For my STEP signature project, I worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development. This is a part time position that took place over the summer in 2018. I worked at the Buckeye Center for six to nine hours every week, evaluating the speech perception of cochlear implant patients.
During this project I gained a decent amount of insight on what I want to do with my life. Working with cochlear implant patients helped me understand and realize that I want to help create and improve medical equipment. Seeing the frustrations that the inadequate technology brought upon the patients made me want to fix the problem at hand.
Due to this new found interest in my life, I have decided to pursue a biomedical engineering minor. This minor will allow me to help people who are disabled, have an easier life. This project has helped me gain the understanding of what career path I want to follow in my future.
During my STEP project I got the chance to attend various events and create multiple relationships. I created relationships with an audiologist, Kara Vasil, and otolaryngologist, Dr. Aaron Moberly. These relationships have allowed me to make great connections with The Ohio State Wexner Center that I may possibly need in the future. It is very possible that these connections could help me pursue a career at the Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development in the coming years.
The most interesting event that I was fortunate enough to be a part of during this project was observing a cochlear implant surgery. The surgery was performed by Dr. Aaron Moberly, the head of our research team. He was performing surgery on one of our research participants. This was my first time observing a surgery and therefore had a large impact on me.
These relationships and events have directly affected my career interests, as stated earlier. Observing a surgery and learning about the technology used in the surgery furthered my interest in biomedical engineering applications. Specifically, I would love to improve the efficiency of cochlear implants so that people who use them could have an easier life.
This transformation was very valuable because it gave me the opportunity to have hands on experience with something that I could be a part of later on in my life. Without this experience, I would not know how interested I am in the medical field. In the future, I hope to participate in work that is very similar to what I did as a Research Assistant at the Buckeye Center for Hearing and Development.