BioE Student Spotlight: Olivia Carsia

BioE Student Spotlight: Fall 2023


Olivia Carsia

Where are you from/where is your hometown?

Allentown, PA

What degree type are you pursuing?

MS Bioengineering

What is your specialization, OR, do you have any other majors/minors?

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering at Penn State with a concentration in tissues and materials. I’m working towards obtaining my master’s degree in bioengineering with a concentration in either biomaterials or bioengineering product development.

Are you involved in any bioengineering related organizations (both inside or outside of Lehigh)? If so, please specify.

I’m not involved in any bioengineering related organizations at Lehigh, but during my undergrad at Penn State I was involved in an engineering sorority Phi Sigma Rho.

Why did you decide to come to Lehigh University?

I decided to attend Lehigh to get my master’s degree because it is well known for its engineering program!

Why did you decide to study bioengineering?

I decided to study bioengineering because I’ve always been interested in the medical industry, but didn’t know if going to medical school was the right career path for me. However, I still wanted to have a purposeful career where I’m able to make a difference in peoples lives. When I was deciding where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to major in, I came across bioengineering/biomedical engineering. I’ve never heard of this degree before but it seemed very interesting, so I decided to major in biomedical engineering at Penn State. I loved the classes I took and the opportunities that this degree gave me, so I knew I wanted to further my education and get my master’s degree in something similar. I decided to get my master’s degree in bioengineering because it will allow me to have more opportunities in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry and to make a difference in peoples lives.

What do you want to be/do after you graduate and how will this degree help you get there?

I currently work full time at B.Braun Medical Inc. as a product engineer. I lead multiple projects that ensure our medical devices function as intended when a change is made the the product (i.e. material change, design change, etc.). Obtaining my master’s degree will allow me to have more opportunities in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry to further my career.

Share a good experience/memory with a faculty/staff member/peers/or class within bioengineering

I am a distance education student since I work full time, but all of the professors/advisors I have emailed with or met with over zoom were very helpful and accommodating!

Share a fun fact (or two, or three) about yourself!

1) I went to Penn State for my undergrad!
2) I love Dachshund dogs! I had 2 of them. They lived until they were 18!
3) I’m a part time bioengineering masters student at Lehigh since I work full time as a product engineer at B.Braun Medical Inc.

What words of wisdom do you have for current or future students of bioengineering at Lehigh?

1) Don’t be afraid to try new things! You will never know if you like something until you try it.
2) Embrace change and be resilient.

We love Olivia’s story and that she is managing graduate school and working full-time in industry. Because of her unique situation, we have asked Olivia to write more about her situation: how she got into bioengineering, what drove her to choose Lehigh, how she balances working and school, and more!

Olivia’s story:

My education and career choice has been driven by a desire to make a positive impact on people's lives. As I explored college options and possible majors, I discovered the field of biomedical engineering. The idea of being at the intersection of innovation and healthcare ignited my passion. I chose to begin my journey by majoring in biomedical engineering at Penn State University, as this aligned with my goal of contributing to a meaningfully field while gaining hands-on experience at a large university.

During the summer of my junior year, I had the opportunity to work as a product engineer intern at B.Braun, a global medical and pharmaceutical device company.  My responsibilities included creating engineering test reports that incorporated the latest product specifications, along with the preparation, sterilization, and aging of samples for testing. My internship provided me with a better understanding of the medical device life cycle, especially in the testing and manufacturing processes.

My undergraduate program provided me with several potential career paths. Recognizing the value of continued education, I decided to pursue a master's degree as a full-time student.  After careful consideration, I chose Lehigh University.  I wanted to diversify my educational experience and was drawn to Lehigh for its renowned engineering programs. I was confident that obtaining a master's degree in bioengineering would broaden my opportunities and propel my career forward.

However, my plans changed.  After I was accepted into Lehigh’s Bioengineering master’s program and just a few months before my undergraduate graduation, I received a job offer from B. Braun Medical Inc. as an associate product engineer.  Initially, I didn’t know what to do. I was planning on going to Lehigh full time, but I also did not want to pass up an opportunity for a full-time engineering position. Luckily for me, Lehigh admissions, academic advisors, and professors were flexible and understanding. Their flexibility allowed me to work full-time while also pursuing my master’s degree part-time.

The flexibility at Lehigh allows me to gain valuable work experience while simultaneously working towards my master’s degree at a pace that allows for a balance between work, school, and day-to-day life. Almost all 300 level and graduate-level classes at Lehigh have distance education sections. The professors have been flexible and accommodating. I feel confident I will be able to complete my degree and be successful at my full-time job. Once complete, I will be in a better position for increased opportunities that a master’s degree from Lehigh provides.