Esther Foo  |  Extracurricular Activities

Why did you choose Purdue?

I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a country in south-east Asia famous for its vibrant culture. I chose Purdue because of its reputation of having one of the best engineering programs in the US. Another reason Purdue attracted me is because the schools back home are quite small; I wanted to experience campus life and therefore opted for a larger university. Although Purdue is a large institution, it still retained a 'homey’ feel, allowing me to feel very welcomed although being far away from home. As to why I chose BME, I wanted to pursue a major where I can make positive impact on people’s life; engineering satisfied that as there are so many opportunities being an engineer. I’m interested in both the engineering and medical field and BME allows me to apply engineering techniques to the medical field. Hopefully one day I can play a part in closing the gap between medicine and engineering and improve people’s lives.

Tell us about all your extracurricular activities.

I really enjoyed being a Weldon School ambassador. It certainly made me feel more connected with the program, as well as the people in it. Through the different events that I’ve attended, I’ve extended my network of friends by meeting many like-minded individuals. I also feel that it is a good way to give back to the program. The incoming class often requires guidance and advice on academic matters such as which classes to take, and by advising them based on my experiences as a student who has gone through the classes; I feel that I am contributing to the success of the program.

I am a peer mentor for a first year engineering seminar course and also an undergraduate teaching assistant for a first-year engineering class. I’m also an active member of the Purdue Latin and Ballroom Dance Team. Throughout the semester, I participate in competitions around the country, and I’ve been the USA National Collegiate Dancesport Champion for the past few years. I’m also the treasurer of MEDLIFE, Purdue Chapter, and this spring break, I volunteered in a mobile clinic in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. This experience has been a very eye-opening one as I found myself facing the harsh realities of heath care among the impoverished. I participate in various extra-curricular activities because I certainly do not believe in studying around the clock. I find that having other activities keeps my college life fun; studying far away from home is a very different experience for me, and I would like to make the best out of it during my time here. It is challenging to balance my schedule between classes and activities, but it is certainly worth it!

You help a faculty member with his research. What’s that like?

I’ve been working with Professor Robinson in the Purdue Flow Cytometry Laboratories since second semester sophomore year. I have employed different flow cytometry methods to conduct fully automated experiments in drug screening. My job also includes testing newly developed High Throughput Flow Cytometry screening software that will facilitate analysis of data sets obtained from flow cytometry experiments. I enjoy working in a lab as it is very different from learning in a classroom setting. I love hands-on experiences and working in a laboratory setting certainly provides me that. 

I’ve met many great faculty members here. What stands out about the BME faculty is that they are very passionate about their research areas and their doors are always open to you if you want a discussion on a particular topic. They genuinely care about the learning process of the students and are always more than happy to help. Dr. Robinson has been a great mentor throughout my time working in his lab. He is so passionate and friendly and I think that is an important trait in a professor because I certainly do not want to be afraid of talking to my professors!

I have made many great friends here. Because of the smaller class size that BME has, it has given me an opportunity to really get to know the people in my class. We spend a lot of time working together and helping one another with all the coursework. We find that we tend to inspire better ideas when working together. Without their help and guidance, college life would certainly be a lot harder!

What’s next for you?  

I’m very grateful to have an internship lined up for this summer. Being an international student, it was not the easiest task to obtain an internship here in the US, but I’m ever thankful to have the support of Jeremy [Hale] and Jana [Castellanos] who have patiently guided and encouraged me throughout the process. Of course, having friends that would give me the moral support also helped! I’ll be working with Hollister Inc. and I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot from the experience. I’m really looking forward to starting my internship!