In the future, I hope to revolutionize medicine as a physician-scientist by applying an engineering-oriented approach to problem solving in the fields of clinical diagnostics and therapeutics.
Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) senior Vaani Shah is an undergraduate teaching assistant and an undergraduate researcher in Steven Jay's Biotherapeutic Development and Delivery Laboratory. Vaani elected to declare a bioengineering major in Fall 2017 because of her interests in medicine and innovation. “I had always been interested in clinical research and was attracted to the large role biotechnology and engineering play in medical practice,” she explains."In the future, I hope to revolutionize medicine as a physician-scientist by applying an engineering-oriented approach to problem solving in the fields of clinical diagnostics and therapeutics," she explains.
In Spring 2020, Vaani was honored with the BIOE Extraordinary Service Award for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She organized a clothing drive in the Villages of Urbana to collect new and lightly used T-shirts for mask making. She donated over 250 masks to Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham, MD, a hospital receiving a large inflow of patients from Prince George’s County.
Pre-pandemic, Vaani was volunteering at her local Department of Community Health (DCH) - and when COVID-19 struck, in-person volunteer work was suspended. “The nature of my service changed drastically when in-person volunteering was suspended,” she says. “ When informed of the need for PPE by my volunteer coordinator, I thought making cloth masks would be an easy and effective way to help my community. Since then, I have worked to make and deliver masks to the DCH Emergency Department. These masks are provided to employees, visitors, and patients that present to the Emergency Department without protective facial coverings.”
Amidst the pandemic, Vaani also volunteered weekly at the Frederick Community Action Agency to pack bags with up to 3-5 days of food for underprivileged families in the area.