August 2019

When I first applied to colleges my senior year of High School, I sent my application in as a future psychology major. I have always been interested in how the human brain works. Why and how do we make the decisions? How can we help those with mental illnesses? How does the brain develop through childhood? In high school, I took AP Psychology and dual enrolled in Lifetime Developmental Psychology. I was excited to dive deeper into our inner workings in a small, liberal arts college in the South East.

Then one day, everything changed.

I attended an Introduction to Engineering Information Session hosted by Duke University in October, 2015. An Electrical Engineering professor came to the stand and talked about his field, then an Aerospace Engineer, then a Mechanical Engineer, a Chemical Engineer, an Industrial Engineer, and finally, a Biomedical Engineer. The Biomedical Engineering Professor talked about his research with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to treat Depression, and something in me clicked. I realized in that moment that I could harness my love for psychology, my desire to help others, and my secret (but really not so secret) appreciation of math and science in ONE major. I was seven college applications in, and I decided to go down a completely new path. Without much hesitation, I opened applications to Duke, UNC, Vanderbilt, Washington University, Emory University, Miami University, and Georgia Tech as a Biomedical Engineering Major.

Dive first, swim later.

As the May deadline to choose a school approached, I had to figure out where I wanted to go. Since I had already submitted my Psychology applications, I still had that option. How could I know for sure that Biomedical Engineering was the path I wanted to follow?

To know for sure, I had to do more research. I needed to know: what is Biomedical Engineering?

This interdisciplinary field integrates engineering and life sciences to support the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease” – Georgia Tech

So with Biomedical Engineering, I learned, I could integrate the science of the brain with engineering problem solving principles and help create something that could improve lives. How could I not want to do that?

Three years later and I have no regrets regarding my major. My courses teach me about neurotransmitters and the blood brain barrier and electrical signals in the body, but they also teach me about design controls, prototyping, team work, manufacturing, and more. In my Pathology Dynamics Lab, I am learning the importance of the connection between psychology and engineering to develop strong neuro-engineering solutions. I am building the tools to enter into the full-time world of Biomedical Engineering and address problems that we face in our daily lives.

Whenever someone asks me, “why Biomedical Engineering?“, my answer is always the same:

I want to help people who, when they wake up every day, the biggest enemy they will face, is themselves.

Georgia Institute of Technology

August 2016 – May 2021

I am working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, a Leadership Studies Minor, and a certificate in Cognitive Psychology.

https://gatech.edu

Pathology Dynamics Lab

August 2018 – Present

Our lab is working with the pathologies of ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

https://pwp.gatech.edu/cassie-mitchell-lab/research/pathology-dynamics/

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