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Hajim Spotlights

Ananya Goyal

Class year: 2020
Major: biomedical engineering
Challenge: engineering better medicines

“The one thing that constantly amazes me about students here at the University of Rochester is how multi-faceted they all are,” Ananya Goyal wrote in one of several blogs she has written about her Rochester college experiences for the Office of Admissions. “Every single person you meet here has a wide variety of interests, ranging from academics to athletics, clubs and organizations to campus jobs, etc.”

Ananya, who is from New Delhi, India, certainly fits that description as well!

In addition to qualifying as a Grand Challenges Scholar, she:

  • Serves as a peer advisor and tutor
  • Has been a teaching assistant for three departments
  • Works for the Office of Admissions as a Meridian Society tour guide, student blogger, and previously as an international student interviewer.
  • Works for the Office of Alumni Relations as a Student Alumni Ambassador
  • Volunteered with Friends of Strong Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
  • Studied abroad in Sydney, Australia
  • Serves as president of the Biomedical Engineering Society student chapter.
  • Was elected to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Ananya has also taken advantage of opportunities to do hands on research, starting as a research assistant and later as a Xerox Engineering Research Fellow in the lab of Mark Buckley, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. Her research has focused on the biomechanics of the cornea and the tendon. She also gave an oral presentation at a conference and is co-author of a paper currently under review.

During her study abroad semester in Sydney she interned in a Health Science Research lab and worked on coding for MRI image processing software for prostate cancer.

You can get a good sense of Ananya’s experiences by reading her blogs, which included such topics as a day in the life of a BME student, roommate relations, studying for finals, why UR was a good fit for her, and how her college experience as helped prepare her for the real world.

Here’s a Q and A with Ananya on her participation in the Grand Challenges Scholars program.

Why did you decide to apply?

It was a great way of connecting what I learned in the classroom and in the lab with my experience studying abroad and volunteering at the hospital. It provided me a way to direct my academic and extra-curriculars towards solving one of the biggest challenges facing engineers today- developing better medicines and treatments, and figuring out how I, as a future engineer, can do my part to create change.

Which of the five competencies did you most enjoy completing? Why?

I really enjoyed completing the Research competency the most as I’ve been conducting research in the Department of Biomedical Engineering since my first year here at Rochester. I’ve worked on a couple of projects that have taught me a variety of skills, and ultimately, made me really appreciate the scientific process. Research is something I have grown to love, and it is something I will be pursuing in the future as well!

Are there things you learned while completing the competencies that you would not have learned in a classroom or lab? For example?

As part of my Service competency, I volunteered at Strong Hospital in the Neuro-Medicine ICU this past summer. Through this opportunity, I was not only able to interact with real patients and medical providers, but also experience how biomedical research and design come to life in a professional setting. It was enlightening to see how machines and treatments created by engineers like me impacted people, and how they fit in the big puzzle of healthcare innovation.

After you graduate, do you think you will want to continue to work or pursue graduate studies in the same field as the challenge you tackled? How will you do that?

Absolutely! I am actually going to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering once I graduate, with a focus on biomedical imaging and its applications. I am very excited to see where my education takes me, as I want to develop non-invasive techniques of imaging and treating diseases. I hope this will turn out to be continuation of my work towards my challenge of engineering better medicines and treatments.

How did being at the UR help you complete this program?

The open curriculum and the interdisciplinary nature of learning at the University of Rochester are what made it possible for me to complete this program. Given that I had completed 3 of the 5 competencies before I even found out about the program, I found it to be quite an easy process to enroll in the program and finish it in time.

What is the value of the Grand Challenges program for a student?

I think being a part of the Grand Challenges program gives students the opportunity to combine their passions for engineering and creating a positive impact, while being able to explore other important pillars of learning such as research, service, and global perspective. It is a great guide towards having a directed education, as students are able to connect individual portions of their academic experience into one overarching theme.

Ananya Goyal '20—biomedical engineering