The night before Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering's E2 camp in the summer of 2017, biomedical engineering senior Scott Boege opened an email to discover the national Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) had announced Arizona State University’s local chapter was the winner of the Commendable Achievement Award, marking it as one of the best chapters in the nation.
“I was elated to know that all of the hard work that we put in during the previous year was worth it,” said Boege, current vice president for the chapter. “Our success would not be possible without the progress made in the years prior.”
BMES is a professional society for biomedical engineering students that aims to foster interest in the field while also providing academic and career opportunities for its members. The Commendable Achievement Award recognizes the ASU chapter for its activities, outreach and impact over the past year. This was the first time the organization recognized the chapter at a national level.
Allison Marley was president during the recognized 2016–17 academic year.
“Much of my college career was spent organizing and running events for BMES,” Marley said. “It felt pretty great to receive recognition for all of the hard work we had been putting into the club.”
Sarah Stabenfeldt, faculty advisor for the chapter, praised the students' commitment to the group.
“The past president and vice president, and current president and vice president have really made the difference in leading the chapter over the past couple of years,” Stabenfeldt said.
The organization was formally recognized at the BMES Annual Meeting on Oct. 14, 2017, in Phoenix.
During the conference, the ASU chapter leadership also discussed their operations at an Outstanding Chapter presentation, where BMES members could learn how other chapters were successfully run.
“During our presentation at the conference, a student from another university's chapter asked us how to get faculty involved at their events,” Boege said. “This is something we take for granted since we have a plethora of unique and engaging faculty members who love to talk at our events.”
Faculty, industry professionals and alumni are featured as guest speakers during meetings.
“Some alumni from the program have ended up becoming speakers at our meetings, which continues on the cycle,” said Ethan Marschall, the current chapter president.
Due to the chapter’s central location in Tempe, Arizona, the organization has the ability to tour places such as Mayo Clinic and Stryker. BMES brings in guest speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as neurosurgeons from Barrow Neurological Institute and engineers from biomedical companies such as Medtronic. The organization also pairs each industry speaker with a faculty member from the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“We'll do pretty much everything from the incredibly professional speakers, mixers and tours, to a fun barbecue with another student organization,” Marschall said.
BMES also goes to local schools; they presented to 10 different classes last year. The organization actively participates in ASU events such as ASU Open Door and volunteers at Project C.U.R.E., a local nonprofit.
With a new academic year in progress, BMES members continue to push the impact of their chapter, motivated by the national recognition.
“There were so many schools and student chapters that I just never expected it to happen,” Marschall said. “But it did happen, and we hope to keep the momentum going with even more programming going on for local members this year.”
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