Student Speaker: Kathleen Uske '14

Kathleen UskeBorn and raised in Staten Island, New York, Kathleen Uske is a junior biomedical engineering student specializing in the Biomaterials/Tissue Engineering track. She is also an Albert Dorman Honors College scholar. Having graduated from Saint Joseph Hill Academy High School, a small, private Catholic institution, in 2010, Kathleen was looking for a university that would provide a diverse student body, challenging academic curriculum, a world-class education and most importantly, an environment in which she could push herself and excel. Acceptance to the prestigious Albert Dorman Honors College sealed the deal as NJIT for her college choice. NJIT has and continues to provide support in the financial, academic and personal aspects of her college career—support that allows her to be an active student.

From a graduating high school class of 118 students, Kathleen was one of three young women pursuing a career in engineering. As a freshman engineering student with a non-technical background, the difficulty level of mathematics and science courses at NJIT posed a challenge for her. The first year of courses was a difficult hurdle, but the support of Honors College advisors and various tutors allowed her to successfully transition and get started on a solid academic path. Once her academic confidence was established, Kathleen became involved in various on-campus activities. She is a member of the Albert Dorman Honors College’s Ambassador Program, in which she meets prospective students at various events, including NJIT open houses. She also helped new freshmen make the transition into college as a teaching assistant for the Honors Freshman Seminar course last fall. Kathleen is the acting vice president of public relations and the vice president of PR/membership of the Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, respectively. Additionally, she is a member of the Honors Biomedical Engineering Society.

NJIT has given Kathleen the opportunity to explore academic interests and career paths that she may have never considered otherwise and have ultimately contributed to making her a more well-rounded and worldly individual. The Honors College’s Interdisciplinary Design Studio program, a student research program that focuses on transforming innovation to entrepreneurship, has played a large role in providing the practical knowledge and experience that will be imperative in the years following graduation. Kathleen is the leader of the SmartGuardian research team. This project, under the advisement of Dr. Atam Dhawan, focuses on the creation of smart bathroom environments for the purpose of monitoring both physiological and behavioral signals of elderly individuals. The impact of the project focuses on addressing the needs of a growing U.S. elderly population as well as the need for electronic healthcare systems. Kathleen has represented SmartGuardian as a participant in the Capital One sponsored Innovation Accelerator Program. She presented at the NJIT Undergraduate Research Symposium and was chosen as a finalist for a research grant from Kendal Charitable Funds. The project concept was featured this fall at TEDxNJIT and a research paper is selected for presentation and publication in the proceedings of the IEEE Healthcare Innovation Conference: Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Kathleen is a recipient of the NJIT Presidential, NJIT Faculty, NJIT Board of Trustees and FDN Quasi Scholarships. As one of four children, the generosity of the university and the Honors College has been extremely impactful in Kathleen’s life. It has allowed her to feel financially unburdened and thereby able to be an extremely involved and dedicated student. The low cost of attending NJIT for an undergraduate degree will allow her to pursue her graduate school goals. Kathleen looks forward to graduating in 2014 and hopes to attain her master’s degree from NJIT as part of the Biomedical Engineering BS/MS program. Upon leaving NJIT, she hopes to attain a PhD and pursue a career in regenerative medicine.