As a co-terminal student, Emma Brown receives her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering in a few weeks and will finish coursework for a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. She is doing research on the biomechanics of cells and tumors.
Brown was looking for a smallish college to attend, but knew wherever she went she wanted ample resources and opportunities. “I came to Accepted Students Day and was very impressed with the research facilities and the students that I met. I knew after my first week here that I had chosen correctly,” she said.
As a young girl, Brown spent some summers working on a farm — her duties included feeding chickens, goats, pigs, and cows, as well as cleaning pens or moving the animals from pasture to pasture. Brown said this part of her early work experience prepared her for the research she’d be conducting. “Research often feels very unforgiving, and you may not see promising results for an extended amount of time. That being said, you still have to keep trying every day. The time I spent at this farm helped me with establishing self-motivation and perseverance,” she explained.
Research was also involved in her summer job at Mystic Seaport, close to her home in Stonington, Connecticut. Employees were responsible for forming a composite character from 1876 and developing a storyline for that character. As Brown walked around the recreated seaport village in period dress, she had to be prepared to answer questions from visitors about her character’s life in the 19th century. She said close to 100 hours of research was involved in forming these characters.
During her freshman and sophomore years at Rensselaer, Brown competed on the women’s track and field team as a pole vaulter, which involved traveling to meets. She wasn’t able to continue on the team and as a result of no longer traveling, she made the Dean’s Honor List five out of the last seven semesters.
Brown has many memories of her college career, but meeting so many different types of people with a similar drive and passion to get things done and who are also challenged academically is a favorite. “My friends are the reason that the RPI course load became manageable. We encouraged and supported each other. The friends I have made here are lifelong, and I am so excited to see what great things we all accomplish after RPI,” she said.
Brown will put her various types of research to work as she is planning a career in research and development, perhaps something related to tissue engineering. And she said if she’s learned anything during the last year with the pandemic it is that “science will always win.”