Biomedical engineering juniors present projects to industry

Published on: January 10, 2017

2017_news_BE_presentations2Jan. 10, 2017 — Biomedical engineering students had an opportunity to network with industry professionals when MSOE hosted the annual December seminar of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Milwaukee Section.

IEEE is the world’ largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. The Milwaukee Section serves southeast Wisconsin and is run by volunteers of industry and academia. The December seminar was held in conjunction with MSOE’s annual Junior Biomedical Engineering Feasibility presentations, an event that showcases the status of current design projects by the biomedical engineering class of 2018.

“The Milwaukee Section holds events throughout the year to promote technical and professional growth and networking,” said Dr. Jeffrey LaMack, director of the biomedical engineering program. “The December seminar was created in 2012 with the specific purpose of combining it with our student presentations for a larger joint event.”

This year, 10 student teams made the case for the feasibility of their proposed capstone design projects, which ranged from head impact monitors for soccer players to open source software framework for medical device applications.

2017_news_BE_presentations1IEEE members were invited to attend the student presentations and students were invited to attend the IEEE dinner that followed. A highlight of the event was an address by Dr. John G. Webster who is widely regarded as one of the founders of biomedical engineering; textbooks written by Webster are used in MSOE’s biomedical engineering curriculum.

“The IEEE event allows for people in a very diverse industry to get together and share ideas for the betterment of the IEEE community as a whole,” said Thomas Reid ’18, a junior biomedical engineering student. “It is a great environment for learning and sharing experiences.”

Reid was among the 40-plus students presenting at the 2016 event, which took place Dec. 14.

Most MSOE students don’t start thinking about their senior project, much less making a public presentation, until the senior year. In the biomedical engineering program it’s a little different.

“The capstone design sequence begins earlier for BME students because of the considerations involved in medical design,” said LaMack. “FDA regulations, market analysis, and user needs based on conversations with clinicians and patients are all part of their process.”

The presentations not only give students an opportunity to practice the communication skills the industry values, but they also serve as a  starting point for business plan proposal competitions students may enter. “Winnings from such competitions have funded several of our projects over the years,” LaMack said.

Being able to discuss their presentations with industry professionals throughout the evening is an invaluable opportunity for students. “It was helpful to have experienced engineers give us suggestions about what might work and what definitely will not,” said senior Rose Buchmann ’17, who presented with her team in 2015. “They saved us a lot of trouble by avoiding problems that were obvious to more experienced engineers. They also had the knowledge to explain the reasoning behind their ideas and opinions, which helped us learn what variables to consider when discussing design.”

MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,900 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 97% placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.

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