Mia-Marie '24

Mia-Marie '24 photo
College of Engineering & Computer Science

Major/Minor: Biomedical Engineering

Describe your Syracuse experience in a couple of sentences.
From the moment I stepped foot on this campus, I have curated some of the most memorable years of my life. The opportunities of finding genuine mentors, making lifelong friends, being in rigorously captivating classes, being extremely involved, and enjoying the overall college experience here at Syracuse University was infinite and unforgettable.

How is ECS preparing you for your future career?
The College of Engineering and Computer Science has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in preparing me for my future career, and its impact goes beyond mere academic knowledge. It has been a place of growth, challenges, and countless transformative experiences that have shaped me into the professional I am today. Within the walls of Link Hall, I embarked on a journey of intellectual discovery delving into a comprehensive curriculum that not only imparted theoretical knowledge but also sparked my passion for innovation and problem-solving in the medical device industry. I honed technical skills and developed a deep understanding of complex subjects that will serve as the bedrock of my career. Yet, it wasn't just about equations, physics, or lines of code. It was about cultivating a mindset—an unwavering determination to overcome obstacles and find creative solutions.

One of our projects involved creating a device, in collaboration with Engineering World Health, to aid critical medical needs. My team invented a portable breast cancer detection device to be affordably used by women in developing countries without access to adequate healthcare. From prototyping multiple designs to conducting feasibility tests it was a bumpy road at times. But with the support from this college’s esteemed professors and SOURCE, we have received invaluable assistance and more than $6,000 in grants to make this device a reality. We were challenged to think critically, to dissect complex problems into manageable pieces, to persevere even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges, and to make a positive impact as engineers. It instilled a tenacity and resilience that will propel me forward in all future endeavors.

Beyond the classrooms and lecture halls, the college fostered an environment of inclusivity and camaraderie. As a Black and Puerto Rican woman, I feared that in occupying any engineering space I would often face being underrepresented. But to the warmest surprise, ECS welcomed me with open arms and made sure I felt seen and heard through the Office of Inclusive Excellence. Adding to the value of human connection, the friendships I forged during group projects and late-night study sessions became bonds that transcended academic pursuits. I have learned the value of teamwork, the art of effective communication, and the beauty of diverse perspectives coming together to achieve a common goal. These interpersonal skills have empowered me to thrive in professional settings.

Above all, the College of Engineering and Computer Science became more than a college—it became a second home, filled with mentors, advisors, and professors who believed in my potential. Their guidance, encouragement, and unwavering support fueled my aspirations and nurtured my growth. They saw not just a student, but a future leader, an innovator, and a change-maker. The college became a sanctuary where dreams took flight and possibilities knew no bounds.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, my plan is to pursue a full-time career as an R&D or Manufacturing Engineer in the medical device industry and get a master’s degree in Product Management. In the spring semester of my freshman year, my father had a sudden seizure in his sleep and needed to have immediate brain surgery when they found a malignant tumor in his frontal lobe. Post-surgery, I walked into the recovery room and realized that every machine they were using from transporting him in and out of the surgical room, monitoring his heart rate, to using a scalpel to access his anatomy during surgery was all built by an engineer. Those machines and surgical tools saved my dad’s life and I want to give the same gift to other families that they gave ours. After I walk across that graduation stage, I plan to make a meaningful difference in the world through innovative healthcare. Holding tight to my dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to ethical engineering practices, I plan to push boundaries and always think beyond convention. Knowing that my efforts will play a role in improving the lives of patients, restoring hope, and enabling individuals to live healthier, happier lives is all I could ask for.

