My name is Damali Egyen-Davis and I am a 2015 graduate of Bel Air High School and the Biomedical Sciences Program. I am currently attending Johns Hopkins University and majoring in biomedical engineering (BME).
As a BME major, one of the first courses I had the opportunity take was Modeling and Design. Working in groups of five, we had to model physiological systems. One of the first assignments we had focused on the amount of force produced by an individual’s deltoid muscle. We were able to derive an equation using simple physics equations, but we did not know for certain if the equation was an accurate representation of what happens in the human body. In order to test our mathematical model, we had to develop our own experiment. We designed a protocol based on the variables needed for the model (area of deltoid, density of the arm, etc.) and tested the maximum amount of weight an individual could hold while extending their arm at a 180 degree angle. All of our assignments had a similar outline; we had to model a human body system, create an experiment to test the model, and present the ideas through an oral presentation and a lab report.
My experience with the Biomed program, especially with Biomedical Innovations (BI), help to prepare for this course. Modeling and Design was completely focused on being able to work in groups and communicate ideas. Much of Biomed’s coursework and pace is built in the same way, and it made for an easy transition into the class. Biomed also exposes high school students to equipment and techniques that I used in my college course. For example, at Hopkins I used a BioPak – a device that measures breath volume and lung capacity- in one of my assignments to measure human efficiency and I had already used the same device during my sophomore year of Biomed.
BI is focused on looking at medical problems and using your knowledge to design a possible solution. In my freshman course, this skill was tested in something as simple as designing a mini, self-moving roller coaster out of foam boards. In my future courses, I will be required to design innovations to the smallest medical problems, and develop a prototype. Many groups of students even go as far as patenting the idea and creating a business and marketing plan. Similar to BI, the year ended with an independent group project. We were required to make our own model a human body function, develop an experiment or product around it, and present a poster at the end of the semester. Since I had done something similar to the Biomed program, I was able to organize my group’s plans to create a project on the digestion of sugars. Unlike others, I could approach the course with a calm that was a result of the knowledge gained in the Biomedical Sciences program.
As much as Biomed played a pivotal role in my admission to Hopkins’ biomedical engineering program, I also believe it has given me the proper preparation to succeed in college.