A tireless advocate for women in engineering and STEM careers during her time at UConn, Courtney Luker is ready to enter the medical device field – with a special interest in women’s health – when she graduates with a degree in biomedical engineering this spring.
Why did you choose UConn?
I’m from a big town in Connecticut, and growing up, it seemed like everyone went to UConn. Admittedly, I was hesitant to be so close to home, but both of my older sisters went to UConn and had such great experiences that they really made me want to come here.
When I started to realize that I wanted to major in Biomedical Engineering, UConn seemed like a no-brainer. Between the classes, the activities, and the school spirit, I am so glad that I chose a school that makes it so hard to leave.
What’s your major and why did you choose it?
I chose to major in Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biosystems, Imaging, and Instrumentation. What drew me to engineering was the mix of creativity and design with science and math. I loved the idea of creating something new to solve a problem.
What made me focus on Biomedical Engineering, in particular, was the possible career opportunities. It was amazing to me that, as a Biomedical Engineer, I could go into tissue engineering, prosthetics, or surgical instrumentation – the possibilities are endless. Biomedical Engineering allows me to combine my technical math and science skills to help extend and save lives, which I think is truly amazing.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will be joining Medtronic in the Surgical Innovations department! I will be starting a two-year rotation program as an R&D engineer, with my first rotation in North Haven, CT. I have a lot of interests within the medical device field ranging from working in a hospital directly with physicians to exploring the growing world of surgical robotics. I am also very interested in medical device applications for women’s health.
What activities were you involved with as a student?
For the past four years, I have been heavily involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). I have been a member of SWE since my freshman year, holding three different positions throughout my college career. I ultimately culminated my time at UConn as SWE President. I chose to dedicate my time to SWE in hopes of inspiring the next generation of women engineers.
It is so important to me to inspire young girls to pursue STEM. This is why I volunteer at events like Multiply Your Options (MYO), which help to provide hands-on science demonstrations for local middle-school girls. I truly want everyone to believe that they can be an engineer!
I have also been a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a sorority at UConn, since my freshman year. Through this organization, I was also able to be a mentor for STEM students and volunteer through local community outreach. In Kappa Alpha Theta, I held committee positions to help organize and execute our philanthropy events, which raise money for CASA in New Haven, CT. Additionally, I participated every year in HuskyTHON as a dancer for Kappa Alpha Theta’s team. Both the SWE and sorority communities truly supported me throughout my years at UConn and have given me my best friends.
Any advice for incoming first-year students?
It’s important to work hard, but remember to take time for yourself. Take the time to create new relationships and have fun! College is all about balance. Also, try the grilled cheese at South, it’s the best.
What’s one thing every student should do during their time at UConn?
If you are at all curious about studying abroad, do it! I studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Australia during my sophomore year, which was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make sure to work with your advisor early on to figure out a plan, because it is definitely worth it.