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Guide to BME: Sophomore

Guides to BME List

Prior to the First Day of BME Design

At the beginning of the fall semester you'll receive an email from Professor Tompkins. He will provide a list of available projects. Review the projects listed and note the top three that interest you most. You may want to consider choosing projects that you know something about for your very first design project. If you are just getting into the program your second semester sophomore year, you will enroll in BME 201: Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals and Design, which we will get to later.

The design project list can be found here. Browse through all the links to get a feel of the course setup. You'll need to be familiar with this website.

Know your end goal. Why do you want to be a BME student? Was it tough to get in so you wanted the challenge? Want to design something that will benefit the greater good? Doing it as your pre-med track? This will help you throughout your college career. If you plan on going to medical school, you may want to consider choosing a variety of projects over your six semesters. This will provide you with a wide array of experiences. If you plan on going into industry or graduate school, you may want to consider choosing projects of a similar type for your six semesters of BME design. For example, a student emphasizing bioinstrumentation may choose electronics projects as opposed to biomechanics or medical imaging projects.

First Day of BME Design

The BME social is a great way to begin meeting fellow BME students who share common interests within the department. This is generally held prior to design project selection. It is important to build a network within the department, so be outgoing! You never know the future potential of a connection made with fellow students.

Use the course web page to find the answers to your questions or use the 300 level students in your team to help you out. They will be more than willing to help you get off on the right foot. The notebook you create this semester will be your guide for next semester’s notebook, so be thorough in your documentation.

First Week

Any time that you spend on your design project should be documented in the notebook, whether it be on your own or in a meeting, make sure you log an entry. This can’t be stressed enough, ask any current BME student, it's very difficult to catch up later, especially because notebooks are due at the same time as finals.

Understand the role you’re assigned in the group. If you’re a BWIG, BSAC, Communicator, or Leader, it is important to have a strong understanding of what is expected of you. If you don’t know, always ask.

Summary of Team Roles

  • BWIG (Biomedical Website Implementation Group) – manages the team website, being sure to continually update it with photos and project progression.
  • Communicator – maintains correspondence with client throughout the semester and is assumes the responsibility of other miscellaneous communication as necessary. Be sure to be professional in emails, a series of simple guidelines can be found here.
  • BSAC (Biomedical Student Advisory Committee) – attends BSAC meetings in which students discuss ways to improve the BME department, and then relay those thoughts onto faculty.
  • Team Leader – responsibilities include keeping the team on good pace throughout the duration of the semester and creating weekly progress reports.

First Month

Go to as many BMES events as possible in order to get to know people and build a network. College is about building a network of friends and advisors; people who can help you out, and are more than willing to do so. Involvement in BMES is a great way to become acquainted with industry, stay up to date with faculty research, and to reach out to the community in various forms.

First Semester

In your first semester you’ll be one of two rookies in a 4-5 member team. It is important to learn as much as possible from each individual, especially, the “experienced” individuals! Learn each position. What do they do and how do they do it? When and why do they do it? Understanding each position will make you a more valuable team player, as well as help you perform better in the second semester when it’s four rookies in a team.

Second Semester

For the spring of your sophomore year, you will enroll in BME 201: Biomedical Engineering Fundamentals and Design. This course teaches the hands-on skills that will prepare you for your future design projects. Throughout the course you will acquire skills in computer aided design, programming, machining, and fabrication of a prototype, all of which will be applied to a guided design project. Make sure to keep an open mind in this course. Even with a track set on Biomaterials, you can find use and application of microcontrollers. Furthermore, the greatest aspect you will take from the class is a knowledge of how to approach a design problem and the steps you need to take to reach success, from initial brainstorming to presentation of the final product. Make sure to save your course guide and any other materials as they will serve as a guide and excellent reference for future projects

First Year

For the first few projects, consider projects you know the most about. That way, you can spend the majority of your time learning the design process and writing your reports the right way the first time. As you continue, the reports will become almost natural, allowing you to pick projects that interest you and can learn from. Always picking the “easy” projects may get you a good grade, but your experience will be compensated as a result. There ARE opportunities to get patents in these design courses, so these design projects truly involve real world problems. Also, students in the past have published scientific papers for their design projects. Make use of these design projects; they give you the opportunity to turn concepts learned along the way into tangible, (sometimes) functioning products.

A Note

If you plan on looking for an internship or co-op through ECS, do not tell employers that your most valuable asset/experience is BME design. You are indeed competing with your fellow BME students who may all say the exact same thing. Therefore, having experience in BME design is not unique at this university.

Consider getting involved in a research project. BME students can work in virtually any lab on campus, so consult any of the people in the BMES Research Database.

Consider getting involved with BMES or another student organization. Become an officer. Help coordinate a substantial volunteer program. Do something to make yourself unique! Having experiences like these will no doubt make your application more attractive employers.

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