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Work in Progress: Using Resume Reviews to Explore Skill Sets Valued in Biomedical Engineers by Recruiters in Industry, Healthcare, and Academia

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Division Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Annie Wang University of Michigan

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Annie Wang is a Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology student at the University of Michigan graduating April 2023. She is interested in Molecular Biology, Physiology, and education. She has previously conducted engineering education research through the University of Michigan’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program and plans to continue to explore education research throughout her career.

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Cassandra Jamison University of Michigan

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Cassandra (Cassie) Jamison recently completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering (BME) with an Engineering Education Certificate at the University of Michigan. Her research interests focus on understanding and improving experiential, out-of-class experiences for engineering students. She has also worked with the College of Engineering Office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at Michigan to perform experiential education research for the last two years. Cassie previously received a B.A. in Engineering Sciences at Wartburg College (Waverly, IA) and a M.S. in BME from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She will join Rowan University's ExEEd faculty in September as an Assistant Professor.

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Jan Stegemann University of Michigan

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Jan Stegemann is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He received BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Toronto. Prior to earning his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Stegemann worked for five years at Boston-based W.R. Grace & Co. (later called Circe Biomedical), where his research focused on cell-based bioartificial organs. Dr. Stegemann’s current research focuses on the use of extracellular environments to control cell function and the development of engineered tissues. He is also an active educator in the BME Design Program at the University of Michigan, with a focus on graduate-level medical product design and development.

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Aileen Huang-Saad Northeastern University

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Dr. Huang-Saad is an Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern University and the Director of Life Sciences and Engineering Programs at Northeastern's Roux Institute in Portland, Maine. Dr. Huang-Saad is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Springer’s Biomedical Engineering Education and Division Chair for the American Society of Engineering Education’s Biomedical Engineering Division. Dr. Huang-Saad’s current research areas are entrepreneurship, innovation, and transforming higher education. She is funded by the NSF to explore the influence of the microenvironment of entrepreneurship education on minoritized populations, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and fostering graduate student professional development.

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From its foundation, the field of biomedical engineering (BME) has strived to solve interdisciplinary problems involving engineering, biology, and healthcare, which has resulted in a field that is diverse in both subject matter and career opportunities. However, the wide range of subjects under the umbrella of BME has led to criticism of BME curricula for being too broad without providing enough depth in content to prepare students to be competitive against other engineering students in the job market. Furthermore, BME graduates receive lower starting salaries and have fewer discipline-specific job opportunities than other engineering discipline degree holders [1]. Thus, there have been many efforts to identify and understand skills and experiences that are of value to BME recruiters. This work in progress study seeks to explore what recruiters in industry, healthcare, and academia are looking for in BME graduates. The work is guided by the following research questions: What qualities, skills, and experiences are recruiters looking for in potential BME hires? How can they be represented on resumes of BME undergraduates? We will explore these questions by analyzing resumes designed to reflect the specific qualities desired by BME recruiters in different fields (i.e., healthcare, academia, industry). The creation of these designed resumes (DRs) was based on content in resumes collected from fourth year BME students at a large R1, public university. Thus, the DRs reflected the experiences and skills of typical undergraduate BME graduates. DRs were also based on previously published rubrics used to evaluate the strength of resumes based on three distinct career pathways in BME: academia, industry, healthcare [2]. Using these rubrics as a guide, the DRs vary in strength and alignment with the three different career pathways. DRs are currently being distributed to recruiters along with a survey, which asks respondents to rank four DRs according to strength and identify the applicants that they would offer an interview to. This survey also seeks to capture qualitative data about what is important to recruiters, including the skills and experiences that the evaluators deem most impactful and the reasoning for their resume rankings and interview offer decisions. The work presented in this paper will discuss the process of creating the DRs based on the rubrics, and the current response rates of the survey at the time of paper submission. In our future work, we plan to perform a comparison of our expected rankings of the resumes from the recruiters based on the rubrics from [2] to the collected survey responses. By comparing recruiters’ evaluation of the student resumes, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to the scores and strength of the resumes according to the previously established rubrics [2], we seek to understand whether our current understandings of BME skillsets align with the qualities that recruiters deem to be valuable in student resumes. The results from this study can help undergraduate BME programs and students understand what BME recruiters value for employment in healthcare, industry, and academia.

Wang, A., & Jamison, C., & Stegemann, J., & Huang-Saad, A. (2022, August), Work in Progress: Using Resume Reviews to Explore Skill Sets Valued in Biomedical Engineers by Recruiters in Industry, Healthcare, and Academia Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41560

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