My name is Maria Jose Quezada — but I go by Joe. I was born and raised in Mexico City. I moved to the US for college around three years ago, and I can say it has been a great experience so far.
Leaving my home country to attend ASU was a hard decision. However, being a the largest public university in the US has given me a lot of opportunities to grow as a student, engineering, and professional. After being accepted into Barrett and reading about the different ways to customize my experience through the Fulton schools, ASU was the place I wanted to be at. I am a rising senior studying Biomedical Engineering. Engineering was an easy choice for me, since both of my parents are engineers and I always enjoyed math and solving problems. One of my main motivations is helping people and working in the medical area. Biomedical Engineering was the perfect combination to fulfill my passions and my motivations.
I became a Grand Challenge Scholar my sophomore year. As a freshman I did not know about the program. Nonetheless, I had already fulfilled some requirements like studying abroad. The Grand Challenge Scholar Program was an excellent way to put all my work into one place. Volunteering and doing outreach through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, doing research in neurorehabilitation area, having a global, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurship mind set have all come together in this program.
As a biomedical engineer, the Grand Challenge I am most interested in is reverse engineering the brain. I have been working in understanding the ways brain signals muscles to control upper arm movements, specifically finger movements. The objective of my research is to stimulate the brain stem through the startle reflex — an involuntary movement, for rehabilitation for stroke survivors. This research has motivated me to pursue a dual PhD program that combines Physical Therapy and Biomedical Engineering. In the future, I want to create technology and therapy methods to better the quality of life of older people and people with disabilities.