Location: São Paulo, Brazil
Dates: August 12-15, 2014
My recent trip to São Paulo, Brazil for the bi-annual IEEE International Conference on Biomedical
Robotics and Biomechatronics (BIOROB) has been a major highlight during my graduate career. This
particular conference focused on the application of robotics and mechatronics in medicine and biology
and understanding their underlying scientific and engineering principles. My work in biomedical
engineering revolves around improving upper limb prosthetic devices through the use of advanced
technology. One of the most beneficial aspects about my trip was my chance to meet, face to face,
other researchers from around the world who are working in similar fields. I almost had to pay an extra
luggage fee on my return trip from all the business cards and contact information I had collected from
others at the conference. What was even more exciting was all the feedback I got regarding the work I
presented. Both positive and negative comments really helped give me a new perspective on my claims,
approaches, and the project overall. As a wide-eyed and bushy tailed graduate student, I walked away
from the conference even more enthusiastic than before. Seeing the brilliant work happening all across
the globe really inspired me to take my work to the next level.
An international conference wouldn’t be complete without a few pit stops at the local tourist traps,
so naturally I had to poke my nose around the city. At first, it seemed as if the entire city was a jungle of
concrete but I was soon proven wrong. There were beautiful parks, with more coconut water vendors
than you could shake a stick at, scattered throughout São Paulo that made it easy to feel like you had
completely escaped the city. Of course, one of the more memorable aspects of the city was the food.
Maybe it’s because I’m a graduate student, but it seems like the food is always enough to make or break
a place. Meat, cheese, bread, juice. It wasn’t very long before I started getting most excited about the
next meal. Growing up in America, I never knew juice could be so delicious. It was like drinking a liquid
version of the fruit....incredible.
Naturally, trips like this are expensive. Travel, lodging, registration...it adds up. Thankfully, through
the generous support of the GSA, I was fortunate enough to attend the conference. Not only was I able
to interact with big-wigs in my field while also presenting my own research, I got a valuable insight
into how the academic community works. I know that because of this trip I will grow and improve as a
scientist as well as an individual.
Classic cliché picture from plane window