I enrolled in this course because I have always been interested in the healthcare profession. As a kid I wanted to be a veterinarian, but after getting to college, I realized that this wasn’t my true passion. After moving on from this goal, I still wanted to work on something would help people and improve their lives. A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of the research opportunities at Lehigh and I was blown away by the amazing work that people have been doing and I just knew that I wanted to be apart of this impactful program. I also enrolled in this course because I love learning through a hands on experience. You can only learn so much in a classroom about what you intend to do after college, but getting real experience through research and field work sounded like an amazing opportunity. The final reason I took this course was because I wanted to be given actual responsibility in a project that matters. Over the summer I interned for a pharmaceutical company where all they had me do was input numbers into a database. Although this is an important part of pharmaceutical process, I did not feel like I was making any impact in the grand scheme of things.
I think this course will make me a better bioengineer because, as said above, it will give me real experience for what I plan on doing after college. I think it will also shine a lot of light on the more intricate parts of what happens in the bioengineering field. For the most part, classes about bioengineering at the sophomore level are very general and do not talk about the specifics of what goes into a project like this. I think it will be interesting to see what kind of work the nitty gritty details of this project will entail. It is also one of the few courses at Lehigh that shows students what working in the real world is like. Giving students the independence to succeed or fail on their own in this type of situation is not something that is seen too often. In most cases, the professors or professional researchers give students small tasks like filing papers but in this case we have a higher level of freedom, which is both exciting and a little scary.
The lack of glasses in third world countries like Kenya is a hard problem to fix. There are a few charities that have set out to fix this problem. I found one that is addressing this problem called Eyes on Africa. Eyes on Africa, founded in 2005, is a non-profit organization that provides glasses at no cost to people in Africa with no access to eye-care specialists or products. In order to decrease cost, Eyes on Africa partnered with a sunglasses company DIFF Eyewear. The company runs a promotion that every pair of sunglasses they sell, a free pair is given to Eyes on Africa. This partnership was a smart move by Eyes on Africa, because it allowed for larger production and better distribution facilities. Since there are already many charities like this, I think the focus shouldn’t be on creating a new system from the ground up, but improving the cost effectiveness of what is already in place. If cost could be brought down enough, then more people could be helped, especially because the money saved could be put towards distribution and expansion.
I think this idea can be slightly improved upon in the way that the glasses are manufactured. I think it would be a lot easier to help out people in third world countries if the glasses were made to be easily fixed and repaired. When glasses are given away for free, it is hoped that they last for a while but that is not always the case. Sometimes they break or crack and nothing can be done about it. I think the glasses should be built so that anyone can easily replace each part of the pair of glasses. With the glasses we usually use, if something breaks you have to take your glasses to a repair shop or use a somewhat expensive tool kit to fix it. If every part of the glasses are easily replaceable, then the person who buys them could fix it themselves. It could also help with glasses that are broken during transport. I think reducing the cost of the system in place is the way to solve this problem.