The Charger Blog

New Biomedical Engineering Graduates Reflect on Experiences as Chargers

Several of the newest alumni of the University’s Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering who were recognized as part of the University’s 2024 Commencement, discuss their time in the program and how they believe it has prepared them to excel.

May 24, 2024

By Betelihem Fre ’24 M.S., Kebisha Basukala ’24 M.S., Brendan Meyers ’24 M.S., Madison Liguori ’24 M.S., and Chika Okwuogori ’24 M.S., and Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S.

New graduates celebrate with Dr. Kagya Amoako (center)
New graduates celebrate with Dr. Kagya Amoako (center)

The University’s 2024 Commencement, a three-day celebration held on campus, was an exciting opportunity for graduates to celebrate their accomplishments while reflecting on their journeys as Chargers. The University conferred 3,500 degrees during four ceremonies. Graduates of the University’s master’s degree program in biomedical engineering were recognized as part of the ceremony held on Friday afternoon.

“The biomedical engineering faculty excitedly congratulates the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering graduates,” said Kagya Amoako, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering. “Their hard work and dedication have led them to this remarkable achievement. We are immensely proud of their accomplishments as they join the alumni base, and we hope their lived experiences will inspire the next generation of biomedical engineering students.”

Below, several graduates of the Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering (MSBME) program reflect on their time as Chargers and look to the future.

Betelihem Fre ’24 M.S.

It was a truly incredible moment during my Commencement. Feeling the pride and accomplishment of achieving this milestone was heightened by having my family there, especially knowing they traveled thousands of miles just to be with me. It felt surreal to see them in the crowd, sharing in this major accomplishment. Their presence made the day not just a personal celebration, but a memorable family milestone that we could all cherish together.

One of my most memorable experiences from my MSBME journey was being part of the BMDiLAB lab team. Working together on challenging projects, we not only achieved great things but also formed deep friendships. The conferences we attended, and our end-of-semester hangouts and gift exchanges added a fun and light-hearted dimension to our days, especially during those times when the pressure felt overwhelming. These moments of camaraderie and celebration truly enriched my academic experience, making it both enjoyable and rewarding.

Left to right: Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S., Madison Liguori ’24 M.S., and Frank West ’24 M.S.
Left to right: Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S., Madison Liguori ’24 M.S., and Frank West ’24 M.S.

My career goals involve working in the biotech or pharmaceutical industries. I aim to apply my skills and knowledge from the MSBME to make impactful contributions in areas such as drug development, medical devices, and therapeutic technologies.

The MSBME program has been instrumental in preparing me for my career goals in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, especially as I transition into job hunting. The curriculum provided me with a robust foundation in biomedical engineering principles and practices, essential for the technical demands of these fields. Through hands-on projects and lab work, I developed practical skills in research and development, which are directly applicable to real-world problems in biotech and pharmaceutical contexts.

My thoughts that I would like to share with current students are the following:

  • Engage Fully: Embrace every chance you get, from detailed lab work to engaging in networking events, to enrich both your academic and professional journeys.
  • Learn from Failures: Treat each failure as a steppingstone to success. Use these experiences as valuable lessons that contribute to your growth.
  • Maintain Balance: Strive for a healthy equilibrium between your academic responsibilities and your personal life to ensure your overall well-being remains a priority.
Kebisha Basukala ’24 M.S.

As I walked across the stage to receive my degree during the Commencement ceremony, I felt incredibly proud and accomplished. This moment marked years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance, and I felt an immense sense of achievement as I held my degree in my hands.

During my journey at the University, there were several standout moments that will stay with me forever. Every experience I've had, from working with creative minds on cutting-edge projects to undertaking ground-breaking research in cutting-edge labs, has helped me become the professional I am today. The sense of unity among my peers and the guidance of my professors have been invaluable. I will treasure this forever.

Kebisha Basukala ’24 M.S.
Kebisha Basukala ’24 M.S.

My professional aspiration is to become a highly esteemed member of the biomedical engineering community, with a focus on advancing healthcare through the development of novel and innovative solutions to the swiftly rising problems faced by the industry. The MSBME program at the University has given me the ability to solve challenging problems in the biomedical industry as well as an in-depth knowledge of the relationship between engineering and medicine. The program's interdisciplinary approach, industry ties, and practical experiences have equipped me with the necessary knowledge and self-assurance to achieve my aspirational professional goals.

To present and future students, I would like to emphasize the significance of grasping every opportunity that comes your way. Embrace challenges, seek mentoring, and never underestimate the value of teamwork. Your time at the University is about more than just getting a degree; it's about developing as a person, expanding your network, and preparing for a successful and fulfilling future. Believe in yourself, remain enthusiastic, and strive for excellence in whatever you do. Your potential is immeasurable, and the world is waiting for your unique contributions.

