Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Katie Wight Q&A

November 13, 2014

Katie Wight, IUPUI Biomedical Engineering student

Katie Wight, IUPUI Biomedical Engineering student

1) Why did you decide to attend IUPUI? 
It was a journey that brought me to IUPUI. I was originally planning on studying chemical engineering. The IUPUI Honor’s College arranged for me to do Skype calls with both the chair of biomedical Engineering and a current student who had also wanted to do chemical engineering but chose biomedical engineering. After talking to both of these resources, learning about the biomedical engineering program at IUPUI, and seeing the effort that IUPUI made to help me to make an informed decision before I even was a committed student on campus, I chose to attend IUPUI.

2) How did you become interested in Biomedical Engineering?
I had always been interested and excelled in math and science in high school, so I knew I was interested in engineering. I chose the discipline of biomedical engineering through my series of conversations with the chair of biomedical engineering and the IUPUI biomedical engineering student. I learned the BME is engineering applied to the body and the products I would work on make a difference in the quality of life of the people who use the products.

3) What activities were you a part of in high school that helped prepare you for college?
I was involved in varsity athletics as well as French and Hospitality Club and National Honor Society. I also took 9 AP courses over the course of high school. Being involved in multiple after school activities as well as challenging course work helped to prepare me for college by knowing how to study and how to balance many different activities, skills that are VITAL to any college student.

4) What was the biggest difference for you between high school and college?
The biggest difference for me was that high school is much more structured, while in college, you have to make your own structure. There is a lot of freedom and new-found room in your schedule since you are not in classes from 7-3, and I had to learn how to plan my schedule in advance to make the best use of my time. I also learned to be more independent and do things that my parents would do for me through high school, such as making appointments and going grocery shopping.

5) How has your involvement outside of the classroom impacted your experience at IUPUI?
I would say that my involvement outside of the classroom is equally as important as my experience inside the classroom. A lot of the teamwork, networking, organization, and leadership skills I have learned have been through my extra-curricular. It is in these experiences that I learned the necessary “soft skills” and made connections with students and faculty members from different majors and different departments.

6) Describe a project, internship, co-op, or research experience that has been influential to your career development.
I have had two co-op rotations at a biomedical device company called Zimmer, which makes orthopedic joint replacements to restores mobility in patients across the world. My title was a development engineer within the hip division. The types of products I worked with were hip implants and the instruments designed to help surgeons implant the hip implants. Before this experience, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after graduation and was considering many different options. After gaining this experience, I was able to more definitively develop my career plan and to more clearly define my short term goals: go directly into industry after graduation (hopefully a rotational program), get more work experience, and then go back for my MBA. This experience has also allowed me to see there are many other aspects of engineering other than design and development of products and to see how different divisions of the company work together to allow the company to run.

7) What advice or encouragement would you give to other females considering a degree in engineering?
I would say that if you like to problem solve, enjoy math and science and learning how things work, then you should go for it! The work that you will accomplish will truly make a difference in the world.​