Today we speak with Shanna Davidson, a junior biomedical engineering major from Pretoria, South Africa, who lives on campus in residence hall Laurel Hall. Shanna will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most out of her college experience as a Rowan Prof.
Minors or concentrations: Honors Concentration
Pretoria, South Africa
Yes, from Raritan Valley Community College
Do you work on campus?
Yes, I am a Resident Assistant (RA) in Laurel Hall
Why did you choose your major?
I’ve always been fascinated with the way that prosthetics work. Once I got more into the field I became interested in personalized medicine so I am following the tissue engineering track.
One reason why you chose Rowan?
Rowan was the only school to offer me an international scholarship, which helped me immensely financially, and secondly I was ecstatic to be a part of the brand new biomedical engineering program and to help Rowan develop their new major; that was an exciting opportunity to me.
My Typical Day as a Rowan Student:
Being a junior is not easy! The work never seems to subside, however it is gratifying to see all of the amazing things we can accomplish in just a day. Most of my days begin with classes which start at 9:30 a.m and they all run until 3:15 p.m. Being a biomedical engineer, my classes this semester mostly involve mechanics, quantitative physiology and electrical circuit analysis (although the names are scarier than the actual classes!) We also have what’s called engineering clinic, and this semester I have started doing research with my faculty advisor, Dr. Shim. In this research, we work with biological nanopores to detect different electrical current signatures as single-stranded DNA moves through the biological nanopore. The hope for this research is to be able to use our data for early cancer detection in the human body. During this clinic time, we also write academic papers, which will hopefully get us published one day soon!
Around lunch time, I usually have an hour break in between classes where I can run to the cafeteria and pick up some food. I’ll usually go with classmates who also have a break, or I’ll go with some RA friends. It’s important to me to keep up with my friendships, even if it’s just a quick lunch, because sometimes school work can become overwhelming and my friends always put a smile on my face.
After classes, my afternoons are filled with various activities, mostly including group work for labs or homework and different club meetings. Sometimes I need the afternoons to fulfill my duties as an RA. Being a Resident Assistant, it’s difficult to put a timestamp on my job. My job is 24 hours, making sure that my freshmen residents are safe and that they’re adjusting to college life well. My teammates and I rotate through our monthly schedule and when we are on duty on a particular night, we go on rounds in each of our four buildings in the MOLE area (Mullica, Oak, Laurel and Evergreen). Our main objective is to make sure that everyone is safe. We also do fun things for our residents, such as hosting social and academic programs where students can come together and meet new people, while hopefully learning something new (and usually eating pizza!).
My evenings are usually filled with meetings; academic, social and staff. However, our staff meetings usually turn out to feel like team bonding sessions rather than strict staff meetings. After what’s usually a very long day, I can happily retire to my bed and get a good night’s sleep, before waking up and doing it all again.
My most rewarding experience at Rowan has definitely been my job as an RA; I have met the most incredible people who have turned out to be some of my closest friends, some of who are my residents! I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting a multitude of young and passionate freshmen, and it’s exciting to me that I can potentially have a positive effect on these students’ lives. As an international student, sometimes it can get very stressful when I am homesick and miss my family, but I have an amazing group of friends who will always remind me why it’s worth it, and it is worth it! I am so excited for my future as a tissue engineer, and ultimately I know that Rowan and the amazing faculty within the engineering department will help me get there.
Story organized by: Jen Green and Natalia Panfilova
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