Spotlight on Engineering Alumni: Catherine Marando

MarandoName: Catherine Marando

UR Major: Biomedical Engineering

Other UR Majors/Minors: Economics and Chemical Engineering

Current City, State of Residence: London, United Kingdom

Job Title: Whitaker International Biomedical Engineering Research Fellow

Employer: Imperial College London

Community activities: Women in Science, Engineering and Technology

How did you choose your major(s)?

I was that freshman carrying around brochures for fifteen different potential majors. BME seemed to be the best combination of math, biology, physics, and problem solving; essentially, it was the major that encompassed a bit of all of the other majors that I was considering.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I was involved in the Society of Women Engineers for four years. I loved being the community outreach chair and coordinating events to encourage young women to pursue engineering. In my senior year, I was the president of SWE. I learned a great deal about staying organized, delegating responsibilities, and trying to motivate participation. Other activities I participated in were Tau Beta Pi and the badminton club.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

I would encourage all students to actively seek a mentor early on in college. My mentors were professors for whom I had TAed or PIs for whom I had done research. Don’t be afraid to speak with professors or employers that you respect and see if they have the time to give you guidance and career advice.

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

Initiative, capability, teamwork, and the ability to recognize problems and actively seek good solutions. Internships are not only a chance to learn new techniques or processes, but also the opportunity to take initiative in solving problems and cooperate with colleagues of diverse backgrounds and ages.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I am working at Imperial College London as a Whitaker International Bioengineering Fellow on glaucoma related research. This is a one-year fellowship after which I plan to attend medical school. I chose to take this year to experience life in another country, meet fascinating new people, and challenge myself. I would advise current students to apply to lots of programs/internships/fellowships regardless of the competitiveness or difficulty of the application… just go for it and don’t be afraid of a challenge. In five years, I would like to be graduating medical school and I would like our country to have an economically sustainable healthcare plan.