Chrissy Kujawa

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Chrissy Kujawa, Biomedical Engineering Student

How did you decide to come to UW-Madison for engineering?

I decided to come to UW-Madison for engineering because of excellent program they offer for biomedical engineering. I had met some of the staff on a high school trip and they were so friendly, and I could see the resources for engineering students were extensive. I also went to Engineering EXPO and saw how involved engineering is with the community, and I was exposed to the tons of research opportunities for undergraduates.

What was your transition like during your first year on
campus?

My transition my first year on campus went really smoothly. I lived in the WISE Learning community where I lived with a bunch of STEM students. This made the academic transition a lot easier because I had 60 people to study with. I also joined SWE, where I had a lot of fun meeting other women in engineering. I definitely missed my family and was worried about all of the first year things, but getting involved in things right away helped me a lot in finding the friends I still have today.

How did you choose your major?

I am a Biomedical Engineering student a lot in part because I am indecisive. I knew I liked biology and was thinking Pre-Med, but I also loved math and physics in high school. I did not know biomedical engineering was a major until my senior year and realized that was exactly what could combine my interests. I loved that it was so interdisciplinary.

How have you personalized your education?

As a BME Pre-Med student, I have tailored my track to fit the Pre-Med needs. I also have an interest in public health and social and environmental justice, so I decided to pursue a certificate in Global Health. I really liked this certificate because it has a field experience requirement. As a BME, it is more difficult to study abroad, but with my certificate I’ll be able to travel and work in a different country!

What has been your favorite or most rewarding part of being a student on
campus?

The most rewarding part about being a student on campus is feeling like I belong to a community. I always feel like a Badger, and wherever I go, any Madison alumni always has this deep connection with the school. I love being involved in my WISE and SWE, and doing work that makes a difference.

Have you had an internship/co-op/job that helped solidify
what you want to do?

I have had a summer internship for clinical research, shadowing physicians, and studying the Social Determinants of Health at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor which has helped solidify my desire to attend Medical School.

Have you studied abroad or are you planning to study abroad? If so, describe your experience with the process.

I will be doing a field experience with the Global Health Program. This is where you do hands on Public Health work either locally or abroad, and I am planning on participating in one in South America. First, I must take the introduction courses for the certificate and then apply to my programs of choice. Then I will have to make sure I have my passport and paperwork, along with any vaccinations. This could be either during winter break, spring break, or the summer.

What resources would you recommend to engineering students?

I would highly recommend the engineering tutoring services. They help a lot with your first year and second year classes. I also would suggest getting involved in our engineering student orgs. Many of them are amazing at what they do.

What has been your favorite Engineering course? Why?

My favorite Engineering course would be my BME design courses. We have a new design project from the community every semester and it is super fun to work in your teams to solve a real problem. The class is super rewarding but a ton of work.

What has been your course outside of engineering? Why? How did you choose it?

My favorite liberal studies course was Soc 170: Population Problems. This class is what got me interested in Global Health. I chose it because it fulfilled a Sociology and Ethnic studies requirement for my Pre-Med track, but it ended up being one of my favorite classes so far.

What final piece of advice would you give to incoming engineering students?

My final advice for engineering students would be to not be afraid of the 5th year. I went in thinking I would be 4 years and done, but looking ahead I realize I’ll have a much better time and get so much more from this school if I take my time, get involved, do the certificate, and be here for an extra year.