By Abe Danaher | April 14, 2020
Every year, outstanding seniors in the UofSC College of Engineering and Computing are recognized by the college’s faculty and the South Carolina Society of Professional Engineers. The award recipients are selected based on their academic excellence, undergraduate research participation and active involvement in the college or university community.
We sat down with the biomedical engineering program’s outstanding senior, Jonathan Gray, to talk about his time in the CEC and his plans for the future.
1) I’d love if you could start off by giving me an overview of your time at USC. What have you been involved with in your four years at the university?
I spent a lot of time studying the first couple of years, working out at a gym and playing tennis. I eventually got involved in recreational tennis and have been for the past couple of years or so, when time permits. I began doing research with Dr. Chang Liu in the fall semester of my Junior year and continued this throughout the following summer where I developed a code to analyze the data our lab was generating. In addition, I started a lab tech position in the biomedical engineering laboratories. Alongside this job, I was able to work with developing the new biomedical engineering labs for junior students and served as a TA.
2) Has there been one experience in particular that has significantly impacted you?
Looking back, the whole summer of my Junior year was make it or break it. I ventured into uncharted territory with trying to write code for the lab. Additionally, getting the job as a lab technician opened new doors with developing labs and TAing. This summer was huge for my involvement in the major. On top of this, I was working at a gym to make extra money.
3) When you look back on your time at the CEC, what has been your favorite moment in the college?
This may not be my favorite memory, but it is a fun one. Every night before exams, there would be 10+ people from our BMEN 321 class studying in Catawba. A lot of them would be there all night before taking the exam at 8:30 a.m. It was an interesting bonding experience.
4) What advice would you give to an incoming biomedical engineering freshman?
Biomed Engineering isn’t for everyone. You’ll have to discover for yourself if you have the desire to stick with it. If you can hang in there, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences, even if it doesn’t seem so at the time.
5) Has there been one faculty member that has significantly impacted you in your time here? If so, how did they impact you?
I’ve developed positive relationships with many of the faculty members and truly believe we have some of the best faculty, hands-down, of any educational institution. If I had to choose one person who has significantly influenced me, it would be Dr. Mark Uline. He’s a gigantic nerd and it’s amazing. He’s very enthusiastic about thermodynamics, quantum physics, and really any science topic. Additionally, he has good taste in movies and a great sense of humor. Through conversations with him and auditing his advanced thermo class, I was motivated to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. And I must also say that I am thankful for the opportunity given to me by Dr. Liu to work in the lab under his guidance. I learned much from him that I will take with me into the job market.
6) Following graduation, how do you plan to use what you learned here at the CEC going forward into the future?
Following graduation, I plan to work in industry or research for a year before going back for a Ph.D. in chemical engineering. From a technical perspective, my time in the CEC has changed the way I look at problems and taught me how to think about problems from all angles, not simply memorize answers. From another perspective, I enjoy the struggle and the satisfaction that comes with finding solutions.
7) What does it mean to you to be awarded the biomedical engineering program’s Outstanding Senior Award?
It is an honor to be awarded Outstanding Senior. It means my work throughout college has been recognized by my professors, all of whom I look up to.