CENG Student Spotlight: Marissa VanDeVeer

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois

What made you choose engineering?

I chose biomedical engineering because I knew that I wanted to do something to help others. Since I have been interested in the medical field most of my life, biomedical engineering felt like the perfect option. I still remember the day that my high school math teacher told me that she thought engineering would be a good fit for me! Pursuing biomedical engineering has been a great way to combine my passions for both the medical field and innovation. I absolutely love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything different.

What is your favorite place in San Luis Obispo County and why?

I love going to the Pismo Beach Pier at sunrise. It is so peaceful getting to watch the sun rise over the town while hearing the ocean waves. Some of my friends and I have tried to start a weekly tradition of going before class once a week.

What was your earliest engineering project?

Honestly, I was not really exposed to engineering growing up until I got to Cal Poly. I was grateful to be a part of an engineering project my first quarter of college by joining a Quarterly Design Project through EMPOWER and getting some hands-on experience. We worked to make a device that allowed those with limited hand mobility to play video games.

Where do you like to hang out on campus?

I usually like to hang out on Dexter Lawn. There are always a variety of people doing what they enjoy and soaking up the warm weather! 

What are your hobbies?  

I spend a lot of my time in community with people at my church and have found a passion for spending time with kids, whether that be at church on Sunday or through babysitting. I also love doing ceramics, reading a good book and hanging out at the beach.

What has been your favorite class and why?

My favorite class at Cal Poly was BMED 422, where we learned about the process that every medical device has to go through to get on the market. This class was taught so well by Professor Kristen Cardinal, who was able to show her passion for the topic to all of us. Additionally, I was able to use what I learned from this class in the real world when I was working at my internship this summer. I know this is material that I will use for the rest of my career!

What do you think engineering’s biggest impact on the world will be in the future?   

I think that engineering will continue to impact the world in many different areas through innovation. In biomedical engineering specifically, I think that there is a large need for solutions to health issues that have not been solved yet and truly believe that through engineering, many lives can be saved!

Do you have a scholarship?  

Yes! I am so grateful to have received a LOOP (The Loyal Order of Propellerheads) scholarship while I was an undergraduate at Cal Poly. Through LOOP, I not only was able to receive financial assistance, but I had the opportunity to be in a community with inspiring leaders in engineering. I will forever be appreciative of the members who fund the LOOP scholarship, in addition to the other recipients that I have met and become close with over the years.