Hometown: Johnston, Rhode Island
Majors: Biomedical Engineering
Stephanie Barrena ’12 enjoyed many sparkling opportunities as a biomedical engineering student at URI. Now she’s looking forward to bringing her big ideas for studying cardiology and silver nanoparticles into graduate school.
As one of only seven students chosen for a 10-week summer research internship funded by the National Science Foundation, she studied silver nanoparticles, the tiny units of silver that are used in medical and commercial industries, from medicines to sunscreens. Stephanie presented her research on the toxicity of silver nanoparticles at the end of the internship at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and again at the Biomedical Engineering Society Conference in October. As of now, she says it’s difficult to determine any negative effects of the particles on human health, but scientists are still searching for certainty.
Stephanie also received a full scholarship to the Cleveland Clinic’s 4th Annual Aspiring Physicians and Research Scientists Conference. “The Cleveland Clinic is a great program; it inspires minority students to pursue something big in the medical field,” said Stephanie.
For her capstone senior design project, Stephanie worked with two other students to make an Android phone application that acts as an easy-to-use voice control television remote for people with muscular dystrophy. The team presented its project at the Northeast Bioengineering Conference in March.
“All of my classes have been so informative, and I have learned so much that can be applied to real-life situations,” Stephanie said. “Choosing biomedical engineering as my major was the best decision I could have made.”