Dr. Mueller is a great mentor; she gives us the freedom to lead our projects depending on our interests and professional goals.

Fischell Department of Bioengineering Senior Maya Budzinski, a generational Terp, always knew she wanted to study engineering at the University of Maryland. "I liked the hands-on nature of UMD's engineering program and the undergraduate research opportunities," she said. "When I learned about what an engineer was in elementary school, I knew that was a career I wanted to work towards." 

Budzinski is interested in medical devices. "I enjoy the mechanical aspects of building devices and applying a bioengineering perspective to it," she said. "You have to think about how it will interact with the drug it delivers or the tissue implanted in, which combines much of what we've learned in bioengineering." 

Budzinski noted how bioengineering is exciting to her because it evolves so quickly. She also stated that it is such a broad field that spans many disciplines, and to her, it's the perfect mix of mechanical, electrical, and chemical aspects. The job she will have in ten years will probably be based on something that has yet to be discovered.

Budzinski is working in BIOE Assistant Professor Jenna Mueller's Global Biomedical Devices Laboratory and stated it had been one of the best parts of her undergraduate experience. It has opened her eyes to global health engineering and her motivation to make healthcare more accessible. Their lab focuses on creating accessible diagnostic and treatment methods for cervical cancer prevention in low-middle-income countries. 

"I have been in the lab for two years since it was composed of just three undergrads, including myself. I have worked on the treatment side of the project optimizing injection parameters for ethanol ablation, and now have transitioned to working on a flexible tip for our low-cost laparoscope," she said. "Dr. Mueller is a great mentor; she gives us the freedom to lead our projects depending on our interests and professional goals."

After graduation, Budzinski hopes to work in the industry as a device engineer for medical devices or combination products to gain more experience in device design and development. Her dream is to work in global health engineering or eventually be a part of a women's health company that researches topics currently neglected by the healthcare system.

“Maya was one of the first undergraduate students to join my lab. She has worked on multiple projects over the past several years and has contributed substantially to the optimization of gel ethanol ablation, which has led to co-authorship on a manuscript we are planning to submit this semester,” Mueller said.  “I will miss her when she graduates! I know she will make significant contributions to the fields of bioengineering and global health and has an exceptional career ahead of her.”

Budzinski's advice for students interested in bioengineering would be to find an experience related to their career goal as soon as possible during undergrad. "Joining the Mueller lab gave me a space to apply what I was learning to a real-world project that I was interested in," she said. "This helped me to contextualize my classes and motivate me to continue working towards my career after graduation."