MEGHAN MARTIN - Alumna Spotlight

Biomedical Engineering Researcher & Master’s Student

TISSUE MECHANICS LAB, DALHOUSIE UNIVERSITY

Q: When did you realize you had a talent for biomedical engineering?

Honestly, realizing I had a talent for research is something I feel like I have only discovered within the last few years. For me it was when I did my first research project by myself, where I was able to problem solve on my own and figure out connections between my data and real-life theory. It was that moment that I said “Hey, I actually really enjoy this AND it’s something I’m good at!”

Q: As a kid, were there any formative experiences that helped to shape your path?

High school were the years that really shaped me into the scientist I am today. I felt encouraged to enjoy the sciences like biology, calculus, chemistry, and physics. I was able to compete on a robotics team, where I was the only girl, and it gave me the confidence to pursue more knowledge in science.

Q: At what point did you realize your chosen career path was for you?

Before coming to Dalhousie, I had never heard of Biomedical Engineering. In my first year I was in the Dalhousie Integrated Science Program which allowed first year students to do a research project. It was during my project on tendon mechanics that I realized I loved research. I spent a lot of time volunteering and working in research labs after that. This led me to discovering my true passion, biomechanics and structural formation during fetal development!

Q: Was your experience at Techsploration what you expected it to be? How did it impact your career choice or chosen career path?

Techsploration had a huge impact on my career — it made me aware of what was out there, what I might possibly be interested in, and it helped me eliminate what wasn’t for me. It boosted my self esteem and helped me learn how to do public speaking! It impacted my chosen career path, because if I didn’t do Techsploration I wouldn’t have all the amazing females routing for me and supporting me along the way!

Q: Do you have any role models within your career field?

My role model within my field is my supervisor, Dr. Sarah Wells. She is, no doubt, the smartest person I know. Her research on how the heart changes structurally during pregnancy is at the forefront of her field. The things she has done in her career so far are astounding. Even when people have doubted her results, she doesn’t falter and proves those who doubt are wrong! She inspires and validates me as a woman in science, as well as pushes me to reach my full potential.

Q: What would you say to people – especially women – who might be considering a career in your field?

It is okay not to know everything or not be certain in your knowledge, I used to be afraid that I didn’t have the full knowledge I needed. I thought because I was a woman that I needed to know everything in order to be smart and prove myself to those around me. No one knows everything, and it is okay to ask questions!

Q: What is the best/most interesting part about your job?

The most interesting part of my job is when I can take the results that I have found and find reasons or explanations for them. Research is like a mystery puzzle, where you have a question that you want to answer. From there you conduct experiments in search of clues to answer your question. At the end you get to put together all your work and look through the literature for more answers that connect to yours! It’s almost like writing a story with science, which I think is fascinating.

Q: What’s one fun fact about you (i.e. your favourite hobby, a significant achievement, etc.)?

This past fall I won a Bright Red Student Research Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation for my work on the biomechanics of fetal heart valve development.