Hagler explores biomedical engineering as a Cornell Fellow

Senior Shae Hagler has new work experience for her resume thanks to the Berry Career Institutes’s Cornell Fellowship Program.

Senior Shae Hagler
Senior Shae Hagler

Hagler spent nine weeks this summer in San Diego, California, as Cornell’s Floyd Scott Fellow in Biomedical Engineering at Microtek, Inc. The Cornell Fellowship Program, organized by the Berry Career Institute, connected Hagler with this opportunity and provided funding for living and travel expenses. 

“I am proud of what I have learned and accomplished, and I’m so glad to have had this opportunity,” Hagler wrote in her blog during the last week of her internship.

The Colorado native says the California company specializes in medical technology, so its projects have applications in healthcare and will be used to diagnose and manage various medical conditions. The Cornell College senior got hands-on experience with many projects.

Hagler taking a quick break from her research on sintering paste.
Hagler taking a quick break from her research on sintering paste to take this photo.

“I started out working with the production team where I practiced techniques and helped with assembling some of Microtek’s current projects,” said Hagler, a chemistry major. “I also worked on an individual project, a few smaller research and development jobs, and several miscellaneous tasks around the facility.” 

She described working on microelectronic devices with tiny circuit boards that required the use of steady hands and tweezers. 

“It’s been a fun challenge working with real materials. It was a bit nerve-wracking initially because there was more pressure to get each placement correct,” Hagler wrote in her Fellowship blog. “But overall, it’s nice to know that the things I’ve been working on are the real deal and will actually be used by Microtek’s customers.” 

A Cornell alumnus who majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Andrew Hanson ’19, worked with Hagler as she learned the tricks of the trade. 

“Our Cornell experiences have a lot of similarities, and we always had something to talk about,” Hagler said. “Andrew was also a fantastic resource and was more than willing to share his insight on how his time at Cornell has helped him after graduation. He provided particularly valuable insight into finding post-graduation opportunities and handling senior year.”

Hagler behind Microtek’s facility cleaning limescale out of an autoclave (used for sterilizing equipment).
Hagler behind Microtek’s facility cleaning limescale out of an autoclave (used for sterilizing equipment).

She recently presented on campus about her internship during the Fellows Showcase. As she looks back at her time in California, she says she enjoyed having the opportunity to learn new skills, and she figured out more about her future career path.

“I saw this internship as an opportunity to explore a new field and evaluate how my studies in chemistry and physics would translate into a tangentially related field,” Hagler said. “I certainly had a great time this summer and learned a lot; however, I found myself missing chemistry. That being said, I’ve decided to pursue options that emphasize my background in chemistry and will allow me to return to a chemistry-specific lab setting.”

After graduation this May, Hagler plans on taking a gap year to work in a chemistry-related field. Then, she wants to pursue her Ph.D.

A Cornell Fellowship is an excellent opportunity that fits well as an Ingenuity in Action experience and is a highly regarded aspect of a Cornell education.