Recipient of the 2017-2018 Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Stephany Santos: Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering

Stephany Santos: Ph.D. Candidate, Biomedical Engineering, Recipient of the 2017-2018 Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Stephany Santos, currently a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering, is a recent recipient of the 2017 Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Ms. Santos’ research focuses on experimental characterization of cartilage tissues while working in the Interdisciplinary Mechanics Lab under the supervision of Prof. David M. Pierce, and while serving as an advisor for UConn’s Engineering Ambassadors program.

Her work in cartilage biomechanics will provide insight on the initiation and propagation of microscale damage that may lead to pre-clinical osteoarthritis. The Ford Fellowship recognizes both her research in cartilage biomechanics and her work in engineering education, communication, and mentorship. Her work in engineering education includes quantifying the impact of interaction with female undergraduate research assistants on K-12 students during educational outreach activities designed to engage and educate them on multiscale biomechanics. She has also developed curricula on public speaking and technical communication for the Engineering Ambassadors to aid the holistic development of students as thoughtful, productive members of our diverse societal fabric.

After earning her Ph.D., Ms. Santos plans to continue combining biomedical engineering and education in ways often overlooked by researchers and academia. As an educator, she hopes to incorporate diversity in the classroom and inspire students to understand how they learn, to contextualize their engineering knowledge, and ultimately to thrive regardless of their background. She plans to develop biomedical engineering coursework that better connects individual learning styles and tendencies to support, enlighten, and empower undergraduate students.