Summer Institute Spurs Early Interest

Last summer Mollie Sewell, then a rising senior at The Early College at Guilford, knew little about engineering.  That was until she took part in the Summer Bioengineering Institute (BEI), a week-long commuter camp for local high school students.  The Bioengineering Institute is a partnership between the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials (NSF ERC-RMB) and the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative (PTEI). Located on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the Bioengineering Institute is a fun and engaging experience intended to introduce area students to the bioengineering department.  “I was able to interact with high school and college students who shared similar interests towards the subject,” said Sewell.

In previous years, students have enjoyed the week’s activities, particularly the chicken leg and pig heart dissections as their favorites.  When Sewell was asked about her most memorable part of the camp, she replied, “I particularly enjoyed learning about the possibilities bioengineering has towards benefiting mankind.  It helped me understand the importance of the field and inspired me to become a part of it.”  After the camp, Sewell knew she wanted to learn more about bioengineering.  What she learned convinced her that N.C. A&T was the right choice. Sewell will enroll as a freshman in the bioengineering program this fall.  She hopes to continue her education in medical school or a graduate program in bioengineering.

Sewell’s story has a familiar theme around the NSF ERC-RMB. Each year enrolling freshman indicate that participating in the Bioengineering Institute impacted their decision to enroll as a student in the College of Engineering.