Cassidy Mileti, B.S. '19

Cassidy Mileti

Why did you choose Cornell?
I visited Cornell in high school and fell in love with the atmosphere and the beauty of the campus. After sitting in on a few classes and requesting a song at the top of the clock tower, I was ready to commit. Also, the financial aid made it possible for me to graduate debt-free.

Why did you choose to major in BME at Cornell?
When I applied, BME wasn’t a major yet, but I was planning on minoring in it because the topic fascinated me so much. Biomedical engineering is a way to help people and work to improve human health without becoming a doctor, so it really appealed to me. I was ecstatic when it was announced the summer before I matriculated that BME would become a major.

Brief description of your research topic/ Lab(s)/Adviser(s):
I study the characterization of bone using Fourier Transform Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy in the Donnelly Lab in the materials science department. My projects have primarily focused on improving the understanding the basic science of measurements that can be used to study microstructural changes in bone in health and disease.

What opportunities has the BME major given you?
The practical laboratory classes have been extremely valuable in building various skills which have given me a strong, broad foundation for biomedical research.

What was your favorite class or experience at Cornell BME and why?
My favorite class was the concentration lab course for molecular, cellular, and systems engineering (MCSE). We had weekly labs that I found genuinely interesting, and that taught me how to apply techniques that I had often read about in papers in other classes. Since my work in the Donnelly Lab is “dry lab” work, I had little experience with cells, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to develop “wet lab” skills that I will use in graduate school.

What clubs/organizations do you participate in at Cornell?
I have played the clarinet in the Cornell University Wind Symphony for the past four years, which has been one of the best parts of my time at Cornell. At various points, I have been involved in STEM outreach in the Society of Women Engineers and the Biomedical Engineering Society. I have also been a part of Haven, the LGBTQ+ Student Union, as secretary and co-facilitator of one of its suborganizations.

Do you have any advice for students considering research in Biomedical Engineering?
Don’t be intimidated by asking professors about research, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response. Be persistent and you will be able to find a lab you love. And you can change labs at any time if you find that you don’t love it. The research happening at Cornell is so exciting and it’s an incredible opportunity to be a part of it.

While at Cornell/BME, what did you do for fun?
The organizations I talked about above made up most of my social life at Cornell, especially CU Winds. My friends from that led me to discover rock climbing at Lindseth. I never became very good, but it was a lot of fun.

What’s the next step for you?
I’m pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at UC Davis, where I’ll be an NSF fellow! I’m hoping to perform research in tissue engineering and/or biomaterials for regenerative medicine.

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