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?”
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.
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.
Alhallak presents his research on “Optical metabolic imaging of response to radiation in radiation-sensitive and resistant lung cancer cells.”
From April 16-18, 2016, University of Arkansas biomedical engineering student Kinan Alhallak attended the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Below, Alhallak offers his reflections on the conference:
I was very fortunate to be able to go to the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, along with Kristina Maxwell from Dr. David Zaharoff’s lab at the U. of A. On the first day of the conference, I participated in the undergraduate poster competition, and was thrilled to see that over a hundred undergraduates from across the nation also came to present their research.
Bagabe at the conference.
From March 23-27, 2016, University of Arkansas biomedical engineering student Grace Bagabe attended the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 42nd Annual Convention, the theme of which was “Engineering A Cultural Change.” Below, Bagabe offers her reflections on the conference:
My experience at the NSBE 42nd Annual Convention was extremely rewarding. The NSBE Convention was a 4-day conference that took place in Boston, Massachusetts. There were a variety of events ranging from sessions on how to improve your networking skills to empowering presentations from heads of top companies. The main event was the 2-day career fair where big companies and universities from all around the country came to network and recruit students for jobs and internships. Over 300 companies and universities attended the career fair. This was an incredible experience for me because I got the opportunity to speak to some of my dream companies.
Henson and Dr. Radwan Al-Faouri stand before a poster depicting the graphene research they presented at the conference.
On December 2, 2015, University of Arkansas biomedical engineering student Curran Henson attended the Winthrop Rockefeller Nanotechnology for Healthcare Conference. While there, he helped Dr. Radwan Al-Faouri (shown above) present graphene research. Below, Henson offers his reflections on the conference:
The Winthrop Rockefeller Nanotechnology Conference was a huge success in my eyes. It was a very engaging experience in which I got to learn about some of the fascinating advances related to the field of nanotechnology in healthcare. The potential that nanotechnology has to change the methods by which healthcare occurs, mainly in the area of cancer treatment and oncological practices, is truly amazing to me.