Alumni Q&A: Michael Marinier ’17
What made you choose Johns Hopkins?
I chose Hopkins because my favorite high school teacher (physics) was from the city and recommended that I apply since he knew I was interested in engineering and medicine. Once I looked into JHU, I knew I wanted to come here and be a part of the translational research within the university and the department. It was also an added bonus that our campus is beautiful, which is what sealed the deal for me.
Were you involved in any research in the department?
I was involved in independent research at the med campus and specifically the Elisseeff Group in the Translation Tissue Engineering Center (TTEC). I worked on a few projects at TTEC mostly focused on the testing, engineering, and synthesis of hydrogels. In addition to my independent research, I led a design team this past year, where my team and I were focused on engineering a novel embolic device.
Do you have any memories that stand out from the classroom or lab?
I definitely have a few memories from my time at Hopkins. One specific memory I have is from Prof. McGuiggan’s Materials Chemistry course my freshman year, where we were learning about concrete and cement. Although it was more of a side-note rather than the focus of the chemistry class, I always thought it was very interesting, and it became even more interesting in Prof. McGuiggan’s Ceramics class this past spring, where we learned so much more about it. That’s just one memory that stands out since it came full-circle, and I have plenty more from my time in Maryland Hall and the undergraduate lab in the basement.
More generally: how did you get interested in materials science and engineering?
Like I mentioned before, my decision to pursue Materials Science and Hopkins stemmed from my interest in medicine and engineering. I was actually enrolled as a ChemBE, but when it came to choosing classes ahead of my freshman year I decided to switch to Materials Science and pursue biomaterials, and I’ve never looked back. I wanted to work on tissue engineering and with medical technologies that I may have the opportunity to work with in the future as a physician, and again, I thought biomaterials is the field to be in.
What’s next for you after graduation?
Like I just alluded to, I am pursuing a career in medicine, so I am taking a gap year before medical. My main priority during the gap year is getting out my applications to schools, but I will also be working on some clinical research. After this year, I will hopefully be starting medical school in the late summer/early fall of 2018.
Do you have any advice for aspiring engineers and materials scientists?
Other than the obvious ones like making sure to go to class and actually paying attention, I would say try getting involved with activities and research early because it may help you figure out what you want to do with your career. For me early on, I was so fixated on being pre-med that I didn’t see all of the interesting facets of our department. I think I had the wrong impression about a lot of areas in the materials science field because I didn’t try and get involved early on. The way I see it is that if you try something early on you can decide if you like it and you want to continue with it or if you don’t like it and want to move on. Either way you still gain experience and an appreciation for the areas that you do enjoy.