Congratulations to Sanika Pandit ’21, who was recently awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP)! The NSF GRFP recognizes graduate students in science, technology, engineering, and math who are pursuing further education in masters and doctoral programs. The fellows receive opportunities for international research and professional development, as well as an annual stipend to help with the cost of tuition and fees. Pandit currently works alongside Dean Andrew Lyon of the Fowler School of Engineering for the Lyon Group, where their research focuses on various aspects of soft materials chemistry and physics for applications in bioengineering.
Sanika graduated in 2021 with double major in Biological Sciences and Computer Science. While in undergrad, Pandit dedicated her time to work alongside Dean Lyon in the Lyon Group to begin her research experience, as well as an active member of the Schmid Student Leadership Council, Chapman Ambassadors, Tri-Beta Honor Society, and more.
We asked Sanika to answer a few questions about her research experience and her years at Chapman!
Q & A with Sanika Pandit
Q: What sparked your interest in biomedical engineering?
Pandit: Working in Dean Lyon’s research group really solidified my passion for biomedical engineering. Being able to double major in biology and computer science allowed me to enhance a lot of the wet lab skills I learned in my biology classes with computational tools, through classes and electives in the computer science program.
Q: Share a little bit about your research involvement as an undergraduate. Who did you work with and what did you learn?
Pandit: I have spent most of my time as an undergraduate working with Dean Lyon. Over the years I’ve worked on a variety of different research projects ranging from the synthesis of microgels, imaging artificial platelets, and 3D-bioprinting. Working in the Lyon group helped me gain a lot of experience in various laboratory techniques, but most importantly it has helped me grow intellectually as a scientist. Dean Lyon has constantly challenged me to think critically about the big picture of the work that I am doing and engage thoughtfully in the scientific process.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to specifically thank who helped guide you throughout this process or your time in Schmid/Fowler?
Pandit: I want to thank Dean Lyon for being an incredible mentor, without whom I wouldn’t be the scientist that I am today. Working with Dean Lyon helped me discover what I was passionate about and he has helped me grow to become a more confident researcher. Alongside Dean Lyon, Dr. Erik Linstead and Prof. Lauren Dudley have both continuously supported me academically and through the process of me finding my passion for biomedical engineering.
Q: What are you most excited for in the future?
Pandit: Being awarded the GRFP really opens so many doors in terms of graduate programs for me, so I am super excited to see what comes of that. With pursuing a Ph.D. I am so excited to be following my passions and furthering my career in the field of regenerative medicine.
Congratulations again Sanika! We are excited to see you continue to succeed with your research and postgraduate endeavors!