care medical device company.

Karleigh Blum graduated in 2015 and currently works at Axtria as a consultant to multiple life science companies. She helps them solve problems, optimize business processes, and make decisions.

Alessandra DiNardo graduated in 2013 and currently works with The Linde Group where she gets to explore business strategy and engineering.


Andrew Sgarlato ’13

Andrew Sgarlato graduated in 2013 and currently supports the Multi-Channel Marketing Practice of IMS Health, assisting pharmaceutical companies with execution, operations, and strategy in their marketing campaigns.

Andrew Flintrop graduated in 2012 and he currently works for Depuy Synthes Trauma, in their Intermedullary nail division.


All of the panelists were really involved at Lehigh and they all graduated from the bioengineering department. Also they all agreed that Lehigh prepared them really well for their jobs, especially in terms of creative thinking and knowledge base. It was also interesting to hear that a majority of them got their jobs through Lucy. I know as an undergrad it doesn’t seem like Lucy would be that helpful in finding a job because we are not really exposed to it, but it seems to be a really important and useful tool in finding a job after graduation. Additionally, the panel mentioned the importance of the Integrated Product Development class. One panelist said that her interviewers were really impressed by the program and Andrew Flintrop actually got his first job through his IPD project. As a rising Junior I am definitely looking forward to next Spring when I get to take that class. The panel also offered a lot of advise on the job application process. One of the biggest things they mentioned is that you should not get disheartened if it doesn’t work out. They said everyone ends up where they are supposed to be and that you just have to remain persistent. They also stressed the importance of networking and reaching out to Alumni.They even went as far to say that it is a good thing if people see that you are looking at their Linkedin profile, it means you made the effort to get to know them and learn about what they do.BMES Alumni Career panel (1) When asked where they see themselves in 5 years many of them wanted to be in charge of their own project or managing a project. It was interesting to talk to recent graduates and I really appreciated their insight into the world after college. I think one of the things people don’t talk about is that it is difficult to get a job and that the first years may not be the most glamourous. You can’t just walk out of Lehigh and say to companies, who wants me? You really need to make an effort and make yourself known.


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Gap Year Before Medical School

Many people decide to take a gap year before they apply to medical school whether they want to gain more experience or they want to keep their GPA up. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. However, today I went to an information session hosted by Columbia University about their one year MS program in Human Nutrition. Many people who participate this one-year program use it to gain experience and to fill in that year before going to medical school. It was really interesting to hear about the different research that the students do. Some recent student theses include immunologic biomarkers in psychiatric disorders, infectious disease and health outcomes, and predictors of diabetes after gastric bypass surgery. The possibilities are truly endless. It was also interesting to hear about the different hiring options for students once they complete this program. Many students do go on to medical school or some form of graduate school, but other students are being recruited by health start-ups or food companies like BlueApron. It is expensive to attend because Columbia is a private school, but it is an option for graduating seniors, who don’t know what they want to do. They usually take only half of the people that apply, but they have rolling admissions for the program up until June. I know I am definitely going to keep this program in mind as I look to apply to medical school.

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Lehigh in Bermuda

This summer I will be participating in a Lehigh Study Abroad Program in Bermuda. It is a faculty-led program that bears 4 credits in natural sciences. The program takes place at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and our cohort will be taking a class on ocean health and how it relates to human health. The BIOS institute is world renowned especially since the data they collected is the reason we were able to determine that the PH levels in the ocean are rising. They have been collecting data for years now on the health of the ocean and the research we will be helping with is looking at how the regeneration properties of the sea urchin can be used to cure cancer. On top of taking classes we will be snorkeling around Bermuda collecting samples and taking in the coral reefs. Lecture topics include fish identification, sustainability, and ocean health. Below is our schedule!! Who knew that a schedule could get me so excited!!!!Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 1.15.09 PM I can’t wait for for this amazing experience and I hope to bring a lot of what I learn to my Bioengineering classes. I think one of the biggest things I will learn is that things in nature can be used to solve bioengineering problems. I heard recently that they were able to mimic mussels to create a surgical glue. The possibilities are endless, and I will definitely keep you updated on my experience.


