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Are there any places that I can volunteer at that are related to biomedical engineering?

I am almost 15 years old and I'm interested in biomed. I'm looking for opportunities in the Houston area #biomed #biomedical-engineering


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Kara’s Answer

Great question! Even if there are not explicit "biomedical engineering" volunteer opportunities near where you live, a great way to gain related experience would be to volunteer at a local hospital or medical office. This way, you can start to learn about the pain-points in patient care and gain an understanding of how biomedical devices can be used to solve those problems. Many hospitals accept high school volunteers, though this is likely on pause until the hospitals are fully able to handle the current covid-19 outbreak.

Here are a few links of volunteer programs local to Houston:
https://www.houstonmethodist.org/giving/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities/texas-medical-center/caring-teens/
https://www.chistlukeshealth.org/give/volunteering
http://www.memorialhermann.org/locations/texas-medical-center/summer-teen-volunteer-program/

Thank you so much! I really appreciate that you included links too! Emilie T.

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Christina’s Answer

Hi Emilie,

It's great that you're thinking about volunteering opportunities and getting out there to gain some experience! Hospitals and health clinics are great ways to get exposure to healthcare in general, which is a big part of getting experience in biomedical engineering. Houston is home to many world-renowned hospitals and I'm sure they would be receptive to your willingness to volunteer. Houston is also a great city for medical device companies. I would do some research online to understand which companies are located near you and understand what their products are. Once you find some that interest you, I would send an e-mail on the website describing who you are and what you're interested in learning or helping with.

Good luck!

Thank you for answering! I definitely will check out many of the hospitals' websites to see what they offer. Emilie T.

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Kari’s Answer

Hi Emilie!

Very exciting that you have some ideas on what kind of career might interest you! I did not know at your age, and I happened upon Biomedical Engineering as a major in my senior year of college. Volunteering at a hospital is a great way to get a view into the health care industry in general, but don't let that be the complete picture. The job opportunities for a biomedical engineer can vary widely - both in industry (i.e. hospital, medical device company, pharmaceutical company, etc.) and in type of role (sales, clinical research, design engineering and project management).

I would also recommend trying to find some visibility into the medical device industry. Perhaps you can send a letter to some local companies and ask if anyone might be able to meet with you or let you shadow for a few hours to see what it is they actually do for work. It looks like Stryker may have a facility in that area? I know there are other companies in San Antonio and Austin if you are willing to make a drive.

Another great avenue is to get involved with SWE - Society for Women Engineers. They do a lot of outreach programs with youth in high school. https://swe.org/k-12-outreach/youth-programs/

Good luck in your search! Be bold about asking! I've never turned down anybody who asked if they can shadow me for a day :)

Kari


Thank you so much for answering! I definitely will check out SWE! Emilie T.

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Emily’s Answer

I agree that volunteering at a local hospital or clinic. Once you complete the general volunteering basics, you may be able to ask more about the volunteering options in your specific interests. You may also ask local colleges, universities, and community colleges if they need volunteers with their courses, researching, perhaps even in their robotics labs, or engineering labs. It may not be glamorous volunteering work (think cleaning cages for animal models) but you will interact with people in the field that you're interested in.

Emily recommends the following next steps:

Search for volunteering opportunities at local hospitals
Search for volunteering opportunites at local schools
Search for volunteering opportunities at local laboratories, in the field of your interest, and similar fields. For example, bioengineering labs could also include robotics, mechanics, psychology, etc.

Thank you so much for replying! I will definitely consider taking the steps you recommended. Emilie T.

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