What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Diana Caduff. I was born in Switzerland and my mother is Colombian. I’ve moved around my entires life but settled in Miami 9 years ago.
Which degree did you pursue from FIU?
I obtained my degree in Biomedical Engineering (cum laude) in May 2018. Now, I’m a few months away from starting medical school class of 2023! I took a gap year in which I worked and volunteered while I was applying to medical school.
What’s it like being a woman in your field? Do you feel that your gender gives you a different perspective and/or experience from your male colleagues?
There is this common stereotype/gender bias that surrounds the field on engineering. As a woman, I felt that I had to work harder to show my professors and colleagues that I deserved to be here just as much as any of the male colleagues.
What is the most challenging part about being an engineer?
I think the most challenging part about being a biomedical engineer is that it combines product development (engineering) with medicine (biology). It is hard enough to be good at one, but as biomedical engineers, we have to be at least decent in both. Fortunately, FIU’s undergraduate program teaches its students to have this broad knowledge of every subject in order to understand and complete a project.
Were you a part of any clubs or organizations at FIU?
I was a part of a social sorority (Phi Sigma Sigma) and the Medical fraternity (Phi Delta Epsilon).
Do you have any female mentors or role models that you look up to?
I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, friends, faculty, mentors, and peers. Jung was definitely someone I looked up to throughout my years at FIU. I felt motivated, more self-assured, and less anxious having her as my mentor. Not only was she a great mentor, but I joined her lab a few semesters after starting, where she helped me open myself up and feel more confident in my field and aid in some of the lab’s projects.
Which part about your BME experience are you most proud of and/or excited for?
I am very proud I stuck with this major and that I am a female engineer (and soon to be doctor). I was also part of the ANS Lab and I am so proud I was able to present some of my work in conferences and of how the NEP project is coming along. And lastly, I’m proud of all my hard work that I, along with those in my senior design team, did.
Do you have any advice for women in BME?
At first, I was so scared to be a woman in BME because of all the stereotypes of women in that field. But, FIU’s BME department is such a close-knit family and they truly made me feel comfortable. The mentors and counselors will guide you in the right directions and all your professors will make sure you get to the finish line. It’ll be competitive and lots of studying but if this is your passion, it’s definitely not impossible. Keep pushing yourself and step outside of your comfort zone while still enjoying your undergraduate experience!