Biomedical Engineering Pre-Grad Intern Brandon Nichols
"As part of my IE Pre Grad Internship (and funded by an IE/Engineering Travel Grant) as a junior I attended the Biomedical Engineering Society conference in Pittsburgh, PA. This was a critical step for me as it was one of the experiences ultimately leading to my decision to pursue a career in science. This bolstered my decision to go to graduate school. I found it relatively easy to interact with those involved in my research areas. I also really enjoyed listening to others talk about their research. Not only did attending this conference reinforce my decision to stay in academia, it also helped provide a means to get there. I met with several graduate coordinators from schools across the country interested in recruiting me. This is very advantageous in the application process because they are able to put a face with the name.
I was also approached by principal investigators in my field. Having erudite people ask me specific questions about my research was another testament to how important it is to understand things from several aspects. In one case I ran into a professor who is the son of a professor at UT. After talking to him for almost an hour he was very insistent that I come to work for him. It was very rewarding to feel as if I had something to offer a school as opposed to it seeming like they were doing me a favor by letting me attend.
Neither my father nor mother received any formal education beyond high school, so from a young age I was taught to value what I have. This conference really helped me get my mind wrapped around the graduate setting and how research events function. I really appreciate the IE internship and this opportunity-and I am very thankful for the financial support."