Senior Roslyn VanSickle has taken advantage of many of the unique opportunities Washington State University offers its students. We asked the bioengineering and mechanical engineering double major how these experiences helped her over the course of her academic career, and what advice she has for students to make the most of their time at WSU.
Taking part in an education abroad program can be an enriching part of a student’s academic experience. Students can choose to participate in a Washington State University International Program, or even design their own study abroad experience. Careful planning is a very important part of the studying abroad experience, and financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available.
Roslyn, where did you study abroad?
I studied abroad in Ireland. My grandma is from Ireland, so when I heard about the opportunity to go, I was really excited. It was fun to experience the culture and being immersed in it.
Studying abroad gave me a better appreciation of different cultures and their history and it has given me a desire to travel.
At Washington State University, research forms the cornerstone of the undergraduate experience. Faculty members nurture talented undergraduates, immersing them in the art and science of research, preparing them to launch studies of their own. Students learn how to gather data, develop hypotheses, and test and refine them—or reject them and start again when necessary.
When did you have your first research experience?
I had my first research experience during my sophomore year, where I researched bio-cement through the Developing Sustainable Communities club. I also did a summer research program in 2015, when I researched bone scaffolds at the North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University.
VanSickle participated in a summer undergraduate research project in North Carolina.
Researching in North Carolina was great. It was really awesome being somewhere different than on this side of the US and being around different people.
For anyone thinking of researching, I say, “Just do it!” There are research opportunities available to students beginning your freshman year. There’s also financial help available- When I researched in North Carolina, the program paid for my trip there, they paid for my stay, and they paid for my trip back; so there was no reason for me NOT to research.
Learn more about summer research opportunities.
Voiland College’s active club scene provides students with the chance to jump in and build their knowledge through real-world experience while participating in fun and challenging activities, including regional or national competitions, field trips, and social events. Voiland College has more than 30 clubs and organizations.
VanSickle has been involved with five different clubs: Society of Women Engineers, Biomedical Engineering Society, Developing Sustainable Communities, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute. VanSickle is currently the vice-president of Society of Women Engineers and secretary of the Biomedical Engineering Society.
Roslyn (back left) with the Society of Women Engineers Officers, 2016-2017.
Why did you get involved with the clubs?
I liked seeing what clubs offered students, and what skills I could gain from being involved.
You learn a lot when you’re in a club. I learned how to manage my time and how to prioritize so I could be more involved with the activities I was passionate about.
The Voiland College offers entrepreneurial experiences through the senior capstone projects, Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurial Institute and the Innovation Corps. The institute offers a unique opportunity to experience how innovation moves from idea to sustainable realization, and gives students the tools to pursue their ideas while working in interdisciplinary teams. Through WSU I-Corps, faculty, student and staff entrepreneurs transform their ideas into successful business products while meeting industry experts and potential customers.
What is the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurial Institute?
The Harold Frank Institute combines engineering and entrepreneurship with a year-and-a-half long program that starts during the middle of your junior year.
The Frank program combines engineering, communication and business students into an entrepreneurship course where we learn the details of creating a business and we go through the steps of doing so. The program required us to compete in WSU’s Business Plan Competition twice, once as a junior and again as a Senior Capstone Project.
My capstone project was the Strive Shoulder Sleeve. A team of bioengineers and I created a sleeve that will assist the shoulder prevent injury during the overhead throw.
Roslyn VanSickle (front row, fourth from left) with the Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship Institute at Google Headquarters.
What did you learn from these entrepreneurial experiences?
One of the main takeaways is to be persistent and to believe in what you’re doing, full heartedly. I also learned how to take constructive criticism and know when to apply it.
Internships provide students with an opportunity to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to real-world situations. Student interns benefit from industry knowledge and experience while exploring their chosen career path while, in some cases earning academic credit. Voiland College Internships and Career Services helps link qualified, interested students with employers to fill engineering positions.
Where have you interned?
My first internship experience was in the summer of 2016 at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) in Lewiston, Idaho where I supported their processing engineering team. My next internship was this past summer with Biomedical Innovations in Sandpoint, Idaho. I worked with their automation engineers where I did a lot of modeling and solid works. I learned how the company worked and I learned about some of their new products.
What were some of the challenges you faced during your internships?
The biggest challenge I had at SEL was my lack of experience in electronics. I went through a big learning curve but I was glad I was introduced to a different environment.
What did you learn from these internship experiences?
I learned that you have to ask questions. These opportunities are learning experiences and those around you want to teach you.
What’s next after graduation?
I want to do biomedical analysis and test engineering, something I haven’t been able to do yet. Ultimately, I want to work closely in developing wearable medical products and devices.