My participation in the Innovation Scholar Program allowed me to gather courses and experiences serendipitously provided to me and connect them to realize my passion. It has been more than just a learning experience, but a way to give meaning to a bunch of seemingly random life events and opportunities.
I am very excited about my current path and where my future may take me. As of now, I feel like all of the opportunities that I have been given did not come about due to luck, but some sort of destiny. To me, there is just no other explanation as to how—twice—the employment opportunities I have been given have been the exact jobs that I would need to pursue my passion. Further, the opportunities seem to follow the process of innovation, starting with the TechTITANS competition which represents having an idea, followed by the TVD internship which represents the opportunity research component, and finally the medical device startup internship which represents the actual development component.
Even the courses I took seemed to have been destined for me. Starting with the CAD class in high school, I never would have imagined taking such a class when I was that age. The decision to take it was due to my curious nature and desire to learn a variety of skills that may or may not be useful to me in the future. I was also very fortunate to have been chosen out of many applicants to be part of the Integrated Science course and eventually learn about algorithms. This series of seemingly unconnected events have become connected due to the Innovation Scholar program.
My future is looking very bright. Recently, I have made large strides towards developing my device thanks to a friend who was looking for a computer programming project to work on. He approached me looking for an idea for a cellphone app and I told him about my idea. He has already created mockups of what the app will look like and has begun working on the algorithm that will tell patients how to adjust their blood thinner dose. Although it is not the exact idea I had originally envisioned, this app, if made available to the public, will be very useful to the millions of people who depend on blood thinners as they will be able to use current devices to determine their INR and use the app to determine their correct dose.
This experience has also directed me towards deciding on what I want to pursue in graduate school. Before the Innovation Scholar experience, I was quite undecided on what I even wanted to study as an undergraduate. I flip-flopped between engineering and journalism a few times before finally deciding on engineering thanks to the Innovation Scholar program guiding me to my passion. Now that I am applying for graduate schools, I know that I want to study medical device innovation. For months, I have been researching schools and programs all over the country to find the perfect one for me and my passion. Although the list is quite long, I am certain that wherever I end up being accepted it will be the perfect place for me.
I know that it is only a matter of time before my device hits the shelves and will be available to those patients that truly need it. I am excited to advance the technology and take it from in-office to at-home!