Emilie Palisaitis is a graduate of the Master's program in Biological & Biomedical Engineering (BBME), having been supervised by Prof. Ahmad Haidar.
Following her graduate studies, Emilie was accepted to Medical School at McGill, receiving the Anjna & Jogindar Majhail Scholarship as an outstanding student entering first year Medicine who demonstrates academic excellence.
We asked Emilie a few questions about her student experience, her hopes for the future, and what makes McGill special:
Q: Why did you choose McGill? Why the BBME program?
I was born and raised on Montreal, and I did my Bachelor of Science in Physiology at McGill, so McGill and Montreal are home to me. Upon doing further research into the different graduate programs McGill has to offer, the BBME program caught my eye. I was interested in getting involved in the incredibly fast-growing and innovative field of biomedical engineering. I was ready and excited for the challenge of entering into an extremely interdisciplinary program to expand my skillset and knowledge of science and research.
Q: What was your favorite part of the BBME program?
I loved my research, my research supervisor, and my lab. I had the incredible opportunity to work with children with type 1 diabetes and learned how to run a clinical trial from start to finish. My lab was extremely interdisciplinary, consisting of Master’s and PhD students from engineering and health science backgrounds, engineers, nutritionists, nurses, and physicians. Everyone came to the table with their own skill set, which created a beautiful learning environment.
Q: What was the most challenging part of the BBME program?
Personally, I believe the most challenging part of the BBME program was the engineering courses. I had limited programming skills and was definitely lacking knowledge of some concepts coming from a biomedical science background. However, it was fun to make friends in my classes who lacked the knowledge I had but possessed the knowledge I lacked! Together, we were able to work together and help each other get through the biomedical and the engineering parts of the courses.
Q: Why did you decide to move on from the BBME program to medical school?
I have always wanted to go to medical school! I am so happy to have been admitted and to be able to take with me all the knowledge and experience I gained from the BBME program. The BBME program allowed me to appreciate first-hand how intertwined the worlds of research and medicine are, and I look forward to continuing that journey.
Q: What was the med school application process like? Did the BBME program improve your chances of admission?
Medical school application consists of many steps, including submitting a CV, collecting references, and completing an online ethics test. From there, you may be invited to interview. The interview is of a “multiple mini-interview” style, which consists of a series of short interviews that assess a variety of capabilities including teamwork, communication, empathy, critical thinking, etc.
I definitely believe the BBME program increased my chance of admission. My CV was greatly improved following my Master's, including publications in medical journals and experience in clinical research, which demonstrated my passion for research.
Q: Why would you recommend other students to join BME?
Absolutely! If you want to get involved in a quickly growing, innovative field, to work with passionate and intelligent people from different areas of expertise, and to contribute to research, I am confident that biomedical engineering is for you!
Q: What are your career goals?
I am currently uncertain of what kind of physician I want to be, but I know my journey in research has just begun. I want to be able to not only help my patients, but to also help larger patient populations, which I believe can be done through research. I look forward to seeing where medical school is going to take me!
Q: How has your program and/or BME helped you achieve you career goals? (or how will it help in the future?)
BBME introduced me to the world of research, which I am so thankful for. I learned how to perform proper research, run clinical trials, and work with people from different backgrounds. These experiences and skills will certainly help me as a physician.
Q: Did the BBME program meet expectations you had going in?
BBME exceeded my expectations. My Master’s has been (so far) my favorite part of my education. I quickly became passionate about biomedical engineering, type 1 diabetes, and research. I learned more than I ever believed I could, published manuscripts in biomedical journals, met incredibly inspiring patients, and made lifelong friends!
Q: If you could tell the world one thing about McGill BME, what would it be?
If you love science and technology, are passionate about making an impact in your field and learning new skills from new people, I highly recommend the biomedical engineering program at McGill!