A Summer with Mission of Hope: Undergraduate Brandon Moritz on Living and Working in Haiti

Brandon Moritz with the translators he worked with in Haiti

Brandon Moritz is a biomedical engineering student at the University of Arkansas. During the summer of 2017, he spent three months as a Medical Intern with Mission of Hope, Haiti. Below, he describes the experience and discusses what he learned:

This past summer I had the opportunity to live and serve in Haiti for three months. I was hired as a Medical Intern with Mission of Hope, Haiti to assist with operations and execution of their healthcare system in the region. Along with other Medical Interns and our Mobile Medical Clinic Director, Lauren Raschke, we led doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals from all over North America in providing healthcare to 18 different villages in our region of Haiti. We saw 5,400 people in the region through mobile clinics alone during my time there.

Moritz working in the pharmacy during a mobile clinic

I also was able to use my biomedical engineering knowledge to assist our Haitian prosthetist in the Prosthetics of Hope lab. Some men and women came in who still hadn’t walked since the devastating earthquake that occurred back in 2010 that cost them their leg, but some of my most rewarding work came from seeing people who hadn’t walked in years be able to take their first steps without the assistance of a crutch for the first time.


On Studying Abroad in Australia: Gilman Scholar Megan Davidian on Scholarship Applications, Life Down Under, & More

Megan in front of the Sydney Opera House

Megan Davidian is a sophomore from Fayetteville, Arkansas majoring in biomedical engineering. She is currently studying abroad on a Gilman Scholarship at the University of Technology Sydney. Below, she discusses the scholarship application process and what she’s been up to in Australia so far. 

Since I am from Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas was in my backyard and it was the only school I applied to. I knew during my first semester here that I wanted to study abroad in Australia, and while researching programs I found out about the Gilman Scholarship—I came across it on the study abroad website.

In general, just applying and figuring out what classes I would take (and if I would be able to get credit for them) was a long and complicated process. I didn’t know for sure that I would be able to attend an Australian university and get transfer credit until August of my sophomore year. Once I got the final approval, it was time to apply for the Gilman Scholarship—I started the application process in September and it was due October 10th. While I found the application process very stressful, the study abroad office and Dr. Bryan Hill were happy to help and answer any questions I had.

While many of the questions on the application were straightforward, there was one multipart essay that required you to answer various questions about what you are studying, why you want to study abroad, how studying abroad will help you, and what challenges you have faced coming to this decision. Though writing this essay felt terrifying at first, I learned that once you start answering the questions in bullet form it becomes much easier to then figure out how to put them together as a coherent whole. In the future, I would recommend that anybody applying for the Gilman or other similar scholarships use the University’s Writing Support center. If it wasn’t for the gentleman there who helped me to better organize my essay and to provide stronger examples within it, I don’t think I would have received this scholarship.


Tips for Success from 2018 Razorback Classic Paolo Garcia

Senior Paolo Garcia, who was recently named a 2018 Razorback Classic

Paolo Garcia is an Honors College Fellow and a senior majoring in biomedical engineering here at the University of Arkansas. He was recently recognized by the Arkansas Alumni Association as a “Razorback Classic,” an honor that celebrates academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and campus or community involvement. Below, he offers tips on how to succeed as an undergraduate engineering student at the U of A:

1. When in doubt about a concept you are learning, don’t hesitate to ask someone. If you are confused about something you have encountered in your studies, it’s highly likely that someone else feels just as lost. When this happens, it is important to remember that there is a wealth of students and faculty in the department that you can consult. A fellow classmate may be able to help you understand something that was mentioned in class simply by providing an alternative perspective. An upperclassman could point you in the direction of a valuable resource. Lastly, a professor could potentially clear up confusion with a few minutes of discussion. Don’t let your question go unanswered!


Kara Karstedt and Kimberley Fuller Attend Women in the Workforce Conference

Kara Karstedt (left) and Kimberley Fuller (right) at the Women in the Workforce Conference in Bentonville, AR.

On Thursday March 1, Kara Karstedt, Operations Officer for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Kimberley Fuller, Research Assistant for the Department, attended the Women in the Workforce Conference in Bentonville, AR.  Below, they discuss their experiences as attendees and what they each learned from the conference:

Sponsored by the University of Arkansas Global Campus, the Women in the Workforce Conference focused on the importance of diversity, innovation and creativity in our work lives. The one-day event included discussions on topics such as how to be creative and innovative when under stress, how to empower and embrace your own creativity, and the importance of diversity and inclusion in problem solving and corporate growth.

The conference reminded us that everyone has creativity within us, and that we all need to consciously tap into our creative potential to maximize problem solving. Whereas invention, we learned, is the creation of a brand-new product or service (something created for the first time), innovation is putting something that already exists in a new context. Innovation is where most entrepreneurial endeavors focus, and personal passion and creativity is often a key driver of both invention and innovation. In these regards, Biomedical Engineering offers amazing opportunities for both invention and innovation. When creating something new or improving a process, the conference encouraged that we ask ourselves, “Am I thinking big enough? Bold enough? How much improvement is really possible? Is my thinking in any way limiting the possibilities?”


On the 2018 National Society of Black Engineers Conference: Kristianna Jones Reports

The UARK NSBE Chapter at the Region V Zone Meeting

Kristianna Jones is an undergraduate studying biomedical engineering, and the secretary of the UArk chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. Below, she discusses her experiences during last year’s Region V NSBE Fall Conference. 

Being an African American student in the STEM field, it’s not very often that I meet people who look like me and have the same goals and aspirations as me. Well, at least not until you go to a NSBE conference. The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE for short) hosts multiple regional conferences every year and this year, many University of Arkansas chapter members and myself had the privilege of attending the Region V Fall Regional Conference in Tulsa, OK. The Fall Regional Conference (FRC) was a 3-day conference full of workshops, speakers and even a career fair with a plethora of well-known companies such as Cerner, Google and General Motors!

The first day of the conference was filled with various workshops about topics ranging from studying abroad to how to strengthen your personal brand. A few of these workshops were hosted by current and former University of Arkansas students. As the chapter secretary, I was often asked to help assist with and coordinate the events that the chapter would be attending so I even got to help prepare a few workshops for the entire conference! It was rewarding to see how the work I put in helped better the conference experience for students I had never even met before.