John Boom

John Boom.
This experience made me realize that [in the future] I don’t just want to be a bench engineer — I want to work in an interdisciplinary team and lead projects like this one.


Biomedical Engineering and Chemistry ’22

Project Team

During my freshman year, I was taking Engineering 101 and by random luck, I was assigned to a global health project looking to address the gap in women’s healthcare globally. I found that project really interesting, so going into my sophomore year, I started looking for another global health project with a focus on increasing access to the technologies that are accessible in the high-income countries, but aren’t generally available in a lot of regions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

[This Bass Connections project] is run like an actual business. As a part of the design team, I was in charge of helping integrate the camera into the tip of the device. There are a lot of engineering challenges associated with the process, so my work has revolved around trying to solve those issues.

Low-cost and easy-to-use laparoscope.
Low-cost and easy-to-use laparoscopic equipment (Photo: Courtesy of Tamara Fitzgerald and Jenna Mueller)

Something I have really enjoyed about this project is that it felt like working at a company with lots of small projects going on simultaneously. I get to watch weekly presentations from the clinical trial subteam and weekly presentations from the economics students who are running the business subteam, so I get a different perspective on how everything is implemented, which has been really wonderful.

This prototype was supposed to be done six months ago. There’s been weekly tests, everything has been getting better, but it’s hard to communicate that [to others] when you’re working with a really tough problem. In an engineering project like this, you spend 99 percent of your time failing, but it’s rewarding when you experience problem after problem and then reach another major milestone. It’s a fantastic feeling to say ‘Aha, this kind of works! I fixed this problem and it won’t appear again.’

This experience made me realize that [team leader Tamara Fitzgerald’s role] is something I really want to have. I don’t just want to be a bench engineer — I want to work in an interdisciplinary team and lead projects like this one.

Members of the project team presenting the low-cost ReadyView Laparoscope to local surgeons
Members of the 2018-19 project team presenting the low-cost laparoscope to local surgeons in Kampala, Uganda (Photo: Courtesy of Aryaman Gupta)

November 2021; excerpts from a conversation with Milena Ozernova ’22. See related article.