By: Allison O’Donnell, Written Communications Specialist, UConn School of Engineering
Stephany Santos (she/her/hers) is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering from Middletown, CT and is currently JLLA’s Vice President. She is a Ford Foundations Fellow and conducts research on the characterizations of cartilage and arthritis in the im Lab under David M. Pierce, Ph.D.
In her role as Vice President, she has been able to explore various educational tools to both maximize the development of JLLA members, and quantify the impact the academy has on members’ leadership development. Santos uses the elements of the science of learning and metacognition to prepare her for the career aspiration of academia.
Santos was once told that “behind every great doctor is a great engineer,” which is why she chose this method of contributing to the medical realm. Additionally, human interactions play a major role in the outcomes of every leadership and engineering scenario. She says that JLLA is an important program because of the emphasis on interpersonal competencies.
“Leadership is a big part of engineering because teamwork is a big part of engineering,“ said Santos. “It is a critical part of the engineering-design process.” Workshops are an integral aspect of getting active experience. Santos says that “practicing navigating different scenarios is the best way to prepare and develop.”
Becoming a supportive leader was also important to her, as she is involved with outreach. Santos helped found Engineering Ambassadors, and currently serves as a co-advisor for the program. Additionally,she mentours the undergraduate UConn chapters for the National Society of Black Engineers(NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
JLLA’s diverse population creates a richness of different perspectives. “It is so important to be able to build those bridges and connect with other people who are different,” said Santos. “Being able to leverage experience with diversity is what leadership is all about.”