Biomedical Engineering, Edward M. Nagel Scholarship in Biomedical Engineering

Marisa CoeneI am incredibly grateful for the scholarship I received, and I am committed to succeed and do well. Scholarships are invaluable to a student’s success in his or her academic career. Easing financial burdens can allow students to participate more fully in research, leadership opportunities, volunteer work, and other student organizations, allowing them to focus on their dreams instead of working a second or third part-time job.

Since I have always had an “engineer’s mind” and a fascination for how the human body works, I am pursuing both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. I want to create medical devices that enable and empower people by increasing functionality, self-sufficiency, and quality of life. I went into this field with the intention of being able to change someone’s life, even if it is only one person.

I am in the Honors Program and the Biomedical Engineering Society, I am the treasurer for Tau Beta Pi, and I volunteer with the Northwest DC Pregnancy Center. This summer, I will be leading a Catholic University mission trip to New Mexico.

When deciding where to go to college, I was accepted to a school I had always believed to be my top choice. But I came to visit here and was able to get a feel for the Catholic University community, visit several engineering classes, and experience the campus culture. This visit gave me a clear understanding of what being a student here would be like. I prayed about it a lot and I had so much peace with the decision. Now, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. Without the academic scholarship I received, I’m not sure it would have been possible for me to come here.

While I could eventually specialize in any number of areas, I am currently interested in neural tissue engineering and neuroscience, with a particular interest in neurodegenerative diseases. I have always been interested in medicine but I didn’t want to be a doctor. I come from a family of engineers, and I like working with my hands and solving problems. Success, to me, is not about money. Frederick Buechner said that “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need.” I really believe that.

In the future, I would love to be a guest at the Catholic University engineering seminars and talk with future Catholic University students. I hope to be financially able to contribute to expanding the engineering laboratory facilities here for future students and professors who are doing incredible research. I hope I can “pay it forward” and someday be the catalyst for a future engineering student’s success.

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