Bharat Sanders, an undergraduate student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME), has won a $6,000 Campus Life Scholarship, which recognizes and rewards students that have positively impacted the university community through leadership, scholarship, and service.
Sanders was honored for his work within the BME Learning Commons, particularly the mentorship program.
“That was an idea that I latched onto, this idea of really improving the student experience in BME,” says Sanders, who came to the Georgia Institute of Technology as a dual enrollment student while in high school, and will begin applying to medical schools this summer.
He worked last summer with the BME Learning Commons team and faculty advisor Joe LeDoux to launch and grow the mentorship program, which links incoming freshmen with upperclassmen mentors, and links upperclassmen with BME alumni mentors.
“So, all incoming freshmen were matched with a mentor because we were able to recruit a lot of upperclassmen who volunteered,” says Sanders, who is from the metro Atlanta area. “We’ve been very happy with the response. I feel that, engaging freshmen when they first come to campus helps gives them ownership of their experience. That student to student connection is important.”
As part of his work with BME Learning Commons, Sanders produced a video about the experience. The student leadership team for the learning commons is currently working on building a collection of stories via podcast and video.
“We’re trying to capture stories about BMEs who are successful in their careers, who can tell current students how they got where they are now,” says Sanders, who is also involved in BME Healthreach, an education enrichment program that is collaboration of Georgia Tech, Emory, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). BME undergrads create interactive teaching modules for math and science directed towards hospitalized children at CHOA Egleston.
“We’re teaching pediatric patients science and math through the lens of their own disease,” Sanders says. “It helps them relate to the disease, and why doctors are telling them what they are telling them. It’s a way for these young patients to catch up on schoolwork. This is something I really enjoy.”
Sanders is now working on a distance learning component for BME Healthreach (a program operated out of the lab of Wilbur Lam, assistant professor in the joint Tech/Emory Coulter Department and a faculty member of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience).
“The idea is to make the activities we create for patients more available online,” says Sanders, who also made a community impact through his work in the For the Kids program at Georgia Tech. He helped organize the For the Kids annual dance marathon in March, an event that raised $106,000 for CHOA.
“That is something dear to me, CHOA and the work they do for children,” Sanders says. “I know that I’ll be immersed in that kind of world very soon, because I love working with kids, and I want to work directly with pediatric patients some day. I’m very passionate about that. Being able to start early with programs like Healthreach and For the Kids is something that I really appreciate. These are great service opportunities and it’s given me a good grasp of why we do what we do.”
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