Heather Lukas, B.S. '19

Heather Lukas

Why did you choose Cornell?
The flexibility of the course curriculum at Cornell allowed me to pursue my interests in engineering and business during my undergraduate experience.

Why did you choose to major in BME at Cornell?
I liked that BME taught engineering concepts in the context of medicine. You constantly face challenges in solving real-world problems in lecture, homework, and projects.

Research topic/ Lab(s)/Adviser(s):
I worked in Dr. Bonassar’s lab studying the biomechanics of cartilage tissue. My senior thesis focused on developing an impacting device to better model and study the initiation of post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

What opportunities has the major given you so far?
Through Cornell BME, I have had great opportunities for research. Not only have I participated in undergraduate research at Cornell, but I also spent a summer working with Cornell-affiliated research faculty at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

What was your favorite class or experience at Cornell BME and why?
I really enjoyed taking and later TA-ing BME3030 with Professor Schaffer. It was a hands-on course in circuit design and measurement techniques for medical applications. It was exciting to have built an electrocardiogram from scratch and have performed an experimental study using our circuit design.

What clubs/organizations do you participate in at Cornell?
I was an executive board member of the engineering honors fraternity Tau Beta Pi and of my sorority Pi Beta Phi. I was a member of the Business Development team for Cornell AppDev and also the undergraduate BME Society. My most impactful experience was participating in the Kessler Fellowship program, which provided me the opportunity to explore entrepreneurship with other engineers at Cornell.

Do you have any advice for students considering research in Biomedical Engineering?
It is important to communicate your goals and interests effectively and find a supportive research group to help you achieve them.

While at Cornell/BME, what did you do for fun?
I love going on hikes with friends, getting brunch at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, and enjoying the many annual festivals in the Ithaca Commons.

Favorite Cornell/BME memory?
I had so much fun with friends on the first Cornell snow day in over 20 years when we got 2.5 feet of snow in 2017. We went snow tubing all across campus and ended the day with some hot chocolate.

What’s the next step for you?
I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering at Caltech in the fall. I will be working with Professor Wei Gao researching novel biosensors for implantable and wearable devices.

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