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Pre-med and Bioengineering

If you are considering applying to medical school Bioengineering is actually a great major to chose. A lot of the course work meets the pre-requisite requirements for medical school, with maybe a few exceptions, but those courses could be easily incorporated into your schedule especially if you come into Lehigh with AP credits. Additionally, Bioengineering majors receive the highest scores on the MCAT. This may be due to the fact that the engineering curriculum is very rigorous and prepares you extremely well for the MCAT. It may also go back to the fact that getting an engineering degree is not like getting any other degree, you are truly taught a way of thinking. Below I have a picture of the biopharmaceuticals track that Lehigh offers, which I believe is the track that is best tailored to meet pre-med requirements, and there is a picture of a list of required classes to apply to medical school. All of those classes are covered in the curriculum except for sociology and the biochemistry classes, but those could be added on to any schedule to meet social science requirements and technical elective requirements.Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 8.00.52 AM

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 8.02.41 AM Deciding to apply to medical school is a huge decision, but Lehigh definitely takes the steps to prepare you. What is also really awesome is that Lehigh offers a course that is an externship with St.Luke’s hospital where you get to shadow doctors and gain a lot of clinical experience. Also since we are so close to St. Luke’s there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Lehigh is definitely a great college to come to if you are considering medical school.

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Finding Research Opportunities

Research is a huge part of the learning experience at Lehigh, and I think sometimes that it goes unnoticed. We are surrounded by professors doing amazing and interesting work, and not many students think to ask their professors about what they are working on. If you are interested in assisting in research, which I would highly recommend, there are a couple of different things that you can do. For one you can email your advisor and ask if they know of any professors looking for lab assistants. These positions can fill up quickly so it is important to contact the professor, whose research interests you to schedule a meeting and to get an interview. Also if you are currently in a class and you really like the professor teaching the class then you should approach them and ask them about the research that they do on campus. This is a great way to garner a relationship with your professors, and it could lead to a lab assistant position. You never know when you will need a recommendation from a professor, so getting to know your professors is extremely important. A professor can’t write a stellar

recommendation if they don’t know you. Another way to find a research opportunity would be to google a field that your interested in and make sure to include Lehigh in your search. You would be surprised at what you could find. For example, I am interested in neuroscience research so I googled “neuroscience research Lehigh”, and found a couple of professors working on some interesting topics like brain injuries and sensory neuron studies. The possibilities are endless you just have to be active in your quest to find the perfect research opportunity. Here is an example of an email I sent a professor recently if your curious about how to ask: Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 12.40.03 PM


I am actually meeting with this professor today, so wish me luck that I get to work in his lab next semester!!

Check out this video about Research at Lehigh.

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Summer 2016

Summer is always an interesting time for college students because there are so many different things that you can do. You can intern at a company, take classes, study abroad or even intern abroad. The choices are endless, but it is a great time to explore your chosen career path and gain some experience. This summer I have decided to take two classes at Boston University so that I am closer to home, and I will be volunteering and shadowing at hospitals. I am a pre-med Bioengineering major, which is why I will be spending my summer shadowing doctors and seeing what it is like to interact with patients. I also interviewed a couple of Bioengineering majors and to see what they are doing this summer. Julianne Kerwood is interning at Glaxosmithkline in the bio-pharmaceutical marketing and production sector. This program lasts about 8 to 12 weeks and she will be immersed in the organization gaining a lot of great hands-on experience. For those of you who don’t know, Glaxosmithkline is a healthcare company that manufactures vaccines, medicines, and consumer healthcare products. They have over 11,000 people working in research and development, which is almost unheard of in other organizations. In March of 2015 they acquired Novartis’s vaccines business (excluding influenza vaccines) and combined the two Consumer Healthcare businesses to create a new company. Glaxosmithkline is definitely a great place for bioengineers to gain industry experience. Another student, Emily Krulik, will be working in a lab over the summer doing research. She is not sure exactly what she is working on yet, but is really excited. I have noticed that it is a lot more difficult to get an internship as a sophomore and I think the biggest reason is that sophomores have not taken as many higher level engineering classes, and companies are looking for potential hires and sophomores still have two more years of school. Most sophomores I know are doing other things like studying abroad or research instead of interning for a company. china-accuses-glaxosmithkline-of-enormous-and-elaborate-bribery-network

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Undergraduate Research Symposium

On Wednesday, March 30th nearly all of Lehigh’s undergraduate researchers gathered in STEPS to talk about all the work that they have been doing for the last year.

I was lucky to stop by and see some of my friends who have been working tirelessly in their respective labs to try and solve some incredibly interesting scientific questions. One of my friends, Jen Angelo, a senior in bioengineering has been working under professor Jedlicka in the Material Science Department and Bioengineering program. Under her, Jen has been researching cytoskeletal mechanics during differentiation. What this means is she has been studying the structures of stem cells as they are transformed into other cells (see the figure below for the different types of cells that stem cells can differentiate into!)

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Jen says there haven’t been any concrete results from her study yet, but her methods were detailed and outlined on her poster, which you can see below.


Make sure that you check out Lehigh’s instagram lehighengineers for other cool pictures and info from the event!

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