Alumni Spotlight - Michael McKnight

Front Page Summary: 

Former National TSA National Officer, Michael McKnight, shares how his TSA roots brought him to pursue Biomedical Engineering


My interest in the STEM areas was a evident ever since I was little, as I always wanted to travel to science museums and the like, and as I watched my brother get involved in TSA I wanted to try it out as well. Since I am an experiential learner, getting to participate in hands-on projects through TSA really confirmed my desire to find a way I could combine my innate abilities in science and math, with my desire to also use my creative brain.
Within TSA, I participated in all levels and all types of competitions, ranging from Film, to Electrical Applications, to Agriculture and Biotechnology. I also held officer positions from the school level up to the level of National TSA Treasurer.

TSA really influenced my career interests because it exposed me to such diverse opportunities in the STEM fields, that I was really able to find out which areas interested me the most. Also, participation in such a wide array of competitions has encouraged me to seek ways to combine seemingly unrelated interests.

The middle school I attended had a very strong technology education program, and I participated in these courses every semester that I was allowed. Throughout high school, I focused on taking high-level math and science courses, and also took courses in architectural and mechanical drafting.

I arrived at college knowing that biomedical engineering was a growing field and that it would allow me to combine my passions for helping society and my interests in technology. I really realized this was the right choice as I began to have courses that cover so many different disciplines, from electrical engineering, to tissue engineering, to human physiology. My current courses include Engineering Physiology, Medical Instrumentation, Signal Processing, Manufacturing & Design, and Spanish.

I really expect biomedical engineering to be a rapidly growing field in the coming decades because we are currently seeing such quick advancements in technologies that bring innovative technologies directly to the user. In healthcare, there are such a wide array of needs still present, and integrating technology and medicine will create the quickest way to solve these issues.

For any student who is interested in a STEM career, my first advice would be to go out and explore areas you do not know about. I have friends who are studying in areas such as textile technologies, to poultry science and these are majors that I did not even realize were available.

In the U.S. in the next ten years, biomedical engineering is expected to grow faster than any other engineering discipline, and will almost double in available jobs. This is because there is going to be such a need from the ripple effect due to the baby boomers, and their successive generations will be reaching old age and needing better medical care.
Any young people interested in science, technology, engineering, and math should really find ways to get hands-on exposure. Projects such as those I did as a member of TSA really helped me see how these fields can be used to become an innovator and an inventor.