How has your involvement with any organizations/extracurriculars impacted you?
Being involved in clubs and extracurricular activities at Syracuse made me a more well-rounded and present human being in multiple environments. Those experiences became a key part of my collegiate journey, leaving an indelible mark on my character, and inspiring me to lead a life dedicated to making an affirmative difference in the world. Many of the organizations I worked with had a passion and mission for giving back to our community. With my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, we worked with an agency called We Rise Above the Streets to provide food and clothing to homeless people in downtown Syracuse. I was also an Orientation Leader for two years welcoming new students to campus with the hopes to calm those initial nerves and get them excited to join the Orange family. These activities allowed me to exercise empathy and compassion, giving me a deeper understanding of others' experiences, challenges, and triumphs. I have also had opportunities for personal and interpersonal growth. As President of the Society of Women Engineers chapter, I learned to navigate challenges, adapt, make decisions, and take responsibility for the well-being of others. I worked with my team to fully fund taking 10 members to their first SWE regional conference. I also hosted a panel focusing on prioritizing mental health as a woman in STEM with a great student and faculty turnout. I became a better listener, a more effective communicator, and a skilled moderator.

I have especially appreciated this community of students, faculty, and staff who prioritize diversifying this campus. Being Black and Latina, the initial feelings of imposter syndrome ran deep. I feared that in leaving my culture-rich home of South Florida I would not find a safe space representative of diverse ethnicities and identities. I was proven wrong. At Syracuse, I found communities of people who were passionate about putting resources in place for students to feel that sense of belonging. In collaboration with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, I had the pleasure of helping design “119 Euclid,” the first building in Syracuse history dedicated to uplifting the Black experience and incorporating Pan-African artwork and décor. There is always space for growth in making a college campus diverse and inclusive, but knowing we have individuals in this university who make it their life’s work is so comforting. Each endeavor I was in pushed me to confront my fears, embrace uncertainty and discover my hidden potential. This fostered self-belief, confidence, and a mindset of continuous growth that will last me a lifetime.

Are you the recipient of any scholarships?
Yes! I am a Remembrance Scholar, POSSE Scholar, Our Time Has Come Scholar and
WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) Fellow.

Have you performed any internships and how has that impacted you?
Yes, I had two back-to-back internships at a company called Edwards Lifesciences. They make innovative solutions for people fighting cardiovascular disease, such as artificial heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring. I was a Project Management intern in the summer of my sophomore year and an Engineering Intern over the summer of 2023. Both experiences gave me the best exposure to what working in the industry is like and I loved it. I got insight into a product’s life cycle from the initial blueprint of a device to when it hits the manufacturing line. Having ownership of my own projects and helping manage teams all shaped the way I see my future career and identify my strengths in multiple technical areas.

What has been your favorite Syracuse experience so far?
There are too many to count but my favorite Syracuse experience so far would have to be the day I found out I was selected to be a College Marshall for ECS. I remember waking up with this uneasiness knowing the decision day was here. In the thick of the snow, I was walking out of my last class and nervously checked my email every 5 seconds. Finally, at 3:16 p.m., I was by Hendricks Chapel and I saw the email, “Dear Mia-Marie…you have been selected as a College Marshall for the Class of 2024.” I stopped and did a little happy dance! At that moment, everything came full circle. Investing my mind, heart, and soul in every club, person, and program I was in at Syracuse University got recognized and I was deeply grateful to be a representative for my college. Since the time I was a little girl, my mom would always tell me “el mundo es mio,” the world is mine, meaning that I am the master of my fate and will be successful in anything I put my mind to. I was set on making a positive impact on this campus and did exactly that, but it was only possible because of the strong Orange army supporting me every single step of the way.

Why do you think giving is important?
Giving is important because it is a fundamental expression of our humanity. It reflects our capacity for empathy, compassion, and generosity towards others. When we give, whether it's our time, resources, or support, we contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities. It allows us to make a positive impact, no matter how small, and contribute to the greater good. We never know the financial hardships of those walking right beside us. Lending that extra hand can make all the difference. Moreover, giving has a transformative effect on our own well-being. It brings joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose. It reminds us of our interconnectedness and the shared responsibility we have towards each other. Ultimately, giving not only benefits those on the receiving end but also enriches our own lives, nurturing our own sense of compassion and gratitude.

What does it mean to you to be Orange?
Being Orange means making every decision and action with compassion, knowing that we are more powerful together, and understanding that as one who bleeds Orange, we embody excellence in its finest definition.

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