2018 International Student Scholarship Winners

BETiNs International Student Scholarship

Brenda Jie Yie Liew

Growing up in a developing nation in Southeast Asia, it was hard for me to find likeminded people who shared my passion for medical innovations. I was always a curious child, but my curiosity had always been ignored by the society that I grew up in. That was how I knew that the only way to quench my thirst for knowledge in science and technology was to receive an education in a developed country where my passion and determination would be valued. Therefore, I came to the United States for education. My love for medical innovations propelled me in the direction of a career in science and engineering. In order to achieve my goal of making the world a better place through medical innovations, I chose to major in Mechanical Engineering in college because it offered me a broad range of career choices in either healthcare, science, or technology.

Seven months after my arriving in the United States, I decided to apply for a research position on campus. Five weeks and two rejections later, I was offered a position as an undergraduate research assistant at a research center at Iowa State University. My research focus was virtual reality applications. Working at a research center with a group of stellar researchers and cutting-edge technology made me fall in love with technology even more. It was this work experience that introduced me to the idea of virtual reality applications in medicine. In the past year, I spent the majority of my time outside classes learning new programming languages and engines that would bring me a step closer to achieving my goals. Under the mentorship of a graduate student, I taught myself how to code in C++ and create 3D illustrations using Unity3D. However, the reality with any research work is that technology is never without flaws. One of the flaws in medical virtual reality is slow data processing time; so that has become my current main goal in my research.

Virtual reality visualization is a powerful tool that the 21st century has the privilege of seeing and using. I want my research effort to eventually provide better trainings for surgeons through virtual reality surgical planning before they even step into an operation room. In addition to that, as virtual reality becomes more developed in the future, it would slowly become an inexpensive and affordable technology for everyone. With this in mind, I want to make education accessible in the most remote areas of the world through virtual reality. This gives the underprivileged people from places where illiteracy is common and schools are scarce a chance at education and seeing the world, regardless of the distance.

Right now, I want to work on improving my skills to be a better researcher for the future generation. Therefore, it is very important that I have my college expenses taken care of. I want to say thank you, BETiNS. With the help of this scholarship, a world of endless possibilities is within my reach.