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March 1: Carnegie Mellon's Sanna Gaspard Chosen as New Face of Engineering by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Chriss Swaney             

Carnegie Mellon's Sanna Gaspard Chosen as
New Face of Engineering by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

gaspardPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Sanna Gaspard was chosen as the 2010 Engineer's Week "New Face of Engineering" in February for her innovative research into a pediatric device to improve the overall heath and survival rate of newborn babies.   
The new "Faces of Engineering" recognition program is sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering associates, major corporations and government agencies. The program highlights the vitality, diversity and rich contributions of engineers under age 30.
"I was extremely excited about this accolade. I hope this award will encourage young engineers to explore the wealth of career options that exist for engineers ranging from entrepreneurship to field research. Specifically, I also hope that this award will encourage young women to pursue careers in the transformational field of engineering," said Gaspard, a 28-year-old Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.
To ensure that her pediatric technology will make it to hospitals and home nurseries where it could help infants, Gaspard founded a startup company called TLneoCare, LLC. Through TLneoCare she is commercializing a new neonatal physiotherapy unit that is designed to soothe and improve the health of newborns.
"Gaspard is a truly dedicated biomedical engineering student with an entrepreneurial spirit committed to translating her bio-instrumentation research and development to society, where it has the potential to save lives, said Alessandro Ferrero, past president of the IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Society and the award nominator.
To complete her studies at Carnegie Mellon, Gaspard is developing a diagnostic medical instrument for early pressure ulcer detection.
Todd Przybycien, a professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon and Gaspard's Ph.D. advisor, praised Gaspard for her unique mix of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. "Sanna's unique mix of creativity, resourcefulness and drive coupled with her strong work ethic make me think of her as the 'Energizer Bunny' of biomedical engineering — she is particularly good at knocking down obstacles in the way of her research goals. She is poised to have a great impact in the biomedical device community," Przybycien said.
A native of the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, she had initially wanted to be a neonatologist, but she was uncomfortable working in a hospital environment.  Her fascination with science and a natural drive to deconstruct objects as a child led her to pursue a graduate degree in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon in 2004. Gaspard plans to graduate with her doctorate in 2010.
She is a member of the IEEE's Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, IEEE's Instrumentation and Measurement Society and she founded the award-winning Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society at Carnegie Mellon.                     

Pictured above is Sanna Gaspard, a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering.