Coming into my undergraduate studies, I knew I wanted to study Bioengineering for its engineering component, as I love and thrive in problem solving and for its biology application, as I wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. I came to the University of Maryland for its proximity to the NIH, NCI and other government facilities with the hopes of contributing greatly to oncology and/or immunology.
However, it’s super interesting that I faced so many challenges to get to where I am; yet, it all happened in such a way that I truly believe everything that’s meant to be will be. For example, I almost went to a different university because I mistakenly sent my letters of recommendation for my UMD application to the wrong campus. I luckily got in in April, which I couldn’t have been more grateful for. I knew this school was the perfect fit for me since the moment I visited the campus in 2019, and upon accepting and entering my intuition was proven correct.
Within my first 2 months at school, I heard about the Biocomputational Engineering program beginning. Being Bioengineering as is, and wanting a heavier mathematical, statistical, and computer science emphasis, I decided to explore more about the new major. I instantly knew I wanted to join. UMD is one of a handful of schools that even have this program, so it is very up and coming which puts me on the forefront of this degree.
As I mentioned, Biocomputational Engineering is the crossroads between many different subjects including biology, computer science, applied mathematics, data science, statistics, and of course engineering. The program places a heavy emphasis on the computer science component, which I greatly appreciate. The courses range from computer visions to machine learning to algorithms, all while teaching us C++, Python, R, and Matlab. As computer science uses are growing exponentially in today’s society, I found that pursuing the combination between it and biotech was ideal. Furthermore, I grew to love coding, which was a welcoming surprise!
My experience being in this program has been very unique. I am a part of the second cohort, and there are only two of us in it! Otherwise, there were five students in cohort one and four in cohort three, and we now share half of our classes with each. But nevertheless, the class sizes are extremely small which creates a very different learning environment. Getting this level of individualized attention in college is truly unheard of. Furthermore, having such a small group of us caused us to become very close to one another. I have such a great relationship with all the other students which I am very grateful for. I have my own BCE family!
Overall, I can confidently say that I have already grown a lot within a semester and a half in Biocomputational Engineering; and I cannot wait to keep going! I have gained experiences, relationships, and knowledge that have changed my life!