Alumna Making a Difference in Biomedical Engineering

As a senior at Tulane, alumna Claire Sentilles '15 is working to make a difference in biomedical engineering across the world.
This past summer, Claire participated in an internship at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and spent two weeks in Peru visiting hospitals and clinics.

During her internship at St. Jude in the Pediatric Oncology Education Program, Claire conducted clinical research in the Radiation Oncology department with Dr. Tom Merchant. She helped analyze a trial for childhood cancer patients suffering from craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor.

“It is fulfilling to know that during my 11 weeks at St. Jude, I was able to conduct work that will potentially influence treatment for craniopharyngioma patients in the future,” Claire said. “I was fortunate enough to interact with and get to know some of these patients and their families, and seeing their strength and determination influenced my own worth ethic on a daily basis.”

Claire, who is majoring in biomedical engineering and is on a pre-med track, said she wants to combine her background in biomedical engineering with observations made in the clinic to analyze and interpret data.

She credits Hutchison for learning to lead and communicate effectively, two skills she's put to good use in college. At Tulane, she founded the student organization Biomedical Innovation for Global Impact (BIG Impact), a group that hopes to design a portable diagnostic tool and an app to diagnose respiratory infections in areas along the Amazon River. Claire and other members of BIG Impact participated in a field assessment in Peru to see how this technology could help clinics in that country.
“We talked to a doctor at a clinic who serves 12 small communities and is far away from a big hospital,” Claire said. “When someone comes in with a cough, he has to make a decision to send them to the hospital to see if it’s pneumonia or treat it as a cold.”

She explained the group is now focusing on the engineering aspect of the technology they hope to use in Peru. She said working with BIG Impact exemplifies the skills and passions she began pursuing at Hutchison, and she would not have had the drive to lead the group without her background.

“At Hutchison, I gained confidence, had real-world experiences to help me determine my true passion, and I learned to work with others and communicate effectively,” Claire said. “I am so thankful for every day I spent at Hutchison and would not be where I am today without the strong background I gained there.”

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