Biomedical Engineering, Class of 2016
When she began her college search over four years ago, Phoebe Skowronski set some criteria for the schools she would apply to and eventually call home: it had to offer biomedical engineering as a major, it had to be in a city not too close to home, and it had to offer intramural soccer. She was pleased to find that MSOE fit all these criteria, and once she was accepted and learned about the job prospects of MSOE’s graduates, Phoebe decided to attend.
This is where her journey of self-discovery and transformation—both through her involvement in student organizations and her schoolwork—began.
Phoebe found herself at the Organization Fair in the fall of her freshman year feeling compelled to sign up for email notifications from all different kinds of organizations on campus. “I probably went to way too many first meetings,” she jokingly explains. Eventually, though, she narrowed it down to what she refers to as a “handful” of groups to join.
However, Phoebe’s definition of a “handful” is much different from the average student’s. Over the course of her time at MSOE Phoebe actively involved herself in seven different organizations, holding leadership roles in three. These include Student Union Board (SUB), Habitat for Humanity, Society of Women Engineers, Biomedical Engineering Society, the Women’s Tennis team, Residence Hall Association and Student Leadership Council. Her involvement has transformed her in ways she never could have foreseen.
The friends Phoebe has made will most likely last a lifetime. Considering the various organizations she has been a part of, she explains that “I originally joined those orgs (organizations) with some of the people [who] are my best friends today. While you are here the people you interact with on a daily basis become your family.”
With the help of this “family,” she developed skills that transformed her and will benefit her for life. She attributes this skill development particularly to her position as president of SUB. “Being a part of SUB helped me better learn about working in a group and with external groups,” she explains. She assisted in the planning and running of a large amount of initiatives and events on campus through this organization. For Phoebe, some of the most memorable were a pumpkin giveaway, carved pumpkin contest, a Rave on Ice in the Kern Center, hypnotist Jim Wand’s performances for Parents and Family Weekend, and St. Pat’s Week.
Phoebe’s history of being a campus leader while taking challenging classes at MSOE also played a part in her transformation and continues to positively impact her life outside of school. “Classes at MSOE have provided me with the skill to develop and create on my feet, solve problems, and integrate the knowledge I already have into the new processes that I am working with.” Phoebe has used these skills at the three internships she held over the years.
Phoebe’s journey of self-discovery is ongoing. She recently graduated with a dual degree in biomedical engineering and technical communication and is a technical writing intern at Johnson Controls Inc. She is still deciding what she wants to do for full-time employment. The senior design process—a large project in which all senior engineering students are required to work in teams over three academic quarters to design, develop, and present a solution to a problem—helped Phoebe to discover more of her professional strengths and interests. “When I came to MSOE I thought I would want to be engineering the devices, but through my senior design process I learned that I enjoy the technical documentation of the devices and software as well.”
Phoebe has truly been transformed through her college journey. With the knowledge that comes from an invaluable dual degree from MSOE, her leadership experience through campus organizations, and the job prospects as a graduate that originally brought her to MSOE, she is hopeful and excited for what comes next.
“We will see what the future holds,” Phoebe says.