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About Us

Hajim Spotlights

Hanwen Gu

Class year: 2021
Major: biomedical engineering
Challenge: Engineer the Tools for Scientific Discovery

How did you hear about the Grand Challenges Program?

I first heard about the Grand Challenges when I was participating on the University’s iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machines) team. Dr. Meyer (Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor of biology), told us that we could potentially qualify for this program.

Why did you decide to apply for the Grand Challenges program?

I am passionate about letting people take control of their own health with engineering. I see the Grand Challenges program as a chance to bring different perspectives together to make a difference in the community.

Which of the five “competencies” (research, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurship/innovation, global, service) did you most enjoy completing? Why?

Entrepreneurship is the part that I enjoyed the most. I was selected into the E5 (KEY) program because of my project using wearable devices to detect early stroke signs. I used this as an opportunity to develop my communication skills and fill the gap between engineering and business by learning from peers and advisors as well as by collaborating with industry professionals.

Do you think you will want to continue to work in the field of your “challenge” after graduation? How?

Yes, I will continue to work in the medical device field. I am continuing my study in management so that I can build connections and resources to successfully manage teams of engineers and businesspeople.

How did being at the University of help you complete this program?

Being in the University gives me the opportunities to collaborate among departments in the Simon Business School, the Medical Center, and the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences as well as the Biology Department. Those connections and resources are crucial for the success of this program.

For you, what is the value of the Grand Challenges program?

The value of the Grand Challenges program for me is to have the opportunity to understand problems from various points of view and how to integrate them to make a more impactful project.

Hanwen Gu ‘21—biomedical engineering