Brendan Meyers ’24 M.S.

I felt proud and relieved that I had finally been able to walk the stage. The most memorable moment of my MSBME was doing two back-to-back presentations then sitting down after the second one.

My career goals are to one day work on a new treatment for leukemia that sees FDA approval. The MSBME program has given me the knowledge to pursue further education in cancer biology, and my advice to current MSBME students is to push through.

Left to right: Rishika Giri ’24 M.S., Dr. Kagya Amoako, and Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S.
Left to right: Rishika Giri ’24 M.S., Dr. Kagya Amoako, and Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S.
Madison Liguori ’24 M.S.

On the day of Commencement, I felt very proud that I had accomplished this amazing achievement. My most memorable moments on my MSBME journey were the numerous group projects that we worked on. Each of these projects allowed us to work with multiple individuals at a time and to develop skills such as critical thinking.

I hope to eventually use my degree to be a part of a research and development department in the cosmetic industry. The MSBME program has given me the knowledge that I will need to excel in a research and development department in the cosmetic industry. And to the current students, I say never give up.

Chika Okwuogori ’24 M.S.

I feel super elated and am still thrilled about the knowledge I acquired throughout my program.

Some memorable moments during my studies included winning the Graduate Student Showcase in Spring 2023, receiving the Outstanding Service in Biomedical Engineering Award from the Tagliatela College of Engineering, and the opportunities that the Biomaterials and Medical Device lab (BMDilab) provided me to attend conferences and present posters.

Chika Okwuogori ’24 M.S.
Chika Okwuogori ’24 M.S.

My current goal is to secure a position in the industry. With my associate, bachelor's, and now master's degrees in biomedical engineering, I feel prepared to apply my knowledge and skills in a professional setting.

The MSBME program has equipped me with a wealth of knowledge, both in the classroom and in the lab. I am confident that the skills and expertise I've gained will enable me to excel in the industry.

My advice to current students is “measure twice, cut once! Plan carefully and thoroughly, and you will succeed.

Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S.

I felt a feeling of disbelief that the journey within the program had ended. During Commencement, I had the pleasure of sitting next to my fellow graduates Madison Liguori ’24 M.S. and Frank West ’24 M.S. Within the crowd were other graduates of the program who I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside throughout the program. I gained a newfound respect for my colleagues and was so proud to see how hard work got us this far. I did feel some sadness that life changes after this point.

Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S. on stage with University President Jens Frederiksen, Ph.D.
Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S. on stage with University President Jens Frederiksen, Ph.D.

Although it is rather thrilling to imagine the great things that are for us ahead, I know I will miss the great connections I’ve made. I will miss being able to sharpen each other through mentorship and consolation. Overall, I am proud of my perseverance.

My most memorable moments within my MSBME journey would be the various study groups that formed and evolved throughout the program. As one class ended, stronger connections were made and supported the strong ties between my colleagues in the program. I also remember my experiences in the BMDiLab on campus as part of the Biomedical Polymers course. It allowed me to fully immerse myself in the lab setting and to further strengthen my curiosity/interest in lab work.

I will never forget my contributions to the BMES UNewHaven Student Chapter, a Registered Student Organization (RSO) on campus. Being an executive board member of the club allowed me to welcome new connections in the BME community and campus at large.

Rishika Giri ’24 M.S., Dr. Kagya Amoako at Commencement.
Rishika Giri ’24 M.S., Dr. Kagya Amoako at Commencement.

My career goals are to ultimately work in a lab specializing in autoimmune and fertility research. I am particularly interested in the use of bionanotechnology to solve many of the mysteries within gene mutation. I am open to absorbing anything and everything there is to know about the biomedical industry.

The MSBME program has prepared me for my career goals because of the level of exposure it provided me to the world of BME. Every single course within the program, including elective courses, made me knowledgeable in analyzing and evaluating medical needs to enhance patient care. Bionanotechnology, Tissue Engineering, Immunology, and Biomedical Polymers were some of the courses that made a huge impact on my understanding of the field. I am eagerly looking forward to finding a role that fits my passion.

I encourage current students to learn to work with others and to find common ground. Don’t be afraid to fail! So long as you keep trying and you push forward, you’ll go further than you can imagine.

Betelihem Fre ’24 M.S., Kebisha Basukala ’24 M.S., Brendan Meyers ’24 M.S., Madison Liguori ’24 M.S., and Chika Okwuogori ’24 M.S., and Martine Bernadel ’24 M.S. are new graduates of the University’s graduate program in biomedical engineering.