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Q&A with Professor Emeritus Art Johnson

Art JohnsonWhat impact could your work have on society or consumers?

Our work ranges from theoretical physiological modeling to very empirical experimentation. I'm not sure that I can point to any one person and say that that person is alive and well because of what we have done, but I;m hoping that in the future that will be true.

What attracted you to the Clark School?

I am proud to call myself an engineer. Engineering is the profession that solves important problems facing humankind. At the same time, it is a creative endeavor. Engineering is the one profession in which a person is judged, not by who you know, but by what you do and how well you do it. So, I'm in the Clark school because that's where the engineers are.

Why should young engineers consider bioengineering for their field of study?

There are great opportunities in bioengineering. The field is exciting and new. Biology, combined with the creative problem-solving of engineering, is great. It has some of everything.

How does the interdisciplinary nature of our program impact or improve our students' abilities in the lab?

Engineering methods can be used to solve certain kinds of problems. Biologists have other ways to solve problems involving living things. Combining the two makes a very capable person.

What kinds of roles or careers are our students prepared for?

Learning how engineering and biology interact is a very powerful combination that opens many doors. Some students go on to medical, dental, veterinary, or even law school. Some go into environmental consulting. Some deal with public health. Some work for insurance companies. Some can be high school science teachers or college professors. Many go to graduate school and become researchers, while others work in hospitals as clinical engineers. Some design medical instruments, and still others work in the food industry.

One thing is clear: Outsourcing of technical jobs will continue to expand in the future. Those who are prepared now for the challenges of the future will be those who have a broad-enough education that they can either: 1) manage outsourced projects, or 2) apply them locally. Our bioengineering curriculum is designed to last an entire professional lifetime.

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