Outstanding Graduate + Convocation Speaker, Fall 2020
Applying the knowledge that she learned in the classroom to real-world health care experiences helped Smita Gopalakrishnan realize that biomedical engineering is the right fit for her.
“I have been able to use my skills and conceptual knowledge acquired from my classes to contribute to novel research involving older adults and children with cerebral palsy,” says Gopalakrishnan, “and even help develop software applications for the epilepsy community.”
Since her second year, Gopalakrishnan has conducted research in the Human Mobility Lab led by Assistant Professor Claire Honeycutt where she participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative program.
“Within the Human Mobility Lab, one of my biggest achievements has been completing my honors thesis,” says Gopalakrishnan. “I was able to independently recruit subjects, conduct experiments, analyze data and ultimately present my research to the ASU community.”
She says Honeycutt has been an incredible mentor.
“Dr. Honeycutt has been an extremely supportive and caring individual,” she says. “By allowing me to conduct my own research project, she has pushed me to be independent but also willing to ask others for help. Dr. Honeycutt has helped me develop personal and professional skills that will be incredibly helpful in my future endeavors.”
In addition to her work in the lab, Gopalakrishnan was actively involved in service organizations that allowed her to make a lasting effect on those around her.
“As a part of Omega Phi Alpha, I was proud to be surrounded by a diverse group of individuals who shared similar interests in service with me,” says Gopalakrishnan. “Through my involvement with Engineers Without Borders, I was able to travel internationally and learn about water accessibility in Indian communities. Applying my learning from school to bettering communities in need was an eye-opening and fulfilling experience that has impacted my global perspective and future career goals.”
The New American University Scholar and President’s Award winner will be staying in Arizona for a semester to gain work experience and explore her career interests. Gopalakrishnan’s plans include earning a doctorate in physical therapy and using her engineering and movement science knowledge to bring a unique perspective to physical therapy.
“I look forward to developing novel therapies and treatment techniques that can provide positive patient outcomes with minimal harm,” she says. “I would also love to be a part of improving rehabilitative technologies, such as prosthetic and orthotic devices, to benefit patients’ overall movement function and quality.”