University of Maryland: BMES Crash Course 2017

University of Maryland: BMES Crash Course 2017

Manuel A. Morillo

On November 18, 2018 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM, the University of Maryland College Park Biomedical Engineering Society hosted an event tailored to give students interested in engineering fields such as biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer engineering a chance to explore, interact, and problem solve through real-world problems. The event hosted students from schools all across Maryland and consisted of five total stations.  Students were broken up into 5 groups and were each assigned groups leaders that would lead them through the various events of the day. These events included the gel electrolysis of salmon sperm DNA,  a basic python coding lab, circuit design lab, computer-aided design (CAD) workshop, and a seminar on medical devices with a heart valve activity.
Each group followed a different schedule, only meeting together during the provided lunch. I was placed in group 3. Our first activity was the gel electrolysis of salmon sperm DNA where students were divided into two groups and shown how to separate DNA through electrical stimulation. The DNA would be separated by size and the gel it was trapped in would be dyed and placed over light to see the results.
The basic python coding lab followed the gel electrolysis. Here students were briefly taught the basics of the Python programming language and some of its uses. Personally, none of the information was new to me due to having previous experience. This session covered basic data types, syntax, and programming logic. It opened the eyes of several students and you could tell it genuinely interested some in a potential career in computer science, with some asking questions such as ” What can I do to get a career doing something like this?”.
The coding lab was followed by lunch and then the computer-aided design (CAD) workshop. Here students were taught about what CAD is, its uses, and its basic fundamentals. This included the importance of drawing, markup, and experimentation. Students were also guided through a live design project where they would follow along their instructor to create a bookmark using the Dassault Systèmes®’ SOLIDWORKS® 3D CAD Software.
The circuit design lab was up next. Here students were introduced to the foundations of electronics: electricity and safety. Instructors covered Ohm’s law and the types of circuits. Eventually, everyone was given the parts needed to create and test their own circuits.
The fifth and final station was the seminar on medical devices and the heart valve activity. At this station, students were taught the different types of medical devices and their classes. Towards the end, students were divided into groups of four and were challenged to create a makeshift mitral valve using a box and marbles to symbolize the flow of blood in the heart.
The day proceeded to end with a presentation on the importance of engineering and the opportunities students can find at UMD.