Grace Herron

Class of 2026
Major: Bioengineering
Hometown: Forest Hill, MD
High School: North Harford High School
What Made You Decide to Attend UMD?
I never took a tour of UMD to understand how welcoming the environment is; all I had to do was walk around campus and interact with current students, and I realized it was the place for me! I saw peers playing spike ball and relaxing on Mckeldin, and student-led environmental groups collecting trash to make UMD a cleaner place. Not only did the school environment feel wonderful, the engineering and computer science school is ranked nationally for their programs. The University of Maryland is a top tier institution that prioritizes the academic and social wellbeing of their students, and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision to attend this amazing school.
Best Experience with a Class or Project
The best academic experience I’ve had was in my BIOE120: Biology for Engineers class with Professor Kuo, which is a class that all Bioengineering freshmen will complete! She was a spectacular lecturer and mentor who encouraged critical thinking and hands-on engineering experiences. In this class, we learned about stem cell differentiation, collagen formation, and the innerworkings of COVID vaccines; this class covered so many health concepts in understandable ways. Professor Kuo also used her own, on campus research with collagen formation to explain the realities of a career in academia. The way that Professor Kuo structured the content made it a fascinating experience that solidified my decision to become a bioengineer. 
Favorite Class in Major
BIOE489K: Pulmonary Engineering
Favorite Class Out of Major
BSCV191: Introduction to CIVICUS
Student Organizations/Extracurricular Activities
On campus, I am a part of CIVICUS, which is a two-year citation program focused on political engagement, community service learning and leadership development. I am a freshman peer mentor for CIVICUS, ClarkLEAD and Women in Engineering (WIE), where I connect with incoming students and help them adjust to the academic and social rigor of college. In addition, I am also the Editor in Chief and the Sample Selection Sub Team Manager for the Terraformers Mars Rover Club, an organization dedicated to making a Mars Rover that can compete in the international University Rover Challenge. Finally, I am working with Science Competitions Advocating for Learning Equity (SCALE), which partners with Prince Georges County Public Elementary Schools to bring hands-on science competitions and interactive STEM content to the classroom. 
Favorite On-Campus Event
My favorite On-Campus event would have to be the annual HerStory conference held by the Adele's Circle of Women. HerStory is a seminar dedicated to linking successful University of Maryland alumnae with current on campus student leaders, and this event is also when the Adeles Circle of Women Scholarship is announced. I was privileged to not only attend this inspiring event, but also to have won the scholarship.  Being surrounded by successful and enthusiastic women overflowed my pride for the resources and opportunities made available to me at UMD. The conversations I had with my peers and the alumnae will stick with me forever, and I am forever grateful to have attended the HerStory conference. 
Favorite Research or Study Abroad Experiences
My favorite research experience would have to be in BIOE121: Biology for Engineers Laboratory. Every experiment we performed was relevant to Bioengineering, such as gel electrophoresis and mammalian cell cultures. For our final project, we had to design, perform, and present an experiment that we had full control over. This allowed my group to apply all concepts learned throughout the semester with the freedom of our own passions. BIOE121 was extremely collaborative, creative, and fun!
Cool Engineering Experience
I am the Editor in Chief and the Sample Selection Sub Team Manager for the UMD Terraformers, an organization dedicated to designing a Mars Rover that can compete in the international University Rover Challenge. Being involved in this club is the best engineering experience I’ve had so far, since the club is extremely hands on and encourages engagement and critical thinking from all members. I’ve had the ability to build rover prototypes from 3D printed materials, handle machinery and discuss scientific processes to confirm life in simulated Mars soil samples. 
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