Michelle Tran, '13

Hometown: Tyngsboro, Massachusetts
Degree: BS, Biomedical Engineering

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
WPI has a great reputation for its engineering program, which grabbed my interest immediately, as I knew I wanted to pursue biomedical engineering. WPI students undergo project-based learning as they experience real-life problems and situations through their IQP and MQP–which I find extremely valuable for anyone entering the job market. I’ve been at WPI for two years, and I still believe I’ve made the right choice.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
Theory and Practice emphasizes the equal balance between studying and gaining knowledge alongside practical applications in real life. Reading how a procedure is done is completely different from performing the application. Many companies are well aware of the strong group-based skills WPI graduates have. I have even spoken to a hiring manager who always looks forward to hiring WPI students.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
Although the student body is quite large, the student-teacher ratio is very small, which allows better student-teacher contact. Students are also given the chance to devote more time to classes, due to the school’s academic year setup. I am also extremely proud of the amount of lab research taking place at WPI. As a lab assistant, I have seen firsthand the amount of experiments, tests, and research occurring within the BME labs.

How have the professors in the Biomedical Engineering Department impacted your studies and your life?
One of the first professors I became acquainted with was Marsha Rolle. Whether the topic is her specific research area or other professors’ areas, Professor Rolle always seems inspired by the rapidly growing BME field. One week she was unable to meet with students, but she made up her office hours by sacrificing some of her weekend schedule. Professor Rolle is always willing to take an extra step.

What are your research projects?
During the academic school year, I assist Professor Rolle and her graduate students in their research. The Rolle lab concentrates on the generation and analysis of tissue-engineered blood vessels. The lab has recently been working on the development of blood vessels and tissue rings via methods like plasma-etched silicone mandrels and the aggregation of aortic smooth-muscle cells.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?
What would be my ideal job?I hope to be contributing to a medical or life sciences company and actively working alongside professionals who are just as dedicated and excited about this field. In order to gain a better understanding of what I wish to do, I plan on being exposed to as many different topics and projects possible.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • WPI Dean’s List (Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011)
  • WPI University Award WPI Scholarship Competitive Academic Grant I-II (2009-2010)
  • National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant [National SMART Grant] (2010)
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