DETROIT — Nigil Valikodath hopes to enroll in medical school and eventually become an orthopedic surgeon. Valikodath, a member of the first undergraduate biomedical engineering class at the Wayne State University College of Engineering, is already well on his way to achieving his dream.

Valikodath says that in the year and a half he has been enrolled in the program, he has not only formed close bonds with the 17 other students in his class, but has had experiences most undergraduate students do not.

During their first year, the BME students designed a device that would allow a diabetic patient with the use of only one arm to test his blood sugar independently. This device was developed at the request of an actual client who approached the BME department for assistance. In addition, Valikodath’s team was one of six selected to present their designs at the Undergraduate Design Project Competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers 2011 Summer Bioengineering Conference.

“We were up against senior capstone projects and, as first-year students, we placed fourth,” Valikodath said.

This year the BME students will redesign a prosthetic leg for bilateral, below-the-knee amputees, a project that holds special appeal to an aspiring orthopedic surgeon like Valikodath. He hopes the experience will help gain him acceptance to medical school. No matter what Valikodath’s future holds, he is positive his engineering education will serve him well.

“The undergraduate BME program is a state-of-the-art program that has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have even imagined as an undergraduate,” Valikodath said. “I’m confident that, wherever I end up, I’ll be well prepared for whatever challenges I face.”

In addition to his studies, Valikodath works as a student assistant in the WSU Bioengineering Lab, is secretary of the Engineering Student Faculty Board, plays bass drum in the Wayne State marching band, and is involved in the Wayne State chapters of Circle K, the American Medical Student Association, the Honors Student Association and the Biomedical Engineering Society.


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