Novella joined the Biomedical Engineering Program in June 2022. She completed her PhD in biomedical engineering at the Oregon Health & Science University, where she worked on developing novel antithrombotic therapies and engineering novel biomaterials for cardiovascular applications. Novella has a deep passion for mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers. Outside of work, you can find her lost in the mountains, dancing to a record, or sewing up a funky outfit.
What have been some meaningful ways in which you have felt welcomed to CEAS?
My warmest welcome was from a group of biomedical engineering students. I was met with a hand-drawn card featuring the Flatirons filled with kind welcome messages from students in the program.
What is an ordinary moment in your life that brings you joy?
Making dinner every night with my husband. No matter how simple the meal, we always put some music on and make dinner together. This allows us to share events of the day, plan for the week ahead, or just discuss what we’re excited about at the moment. This is always my favorite part of the day.
What has been your favorite work or personal project so far?
A couple of years ago I started on a mission to move away from engaging in “fast fashion” consumption and to find more sustainable ways to acquire clothing. I was already shopping at secondhand stores, but rarely could I find what I needed. This led me to re-teaching myself how to sew, and I started to make all of my own clothing. I have also been able to learn more about what clothing is made from, allowing me to move away from synthetic fibers and onto all-natural materials. My next goal is to have a closet full of only “me-mades.” I’m at about 50% right now.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
I used to tell people that traveling was my whole personality, so this is definitely a tough choice. However, my time in Costa Rica was one of my favorite experiences overall. I had the opportunity to work on a farm, harvesting coffee beans for a summer in college. At the time, I was working as a barista, so it was a dream trip. I worked side-by-side with a local farmer in a small village; I learned how to milk a goat, I learned that fire ants love coffee plants, and I also learned how to roast beans over an open fire. On the weekends, I explored the tropical beaches on the coast, the jungles, and a couple of volcanoes. Beautiful place with beautiful people. ¡Pura vida!
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Despite being a somewhat shy introvert, I used to perform in an improv comedy troupe. We performed short-form games like you would see on Whose Line Is It Anyway? and long-form shows that were more like full improvised plays. I still love improv and use many of the techniques I learned over the years in my classes. Many short-form games can double as team-building exercises for students or can be used as ice breakers.
Which TV show do you never miss?
Recently, I haven’t been able to stop watching Beef created by Lee Sung Jin, starring two of my favorites: Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. The story follows two strangers after a road rage incident. This show is so refreshing for me because the plot is comedic and relatable, yet the show provides commentary on class warfare and is really a satire of the intersections of wealth and ethnicity in America. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the art displayed during the opening sequence is incredible.
What was the first concert you attended?
My first concert was NSYNC on their No Strings Attached Tour and I had strep throat. My taste in music has evolved since then.