Meet Rohan Chawla! Rohan is a 4th-year Bioengineering major and one of the current academic chairs of the 2022-2023 school year!
How have you been involved with BMES?
I’ve been a member of BMES since freshman year, and I’ve been involved in a lot of ways! I was a member of Build Team my first year and Design Team the next year. I was also a Committee Member in my second year, as part of the Community Outreach Committee. I was then Community Outreach Chair last year, and now I’m one of the Academic Chairs!
What are your primary responsibilities as academic chair this year?
As an academic chair, my main goal is to connect undergrads with the resources they need to succeed, both as students and future professionals. This mainly involves hosting workshops and panels for students to ask questions and speak to experts in areas like resume development and class planning. I am also in charge of maintaining our club’s alumni network, and oversee our club’s alumni mentorship program.
Favorite BMES memory?
Hmm, this is pretty hard, but I would probably have to say BMES Bake-Off last year. It was super fun to not only make super yummy deserts but also eat everyone else’s food and hear all the commentary from the MCs. One of the best events of the year, and I highly recommend all members go!
One class that you enjoyed and would recommend?
I used to say BE 175, but now that it’s required, I guess everyone has to take it and it doesn’t count. I personally really liked learning about how really complex biological data can be analyzed and all the different inferences it is possible to make, as well as Dr. Meyer’s teaching style. Outside of that class, the other BE class I really enjoyed was BE C147: Applied Tissue Engineering. The class is super interesting, and you get to learn about the industrial applications of tissue engineering and all the cool products out there that use actual cells and tissues to treat people. Dr. Tawil is also such a great guy, and there are so many cool guest speakers! Outside of BE, I would definitely recommend taking Ling 1, which I thought was super cool and taught me a lot about how languages and words work.
If you have had a research or internship experience, what was the most valuable aspect of the experience for you?
I’ve done both research and an internship! I’ve been a member of Dr. Kamei’s lab since my freshman year and I was a Digital Sciences Intern at Genentech last summer. In terms of research, I would probably say that the most valuable part of my experience was learning how to tackle open-ended problems with basically no prior experience in that area. So much of research is learning things on the fly, and systematically attacking problems that you usually have never dealt with before. But, it is definitely super rewarding, and it can be so fun to see the tangible impacts of all the concepts you learn in your classes. For my internship, I thought it was super cool to learn more about the industrial applications of our degree, and how pharmaceutical companies actually work. There are so many different steps involved in discovering, testing and manufacturing a drug, and it’s so rewarding to be able to have a hand in that process. It was also super informative to learn about all the different roles outside of bioengineering that exist in biotech, and how different technologies are involved in improving current standards of practice.
If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
Hmm, another hard question. I would honestly love to be super good at surfing. Even though I went to high school in SoCal, I’ve never learned how. And I feel like it seems so fun + you look super cool :)