After committing to Boston University this spring, one of the first people I met was Amanda Kopelman, a biomedical engineering major on the pre-med track from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was immediately struck by Amanda’s friendly, outgoing personality, but also her confidence and ambition — Amanda has one of the most impressive high-school resumes that I’ve ever seen! Read on to learn more about Amanda’s experiences with STEM, a few of her many outstanding accomplishments, and some of her plans for the future!
Q: What made you decide to come to BU?
A: I chose BU because I wanted a college environment that would not only provide me with challenging academics but also with social experiences in an urban environment. I absolutely love living in a city because I feel energized and motivated each day.
Q: Why did you choose to study Biomedical Engineering in college?
A: Ever since I joined my high school’s competitive robotics team in nineth grade, I began to realize all the incredible things robotics can be used for. Because I am very passionate about medicine as well, biomedical engineering is a perfect way to combine my passions while also fulfilling my pre-med course requirements. BME is also very exciting because of all the hands-on design opportunities available as an upperclassman.
Q: It’s so cool to hear about your membership on the robotics team! I know you also completed some research about robotics throughout high school. What was your experience with this like?
A: In high school, I discovered my passion for medicine and robotics through the courses I took and by joining the robotics team. As I continued my high school journey, I began to realize the connections between medicine and robotics, and I learned that the combination of those two fields was something I was extremely interested in. In my junior year, I had the opportunity to take part in a medical fellowship where I learned basic suturing and intubation skills, shadowed specialists, and wrote my first research paper on the future of robotics in medicine. The following year, I took an independent research course and began developing a documentary on how robots will impact the future of medicine. I look forward to continuing my research on this topic, in addition to hopefully developing robotic tools themselves.
Q: I also remember reading that you were the top seller of Girl Scout Cookies in your region! Can you tell me more about your years with Girl Scouts USA?
A: I have been a Girl Scout for 13 years and am now officially a lifetime member. In high school, I earned my Silver and Gold Awards, which are the highest service awards a Girl Scout can earn. For my Gold Award, I designed an automated irrigation system that uses real-time data to algorithmically water plants to contribute to a more resource-conscious agriculture industry. I implemented this system in a local elementary school where I also wrote and taught a curriculum on technology and robotics. Not only do I love science, but I also love Girl Scout Cookies! (Who doesn’t?) I have been the top Girl Scout Cookie seller in Southeast Florida for seven consecutive years, where I sold over 40,000 boxes of cookies. These achievements enabled me to be selected to take on a national internship with Girl Scouts of the USA to plan our 2020 national convention, hosting over 15,000 international attendees, which was sadly canceled due to the pandemic.
Q: It’s clear that you care deeply about making a difference in your community, which I can also see through your involvement with the Precious Dreams Foundation. What inspired you to become a part of this organization, and what does your work look like?
A: Precious Dreams Foundation works with children in foster care and experiencing homelessness to learn healthy coping mechanisms and provide them with the tools to dream big and self-comfort. The incredible founder of PDF, Nicole Russell, began the organization in New York and came down to South Florida to begin a new chapter of the organization. I was lucky enough to be connected with Nicole and help by organizing comfort bag stuffing events, drop offs, and fundraisers including the 2020 national gala where I was a guest speaker alongside DJ Khaled! I have stuffed over 500 bags for the organization and absolutely love giving back to children who need love and support to grow into the best versions of themselves.
Q: What sorts of activities have you joined since coming to college? Do you hope to continue involvement with your previous organizations as well?
A: I have been in communication with Nicole and the Precious Dreams executive team throughout my time at BU, and we have some exciting plans coming to Boston in 2022! In addition to PDF, I am involved with many engineering clubs and mentoring programs on campus including Society of Women Engineers and the Pre-Medical Society.