The Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering attracts bright innovators from across the globe to study at the intersection of healthcare and technology.
We had the opportunity to interview a current M.Eng. in surgery and intervention (ESI) student Daniela Hernandez about her experience in the ESI program and what ultimately led her to Vanderbilt.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Your name, age, background, and undergraduate degree.
My name is Daniela Hernandez, and I am a 23-year-old graduate student from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. I completed my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics at Trevecca Nazarene University in 2021 and decided to pursue my master of engineering right after graduating college.
What initially attracted you to the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering?
Having the opportunity to interact directly with physicians and engineers at a well-known research hospital was the main thing that captivated my attention. After researching various programs, I realized what Vanderbilt offered in terms of coursework, research opportunities and collaboration was something completely unique and the right fit for me.
What other master’s degrees were you considering besides the M.Eng. in Surgery and Intervention? What ultimately led you to select the ESI program?
I was also considering pursuing an M.S. in medical physics. I decided to choose Vanderbilt because the program offered hands-on experience, the freedom to pick coursework that was directly related to my interests and the opportunity to remain in Nashville after graduating college.
What has been the most insightful takeaway you have gained from the ESI program thus far?
Learning the steps of creating a biomedical device as well as all the commercialization, funding, research and design aspects that involve it.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the ESI program?
The transition from undergraduate coursework to graduate school coursework. As an EE/Physics undergraduate student it was challenging to learn how to shift my knowledge in engineering toward the medical field.
How do you hope to employ your M.Eng. in Surgery and Intervention in the field? What career do you hope to obtain following graduation?
I would love to pursue a career in research and development for biomedical devices upon graduation. I have enjoyed all the aspects of engineering design as well as working with machine learning-based systems during my time at Vanderbilt.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering the ESI program?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand something and take advantage of all the resources VISE has to offer. Your time at Vanderbilt will go by really fast and you should take advantage of all the cool opportunities that are provided at VISE.
Lastly, please tell us about one faculty member who has inspired and positively influenced your experience.
During my last semester, I had the honor of being a student in Dr. Justin Baba’s class. His passion for teaching and genuine interest in students’ success and well-being is something that inspired me tremendously. He’s always willing to go above and beyond for his students and more than a teacher he is a mentor. If I were ever to pursue academia in the future, he would be the professor I would strive to become.
Help form the new age of medicine by earning your Master of Engineering in Surgery and Intervention
The M.Eng. in surgery and intervention at Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering is uniquely crafted to train students, like Daniela, in developing novel, technology-based solutions that will shape the future of healthcare.
Intrigued by the idea of advancing medicine through the marvels of technology? Learn more about how scholars at Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering are pioneering the future of medicine in technology in our resource: The Future of Healthcare Technology: Robotic Interventions, Technology-Guided Therapy, and Surgical Data Science.
Interested in studying cutting-edge advancements under world-class scholars in the ESI program? Request more information to get in touch with a member of our graduate admissions team. You can also explore our curriculum or begin your application today!