img-jacques-photosSamantha Jacques

Biomedical Engineering

Class of 2000

“MSOE taught me how to learn something new and apply that knowledge to ever changing environments.”

Dr. Samantha Jacques ’00 is at the top of her game. The biomedical engineering graduate took advantage of every opportunity she could at MSOE, joined student organizations, played softball, studied hard and completed research. Her hard work has paid off. Today she is the director of biomedical engineering at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the nation.

Sam has a unique perspective of MSOE: she was both a student and a member of the faculty. After she graduated from MSOE she went on to earn her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Sam then taught at Bucknell University and then at MSOE for four years before taking her current position at Texas Children’s Hospital.

“As a student, I had a great time my freshman year on my floor in RWJ. I also enjoyed the sports and extracurricular activities. I was in Peer Mentors as a freshman and then in turn became a mentor the rest of my time at MSOE. We had great events that were so much fun like the dances and sporting events. Finally, I really enjoyed the friendships that I built in the small classes we had. To this day, I still contact members of my graduating class to catch up or network with for business purposes.”

“The class I had the most fun in was biomechanics because of the applied nature of the laboratories—you could easily see and apply the lecture materials to the laboratory. Dr. Larry Fennigkoh was great at making the theory into a great application. MSOE was a great place to study. The small classes and hands-on application of engineering principles was what made it fun and interesting.”

“I also had an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) internship with the Center for BioMolecular Modeling at MSOE. I studied the action of actin molecules,” said Sam. “We got to use MSOE’s Rapid Prototyping Center to recreate models of actin to study how it binds to myosin and effect actual muscle movements. Dr. Tim Herman was great to work with!”

Speaking as both a student and faculty member, Sam said, “What most students don’t understand is how hard engineering is. Most students come to the field as the best in their high school classes. However, what they don’t expect is that they will struggle. Every student struggles in something and they should know it’s normal. When that happens, put your head down, work hard, get help, and keep trying.”

At Texas Children’s Hospital, Sam is responsible for 65 staff members who repair and conduct maintenance on 35,000 pieces of medical equipment throughout the institution (everything from otoscopes and exam tables to MRI machines). Her department also plans all the expansion projects, working with architects and project managers to identify, order and install all the medical equipment. “I work with just about every clinical department on their equipment planning and implementation needs. I never do the same thing day to day, as each day brings another challenge!”

“Probably the most important skill I learned at MSOE was how to learn and apply knowledge to the given situation. Even though most of the technology I learned as an undergraduate is now obsolete, a person in any technology field has to stay current. MSOE taught me how to learn something new and apply that knowledge to ever changing environments. This single skill has been the most useful in world of constant technological innovation.”