Name: Adrienne Scott
Hometown: Zionsville, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering PhD Student
Advisor: Corey Neu
I grew up on a farm outside of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Exploring my farm as a child I was always interested in how the world worked and luckily, I had great parents who could answer all my questions.
Because my mom is a physician and my dad a chemical engineer, my household conversations often centered around scientific questions about medicine, chemistry, or physics. This environment sparked my interest in bioengineering because I could not only design and engineer products like my dad, but I would also have the opportunity to directly help people like my mom.
In college, I had the opportunity to work in a research lab in the physical chemistry department and I enjoyed many aspects of research.
I decided I wanted a career where I could always keep learning by coming up with questions and conducting research to find the answers.
Combining Medicine and Engineering
In most cases, a PhD is required for a career that involves scientific research, so I knew graduate school was my next step. However, I wanted to switch to a field of research that could advance the field of medical technology to combine my interests in chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine.
For graduate school, I applied to both bioengineering and mechanical engineering programs with a focus in bioengineering. I found a lab at CU Boulder under the direction of Dr. Corey Neu that was a great fit for me. Now, my research explores how cells in the human body sense and respond to their mechanical environment. In the future we hope to use this information to better design tissue engineering techniques to repair damaged tissues.
I initially applied to CU Boulder because it has a strong research program in both bioengineering and mechanical engineering, which fosters an interdisciplinary environment. When I visited for the Mechanical Engineering recruitment days (known as GEARRS) I was not only impressed by the research, but also the overall environment. The other graduate students in the Mechanical Engineering department seemed genuinely excited about their research and the Boulder community in general. As I walked around campus with the Flat Irons in background, I knew that CU would be a great place to succeed academically and also an enjoyable place to live for my PhD work.
My favorite aspect of CU is the community. Even though my research focuses on the bioengineering track within the mechanical engineering department, I don’t feel isolated from other graduate students working on other areas of research.
Everyone is extremely passionate and willing to share their research with you and because of this environment I feel connected to my whole department and the college in general. As a result of the strong community, many professors are extremely collaborative and are always looking for ways to work together.
Additionally, I have found that the community as a whole values a work life-balance. In addition to focusing on research, many graduate students also enjoy activities outside the lab like hiking, playing music, rock climbing and skiing. Overall, I think these aspects of CU create a healthy environment in which I can be both a productive and successful researcher.