On Improving the Effects of Traditional Chemotherapy: Shelby Bess and Caroline Spainhour on Lab Work, Research, and More

Shelby Bess

Caroline Spainhour

Shelby Bess and Caroline Spainhour are undergraduates studying biomedical engineering. Below, Bess (a junior) and Spainhour (a senior) discuss their respective decisions to come to the U of A, their work in Dr. Timothy Muldoon’s lab, and their future career plans. 

UArk BME: Did you always know you wanted to study biomedical engineering?

Spainhour: I went to a smaller high school with a graduating class of about 100 students. My arrival at the University of Arkansas as one of 25,000 undergraduate students was a big transition. Coming to such a large university, I knew that I had to make it smaller somehow, so I wanted to choose a major where the professors would know my name. I have always liked math and science, so I decided to pursue an engineering degree. My uncle graduated from the U of A with a degree in industrial engineering and went on to become a physician, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. When he was in school, biomedical engineering was not offered at U of A, but I thought among all of the engineering disciplines, biomedical would help me distinguish myself academically when applying to start medical school. Looking back, I had no idea what biomedical engineering really was as a freshman in college, but now I am very pleased to have been a part of such a rigorous and rewarding academic program.

Bess: In high school, I took a Principles of Engineering course as an elective thinking that it was going to be an easy grade, but I learned so much more. After taking that course, I knew that I wanted to be an engineer. When I arrived at the University of Arkansas, I always knew that I wanted to be in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure which major was right for me. For my first semester, I was going back and forth between Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. When I went on the tour of the Biomedical Engineering department and looked at what they had to offer, I knew that the Biomedical Engineering department was the best fit for me. As a junior at the University of Arkansas, I look back at Decision Day and knew that I made the right decision.