By Katie Boncella, PhD Bioengineering Candidate
Priya came from India in 2019 to start the bioengineering master’s degree program. Her reason for choosing the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus was derived from her mother’s aspiration for Priya to have opportunities for a better future by sending her out of the country for higher education. Under the mentorship of Dr. Kendall Hunter, her research was focused on ‘strain computation for diagnosing right ventricular (RV) dysfunction using 3D echo-cardiac images’. This project aimed to compute 3D surface stain over a 3D RV mesh derived from echo-cardiac images with the hopes to check if the strain would differentiate healthy and PAH patient groups.
When Priya started the program, she lacked self-confidence and was unsure if she would even “survive” the program. In the beginning, Priya needed to gain the necessary background knowledge in mechanics and was quite overwhelmed, but with the help of Dr. Hunter, she was able to pick up the basics. “Amazingly, through this research work, he motivated me quite enough that I ended up taking additional courses and projects to expand my learning. I feel each professor in the BIOE department deserves a great deal of credit for how dedicatedly they are involved to provide constant feedback and updated projects to work on during the semester. It’s all because of their support that I felt the spark to passionately build projects again after a gap of 5 years,” said Priya.
Priya stated that Dr. Robin Shandas, her academic advisor, “always has an encouraging approach and would provide great feedbacks that played very a critical role towards my self-improvements. Today this has led to me feeling proud and excited about developing more research projects. I will remain grateful for everything that I was provided and pursue to serve through all knowledge I gained.”
Throughout her two years, Priya loved to be involved in any activities that fuel her brain with motivation and growth. She enjoyed Dr. Jeffery Jacot’s book club and spending time at Ursula brewery. Priya found many friends within the Department of Bioengineering who shared her love of biking, hiking, and animals! Over the pandemic, Priya has picked up chess; she loves that it helps nurture her brain for problem-solving and focusing.
During her time at CU, she was able to gain back her confidence and “feels overwhelmingly grateful of how much self-care and improvement I was able to achieve all through CU’s collective support from professors, peers, the Global buddies program and CU Wellness Center.” Priya is “very grateful to Dr. Hunter, Dr. Vitaly Kheyfets, and Dr. Bradford Smith because they are responsible for making me like Biomechanics and bringing me back the joy of building projects.” Currently, Priya feels well prepared to face her following challenges and is searching for a position in the biomedical industry. She looks forward to developing more algorithms and designing new diagnostic tools.