Master's Profile: Janelle Balesh

Janelle BaleshCurrent Position: Fellow in the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE Healthcare

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Baylor University, 2014

BME Master’s Program Path: MEng in Biomedical Engineering–Biomechanics track, 2014-2015

What do you do at your work?

I am in the Edison Engineering Development Program at GE Healthcare. Within my first year, I worked on research and development to combat the primary failure modes of our next-generation CT scanner’s X-ray tube components. I also used 3D modeling and rapid prototyping to design hardware for the detachable patient table for our MRI system. I currently work on the CT Clinical Applications team developing protocols for safe and effective radiation dose and designing accessories to make the patient scanning experience more comfortable.

How did your time at Duke prepare you for your current job?

Duke provided me with a strong educational foundation and network to begin my career in engineering. The courses I took enhanced my skillset in design and knowledge of life sciences. The Master of Engineering (MEng) program itself provided several valuable resources to answer my questions and guide me in the right direction to pursue the career path I wanted in the medical industry.

What was the most valuable part of your Duke experience?

I found that the passion the professors had for their research and courses made my learning experience at Duke extremely rewarding. Because they really loved the science they taught, I loved learning it. I also enjoyed being involved in the Master of Engineering Engagement Committee because it added a good balance of social activity to my life at Duke. I made great friends from this organization and from the program, and I still keep in contact with them today. E-socials with other Duke graduate students were a great way to unwind at the end of a week of studying, too!

What were the most useful courses you took at Duke?

Project-based design courses such as Biomedical Device Innovation, Tissue Engineering, and Viscoelastic Biomechanics were the most useful courses because of their applications in industry. Biomedical Device Innovation challenged me to work cross-functionally with students from other majors, recognize and design devices that had market-potential, and gave me first-hand exposure to the medical field by allowing me to shadow physicians at Duke University Medical Center. I use the skills I learned from this course frequently at work.

What advice would you give to someone considering a master’s degree in BME at Duke?

Duke is an excellent place to be because you will constantly be challenged by bright minds, and you’ll have the opportunity to engage in networking, sporting, and social events. Take advantage of the resources you have available to you, and enjoy your time at Duke!

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