Today we speak with Amanda Burke, a junior biomedical engineering major from Toms River, Ocean County, who rents a house off campus. Amanda 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.
Name: Amanda Burke
Major: Biomedical Engineering within the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering
Housing: Off Campus
Hometown and County: Toms River, NJ (Ocean County)
Off-campus house: I rent a house with 3 roommates
Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES), Outstanding Women Leaders (OWL) group
Rowan University NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving team
Why did you choose your major?
I wanted to combine my math skills and interest in medicine, while maintaining a role in helping others throughout my life. The engineering field is always changing and I have the ability to maintain an innovative mindset and come up with new ideas throughout my career that may eventually lead to a breakthrough in the medical field.
One reason you chose Rowan?
I chose Rowan because it was far enough to get away and experience life on my own, but close enough to go and have a home-cooked meal when I needed one!
My Typical Day as a Rowan Student:
Coming into my junior year at Rowan University, I was very nervous that it was going to be a step up from what I was used to. The classes were going to get harder, the responsibilities were going to be piled on and the amount of time in my day would shrink significantly. This all turned out to be completely true! My days start early and end late, but I wouldn’t change any of it because of the opportunity I have to get an amazing education while being able to do what I love.
My Tuesdays start at 5:30 a.m. when I wake up for morning practice. I am a student-athlete on the Rowan swimming and diving team, where we practice 8 times a week, while maintaining a full-time class schedule. We start training in late September and continue throughout the course of the year until around the beginning of March.
I am in the pool by 6:00 a.m. and we finish practice around 7:45 a.m. which allows me to go upstairs to the Rec Center gym where I complete my designated lifting workout for the day. Once I am done with that, I run back to my house and get ready for my first class of the day, which starts at 9:30 a.m. I usually make myself breakfast in the morning, and stop at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks in the Student Center before I go to class. I try not to drink coffee every day, but when I have morning practice, it is hard to get through the day without that extra boost in the morning. I have class from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on campus, and then head to the Technology Park to do research for my clinic project, which is a class that engineering students have all four years that allows us to apply our courses into real life applications where we are solving real world problems. I try and pack a lunch on Tuesdays since I don’t always have time to stop for lunch. However, when I do have time, my go-to place to stop is Jersey Mike’s on the bottom floor of the Student Center. The sandwiches are made fresh and it allows me to get the necessary energy I need until after practice later that night.
At the Technology Park, I research under Dr. Byrne, the department chair for biomedical engineering. I am mentored by a Ph.D. student as well as two senior chemical engineering students. Together, we work in the Biomimetic & Biohybrid Materials, Biomedical Devices, & Drug Delivery Laboratories, where we specialize in ocular studies. I finish there around 3:15 p.m., and then I head to the pool for my second practice of the day, which goes until 5:30 p.m.
After practice ends, I head back to my off-campus house. I take a shower to rinse the chlorine out of my hair, and then decide what to prepare myself for dinner. This is probably one of my most important decisions of the day. I am very hungry after practice, so I need to find something that will not only replenish the nutrients I exhausted during practice, but also fix the certain craving I am feeling that day. I usually try to eat healthy, which consists of chicken and vegetables. Stir-fry is the easiest meal for me to make, because it doesn’t take a lot of time, but it still tastes good.
I finish the night by completing any homework that I was assigned or by studying for any upcoming exams. I usually do my homework in the library or my house, depending on if I am working in a group or not. Homework in my major doesn’t get completed in a day, so I have to be patient with myself and do what I can without stressing out about not getting it done. By the end of the day, I am exhausted, and all I want to do after practice is climb into bed and fall asleep. Swimming and engineering has given me a certain discipline within myself that allows me to get things done, even when I feel my weakest.
Every day of the week is different for me – my classes change, my responsibilities change, and my level of enthusiasm can range as well depending on how tired I am, but at the end of the day, I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given, and will cherish these years for the rest of my life. Being a student-athlete is hard. It’s like having a full-time job, while maintaining a good GPA, a social life, and getting enough sleep at the same time. I can’t say I have mastered it fully, but I do try my best to keep myself well-rounded and not focus on one thing too much. There are so many things I will be able to take away from my experience here at Rowan University, and I think I will be able to incorporate everything I have learned, academically and socially, into the next chapter of my life.
We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here.
Story organized by: Jen Green and Natalia Panfilova