Biomechatronics

Two students learn to use technology for healing

Two WWU students, McKenna Butler and Garren Miler, had the opportunity to work with the Florida Conference Institute for Innovation as interns for the biomechatronics program this summer.

This program provides STEM students with the opportunity to complete projects of their choosing under the mentorship of experts at Loma Linda University. These projects have included virtual reality for amputees, reading electricity as it passes through muscles, prosthetic design, and developing active ankle orthotics that lift the feet of patients with foot drop.

Program participants are given access to any software, databases, or parts that they will need for their project. In addition, students are connected with the Orthotics and Prosthetics department at Loma Linda University where they receive mentorship from experts.

“I learned what it looks like to ideate with professionals,” said McKenna Butler, senior product design student. “Through our virtual meetings, I showed what I had worked on, received feedback, brainstormed, and refined the direction of the project. Classes can only do so much to prepare you for professional work, but experiencing how professionals think and what they value will serve me well.”

This program was established several years ago for high school students, but it has only been available as a college internship opportunity since the summer of 2020. This program has provided STEM students, who have struggled to find internships due to the pandemic, with an opportunity to gain the valuable, experiential, and professional development needed to find jobs after graduation.

“I appreciated the open concept and flexibility of the program,” said Garren Miler, senior mechanical engineering student. “The scope of the project is up to the individual participant, and they can still work another job if necessary. Participants are not paid but are awarded a scholarship the following school year.”

For more information or to suggest an internship opportunity, visit wallawalla.edu/internships.

Posted November 1, 2021

A photo of Garren Miler and McKenna Butler at their computers.
This summer WWU students, McKenna Butler and Garren Miler, had the opportunity to work with the Florida Conference Institute for Innovation as interns for the biomechatronics program.

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