February 2024 Spotlight: Andrea Godoy
(Class of ’21), University of Miami, Graduating in 2025
Degree: Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Psychology
Career Goals: I’m interested in creating and working on new technologies that improve our health services, specializing in medical devices. I am particularly interested in neurotechnology, neurovascular and cardiovascular health, and rehabilitation devices throughout the human body. I aim to work in the medical device industry within research & development after getting my master’s in Biomedical Engineering or Industrial Engineering. I also want to build on my passion for mentoring the young minds of STEM and encouraging more women and Hispanics to pursue a STEM or engineering degree, hopefully increasing the 13% and 2% of women and Latina engineers in the US, respectively.
What has been the biggest surprise about the college experience? The various backgrounds that people come from! Although I stayed in Miami, UM has a large proportion of out-of-state and international students, making for many different cultural, geographical, and financial differences. During my first year, I experienced culture shock in my conversations with my classmates, but nowadays, I like to see it as an opportunity to learn more about cultures I wouldn’t have known as much about had I not met these friends.
Most challenging coursework in college: So far, the class that has pushed me the most has been Electronics I. Before this class, I felt pretty confident in my college study skills since I was riding a high of straight A’s and had taken similar courses before, but this class was a wake-up call to the areas I needed to improve. I learned more about how to best study for classes like these and how to dedicate time per week to review the notes from the class ahead of the exam to catch anything I may not be 100% clear on. Also, forming a good study group where you are productive but can cry, laugh, and rant at 11 pm in the library or Zoom helps when the professor posts the uncurved exam scores. Thankfully, the professor was a little understanding and gave many extra credit opportunities, so I ended the class with a B+ – I’ll take it!
Accomplishment most proud of: I WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE! I was invited to be 1 of 50 students, professionals, and staff who represented the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) at their first White House policy briefing on “Building the Next Generation of STEM Leaders.” I could speak for hours on this experience alone, but it was a monumental full-circle moment in my life that my 9-year-old self, coming to the US for the first time, could have only ever dreamed of. They even asked me to speak at the podium and share my story and resources I have been able to benefit from through SHPE! I also interned for the world’s largest medical device company, Medtronic, the summer after my sophomore year through a SHPE program. I also scored an internship for Summer 2024 with another industry leader, Stryker. I am also the student lead and assistant in the Office of the Dean at the College of Engineering. I have been doing research since my freshman year at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis with a BME professor and mentor, as well as being President and other high executive board positions in student organizations at UM like UMaker, SHPE, Engineering Student Ambassadors, and Engineering Student Council. I also am part of Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society!
Can you provide any advice to our current Knights? Don’t be afraid to ask for help! To put it simply, as Mrs. Henderson told us on the first day of my sixth-grade math class, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease!” I firmly believe in being your best advocate, and in life, so many others have walked in your shoes before, even if you think they haven’t. Many people around you are more than happy to mentor and support your growth, helping you open doors that another mentor once opened to them. So many opportunities I have gained have been through the butterfly effects of picking the brains of people I looked up to. Though it may seem far now, working on overcoming that fear of “asking too many questions” or the mindset of “I can just figure it out” will help you get so far by building a solid support network. So start now! Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification in your classes, opportunities to develop yourself in various areas, or even ask for mental health support. It all sounds so cliche, but makes a huge difference in working smarter, not harder, just because of wanting to come across as “independent.”
I paid for college with…: I am paying for college through various scholarships, including UM’s President’s Scholarship, Coral Grant, and Bright Futures. I also pay using the Federal Pell Grant, Florida EASE, and Florida Student Assistant Grants. I also have paid through various external scholarships through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Association of Cuban American Engineers.
Fondest memory from high school: I could say so much, but forever in my heart are always the wise words from Ms. Kaelin, Mrs. Henderson, and Mr. Dean. They shaped me into such a strong woman pursuing an engineering degree, instilling confidence in myself and my intelligence not to let stigmas around women in engineering get to me. I still carry the good luck charms and bracelet Ms. Kaelin gave us in my AP Physics classes, remembering all the “friendly” competition in our labs and our senior year painted mural. All my love for calculus and math came from Mrs. Henderson’s classes, Calculus goodie boxes for our AP exams, Classcraft, and the silent game. On the other side, I also have immense love for Mrs. Ruiz and Ms. Horgan’s classes that helped me get lost in the “non-engineering” areas like literature and psychology. I still use Mrs. Ruiz’s “spidey senses” in every song, poem, literature, and movie I read, and Ms. Horgan’s amazing AP Psychology class inspired my minor in college!