Biomedical Engineering Department Celebrates First Graduating Cohort

Two years ago, the CSULB College of Engineering celebrated the launch of its standalone degree program for the fast-growing field of Biomedical Engineering, and on Friday, the first cohort of graduates celebrated completion of the program.

“This is a very exciting moment, because we are graduating our first cohort of the newly established department,” said Biomedical Engineering Chair Shadnaz Asgari. “We are all feeling very proud of every single one of you.”

The 18-member Biomedical Engineering Class of 2019 showed off their final projects, received awards, and mingled with faculty and classmates.

Asgari told students they are lucky to live in a top state and region for jobs in the field. California has more Biomedical Engineering jobs than any other state. San Diego-Carlsbad, Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale are the nation’s fourth, fifth, and sixth largest regions for biomedical engineering jobs.

California Biomedical Engineering jobs pay a median salary above $100,000, the second-highest of any state. “But more important than money, I hope you enjoy what you’re doing,” said Asgari. “What I have seen in this field so far, teaching Biomedical Engineering—I can see a lot of passion.”

The program was the brainchild of a half-dozen faculty—Asgari, I-Hung Khoo, David Stout, Maryam Moussavi, and Associate Dean of Research Hamid Rahai—who spent nine months in 2015 putting together a plan for the curriculum. A year later, faculty members Perla Ayala, Emel Demircan, and Roger Lo joined the effort.

The program launched in 2017 with 80 students and nine Biomedical Engineering courses. Enrollment has more than doubled to 150 students and 16 courses.

Students are presenting their research at conferences such as the Biomedical Engineering Annual Meeting, Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. They are also securing summer internships at Purdue University, University of California Irvine, University of California San Francisco, University of Texas Austin, and Chapman University.

Students graduating in the first cohort are:

  • Alaa Abdin
  • Zachary Aryton Angeles-Molina
  • Michael Evan Azarie
  • Josue Alexander Bolanos
  • Thuy Linh Dinh
  • Joselene Janely Enriquez Villegas
  • Christopher Howell
  • Mohammad Haytham Khamis
  • Heather Claire Latham
  • Daniel Mata
  • Thuy Hoang Nguyen
  • Thaw Zin Oo
  • Maralin Pang
  • Steven Richard Parker
  • Binh Pham
  • Monika Raafat Gad Sephen
  • Kellie Treanor
  • Mark Anthony van der Eb

Treanor, who transferred from San Jose State University, said she enjoyed her brief time at CSULB. “It went really fast,” she said. “We have a really good group. We know each other and work well together.”

Nguyen, a transfer student from El Camino College, was initially interested in medical school, but put off by the long years of study it would take to be a doctor. With her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, she hopes to be able to find a job.

Van der Eb, a transfer from Pasadena City College, developed an interest in Arduino programming, since it provided the foundation for most class projects. In addition, he made close friends and felt a strong connection with faculty members. “I probably made five friends for life,” he said.