Gabriela Betancourt

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Gabriela Betancourt, Biomedical Engineering Student

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

As an in-state student, there was no better option for a university that provided quality of education, invaluable research opportunities, and a strong advising network for an unbeatable price than UW-Madison.

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

Initially, I was nervous to attend a school with so many students. Through participating in research and student organizations, however, I developed strong relationships with my peers and now I can’t imagine attending a smaller university.

How did you choose your major?

I chose biomedical engineering because of the design-centric curriculum. The opportunity to research and develop a project with a group of fellow students is, in my mind, the best preparation for my future career.

How have you personalized your education?

I have personalized my major by focusing heavily on research and seeking Honors in Research.

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

The most rewarding part of being a student on campus is feeling like you are a part of a community of ambitious and driven students with whom you can collaborate and expand your understanding.

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

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow program I participated in at the Mayo Clinic helped solidify my interest in translational biomedical research.

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

Studying in Hangzhou, China through the International Engineering Studies Program at UW Madison was an incredible experience that helped develop my engineering skills, communication, and cultural understanding. It was a great adventure, too!

What resources would you recommend to engineering students?

Purposeful interactions with professors are the best way to develop depth of understanding and discover opportunities that will shape your undergraduate experience. Asking questions after class and contacting people who worked in areas I was interested in resulted in unique and fulfilling opportunities for me.

What has been your favorite Engineering course? Why?

My favorite Engineering courses have been the BME Design sequence because they have allowed me to work closely with my peers and share our resources to develop solutions.

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

My favorite liberal studies course was Psychology 202 because of the professor’s (Dr. Roberts) ability to captivate the lecture hall with stories that helped us understand the concepts he was explaining.

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

With a major in engineering, it can feel like you have to go through a pre-planned “to do” list of courses with little flexibility for liberal arts or other interests. If you are savvy about your planning, however, you can find ways to incorporate courses that will introduce you to a wide variety of skills and subjects. Your advisor is your best resource in doing this, so talk to them early.