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Board 7: Work in Progress: Approaches to Introduce Biomedical Engineering Design to a Class with Diverse STEM Backgrounds

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Angela Lai Carnegie Mellon University

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Angela is a current 5th year PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She is actively involved in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in both the laboratory and in the classroom and promoting the field of BME to the younger generations.

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Elaine Soohoo Carnegie Mellon University

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Elaine is a 5th year PhD student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and a clinical Artificial Heart Biomedical Engineer at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She has mentored undergraduate and masters students and is passionate about education outreach and increasing diversity in the STEM fields.

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Diane L. Nelson Carnegie Mellon University

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Diane Nelson is a post-doctorate in Chemical Engineering who is committed to exploring the unique properties of fluorinated materials and harnessing those properties to improve drug delivery vehicles. She has spent the last five years creating and testing her delivery system on various lung diseases, and is currently most passionate about the work she is doing to describe the process of drug deposition onto a surface.
As a previous biomedical engineer turned chemical engineer, Diane has developed a unique perspective when it comes to utilizing a broad set of tools in both her research and classroom. She aspires to share her enthusiasm for biology and engineering through teaching and mentoring in the next stage of her career as faculty.

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Conrad M. Zapanta Carnegie Mellon University Orcid 16x16

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Conrad M. Zapanta is the Associate Department Head of Undergraduate Education and a Teaching Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Zapanta received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, PA, and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (with an option in Biomedical Engineering) from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Zapanta has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Engineering at Hope College in Holland, MI, an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Austin Community College in Austin, TX, and an Assistant Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering at The Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, PA. He also worked for CarboMedics Inc. in Austin, TX, in the research and development of prosthetic heart valves.

Dr. Zapanta’s primary teaching responsibilities are Biomedical Engineering Laboratory and Design. Additional teaching interests include medical device design education and professional issues in biomedical engineering. Dr. Zapanta’s responsibilities as Associate Department head include overseeing the undergraduate curriculum and undergraduate student advising.

Dr. Zapanta’s research interests are in developing medical devices to treat cardiovascular disease, focusing on the areas of cardiac assist devices and prosthetic heart valves.
Dr. Zapanta is an active member in the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is a reviewer for several biomedical engineering journals. Dr. Zapanta also serves as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cardiovascular Sciences Small Business Special Emphasis Panel and as an ABET Program Evaluator (PEV) for Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering programs.

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Rising high school seniors from all over the country take summer college courses as a trial run for choosing potential majors before applying to colleges. In the initial offering of the summer course described in this paper, high school seniors took a six week, introductory, project-based course in biomedical engineering (BME). This introductory course incorporated both engineering design and clinical applications. Students were introduced to basic principles of BME design by exposure to the process of designing a medical device and its pathway to market. Students learned engineering design principles, hands-on skills, and built a medical device prototype in a course-long project. Teams with diverse STEM backgrounds were deliberately created to encourage discussion and collaboration. The course also included field trips and guest lecturers to demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of BME, as well as multiple oral presentations. At the beginning and end of this initial course offering, evaluations were completed to gauge the course’s effectiveness in teaching students about BME. These results demonstrate successful approaches and provide feedback for improving future introductory summer high school BME courses.

Lai, A., & Soohoo, E., & Nelson, D. L., & Zapanta, C. M. (2019, June), Board 7: Work in Progress: Approaches to Introduce Biomedical Engineering Design to a Class with Diverse STEM Backgrounds Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32410

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