Our Teachers

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BioIgnite teachers are young scientists and engineers who have expert knowledge in the research and technologies being taught in our camps. They have developed hands-on activities to engage students in each topic, and they bring unique expertise and enthusiasm to make the camp a fun learning experience for students. Our teachers are truly the best and help to make BioIgnite a unique and memorable experience for our students.

Instructor Spotlights

Saumya Gurbani, Biomedical Imaging Instructor

Hometown: Fullerton, Ca

Education: B.S & M.S.E in Biomedical Engineering

Johns Hopkins University

MD/PhD in Biomedical Engineering

Emory University Georgia Tech

Research: Use of MRI to study growth of brain cancer

Q: Were you always interested in STEM at a young age?

A: In high school, I wasn’t sure if science was the career for me. I explored other interests like drama, business, and ROTC, but found out I really loved science after taking physics and computer science classes.

Q:  When did you first hear about BioEngineering?

A:  Not until college. I took a few classes that introduced me to it, and I really liked the idea of bioengineering. You can develop a better medical device or algorithm that can be quickly implemented, which I thought encapsulated the spirit of engineering- where you aren’t necessarily looking for new knowledge but trying to make a change in the world.

Q:  What was your experience like working with BioIgnite?

A:  I really enjoyed it. It was an awesome time getting to meet these kids and see how excited they were. Which you don’t always see with college aged students. It was just such genuine interest and curiosity that was really fun to teach.

Q:  What advice do you have for young students who are just now getting into STEM?

A:  Keep trying new things and explore opportunities that come up. In high school a great way to do this is to try out the different science and engineering clubs. By trying a lot of different things you will eventually decide what is most exciting for you and help you decide what you want to do when you’re older.

Katie Young, Cancer Research Instructor and Curriculum Developer

Hometown: Austin, TX

Education: B.S in Biomedical Engineering

University of Texas at Austin

3rd year PhD Student in Biomedical Engineering

Emory University & Georgia Tech

Research: Mechanics of how single cancer cells grow and spread.

Q: Were you always interested in STEM at a young age?

A: In early elementary school, I was really interested in the arts and humanities – music, reading, writing, and teaching.  In third grade, I had a math teacher that really made the topic interesting and exciting.  That was when I recognized my own skills and love for math and science.

Q:  When did you first hear about BioEngineering?

A: Throughout high school I had a love for engineering but also an interest in medicine. My senior year of high school, I went on the University of Texas’s website before applying to college and saw “Biomedical Engineering”. Once I looked into what it was, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life!

Q: What has been your favorite part about working with BioIgnite?

A: I have always had a love for teaching. I also like that we focus on the middle school age range. It is a really important time where students are making decisions about who they are and what they want to do with their lives. We get to introduce the students to STEM and let them know this could be a career path they could be a part of!

Q:  You have taught many classes, participated in many outreach activities, and even co-developed our Cancer Research module for BioIgnite. What has been your favorite?

A: I have really enjoyed being able to develop curriculum. I worked with Lauren Sestito all last year on the Cancer Research module and we had a great time working together, getting to test it out and make the necessary changes, and then getting to teach it together during the summer camp. It was really cool to see the students enjoying the curriculum we developed. Mutation Bingo has been a hit!

Q:  What advice do you have for young students who are just now getting into STEM?

A: I want to encourage students to remain self-motivated learners. If there is something that interests you, be curious, go and learn more about it. Whether you want to learn more about cardiovascular engineering or black holes, look it up on the internet, read a science article, or go to the library to find out more! I encourage curiosity!


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