What does a double major in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering set to graduate in 2018 do in his spare time? If you were Alex Markoski, you’d create a student group to develop an entrepreneurial mindset called WPI LaunchPad, join a fraternity (Phi Kappa Theta), serve as VP of the Recording Club, and become a member of SocComm, Choral Music Association, and Tech Entrepreneurs—just to name a few of this WPI Insider’s outside interests.
Markoski returned from his IQP in China this winter, where he and his team focused on the WeWork collaborative, a shared-space entrepreneurial model within the rapidly growing high-tech industrial area of Hangzhou. “I can’t thank WPI enough,” he says, “for providing us with the opportunity to experience China’s culture while enabling us to contribute tangible work that truly has a global impact.”
Now he’s back to juggling classes on top of his multiple biomedical lab positions. “Starting in sophomore year, I worked at UMass Medical where I designed and built a high-precision ultrasound positioning arm for critical patient tests,” he explains. He went on to become an active member on such projects as improving the design of an automated fibrin string 3D printer (called LACEY) in Professor George Pins’s lab, and a bioreactor that will be used to strengthen man-made blood vessels currently under development in Professor Marsha Rolle’s lab.
As one of WPI’s first University Innovations Fellows (UIF), a national organization funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell, Markoski helps students discover what he calls “the entrepreneurial mindset, innovation, and design thinking” through events, workshops, and collaboration with faculty.
“After being accepted and passing the six-week training,” he says, “we were able to attend a national meetup at Stanford, Google, and Microsoft, where we went through multiple workshops and activities, and listened to influential speakers such as Google X founder Sebastian Thrun, all focused on innovation and entrepreneurship.”
When asked what drew him to WPI in the first place, Markoski says that WPI’s collaborative, team-based, project-centric curriculum really stood out. Before applying, he “read about employers saying how WPI graduates are well prepared, and talked with alumni about their happiness with the quality of their education—and now I can say after living through this experience that I fully agree with their assessments.”