Congratulations to SBME graduate, Coralie Tcheune, for receiving the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation. Coralie has a wide range of achievements from her time in SBME including being named a Premier Undergraduate and Wesbrook Scholar,  getting selected as a Cansbridge Fellow, serving on the SBME REDI Committee, and supporting UBC’s Biomedical Engineering Student Team (BEST) ENABLE subteam in organizing a Make-a-thon where over 60 students helped adapt toys for children with disabilities. We asked her to share some highlights from her journey at SBME.

Can you please share a couple highlights from your time as an undergraduate student in the School of Biomedical Engineering?

My time as Co-Captain of UBC BEST and Co-President of Biomedical Engineering Undergraduate Student Association (alongside Mona Pei) were some of my favourite experiences in BMEG. The undergraduate student body in SBME is incredibly dedicated to biomedical innovation, advocacy, and community building.

My favourite project was one I completed in a third-year design class, where my team designed and tested a low-cost, locally-sourced incubator for neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Uganda. Not only did I work with an amazing team—my favourite of all my group projects—but it was also the first time I truly felt like a Biomedical Engineer.

In the summer of 2022, I booked a plane ticket to Paris after securing an internship at a start-up called Sparkmate. Not only did I have the chance to explore a new continent, but I also developed skills in embedded systems, firmware, CAD modeling, and using machine shop tools. I am very proud to say that I’ve since helped two students secure summer internships there, aiding them in achieving their goal of working abroad at a very cool engineering consultancy company. I hope to connect more UBC students to the company each year.

What was the most fascinating project you got to be a part of or piece of knowledge that you learned in SBME?

Last summer, I interned as a research assistant in UBC’s Molecular Mechatronics Lab under the supervision of Dr. John Madden. My main focus was to fabricate soft, capacitive pressure sensors and integrate them into a robotic hand.

The ultimate goal was to enable the hand to mimic proprioception – your body’s ability to sense movement, action and location – and to differentiate between shear and normal forces exerted by various objects and autonomously adjust its grip to prevent dropping or crushing objects. My main role was to build a robotic arm entirely from scratch, engineered to faithfully replicate human movements.

You are quite involved in UBC and SBME student groups – how do you feel being a part of different student groups shaped your experience on campus?

My involvement in UBC and SBME student groups is one of the main reasons I have been able to excel not only as an engineer but also as a leader. Whether through design teams, student councils, or other initiatives, being part of a group of like-minded students provided me with the space to develop my core leadership and advocacy skills. I am forever grateful for these opportunities. My advice to students and non-students alike is to get involved in your community.

What do you find so exciting about biomedical engineering?

The truly exciting part about biomedical engineering is the ability to innovate at the intersection of technology and medicine. Biomedical Engineering pushes students to explore how engineering principles can be applied to diverse medical challenges, from improving surgical implants to innovating drug delivery systems.

What are your plans for the future or next steps?

I’ll be traveling to Italy over the summer with my mom and plan to finish up a novel I’ve been working on for a while. In the fall, I will be attending UBC Medical School and will apply to the MD/PhD program.