Our Next Generation’s Reflections of EMBC’17

EMBC is the annual flagship conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. EMBC’17 was held from 11-15 July on the gorgeous Jeju Island of South Korea. The conference attracted around 2,802 participants representing 64 countries. More than 40% of the attendees were trainees. The organizing committee prepared a spectacular program that featured career development workshops and talks by pioneers in their field, all of which resonated with the EMBC’17 theme of “Smarter Technology for a Healthier World.” Keynote speeches included both academic and industry leaders, which helped showcase the synergistic possibilities when both sectors work together.

On the student side, various activities were organized such as the student paper competition, where 5 regional and 10 open finalists receive travel support ($1000 for regional and $500 for open finalists).The overall 1st place winner gets additional $1000, 2nd place winners gets additional $750, and 3rd place winner gets additional $500. This competitions runs every year at EMBC. This year, Gabriela Torres (University of North Carolina) won 1st place, Soojin Lee (The University of British Columbia) won 2nd place, and Eli Kinney-Lang (University of Edinburgh) won 3rd place. In a record for this year, 50 Biomedical Engineering leaders participated in the Lunch with Leaders event, where students got the opportunity to converse with EMB leaders about career development pearls. In another interactive event called “Meet the Editor,” students discussed suggestions/feedback with the Editors-in-chief of EMBS journals. Additional mentoring and networking events included a Women in Engineering (WIE) Luncheon, and Students and Young Professionals Reception, all of which were very well received.

In addition to being our future generation, EMBS trainees are one of our society’s most important assets. Thus, we want to provide a voice for them here.

Eli Kinney-Lang, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Finalists of the IEEE EMBS Student Paper Contest receiving their awards.

Finalists of the IEEE EMBS Student Paper Contest receiving their awards.

As a student, the EMBC’2017 offered me a unique experience through participating in the Student Paper Competition. It was the first competition for me which included both a written and presentation component, providing me with a chance to practice my communication skills across the spectrum (and here…again). I was excited that my research on elucidating and using age-specific patterns from children for brain-computer interfaces was given a slot to present during the competition in addition to the standard conference schedule, allowing for me to build network connections across a broader spectrum at the conference. Additionally, talking with the other student competition participants gave me a solid base network to meet-up-with and say-hello-to at various social gatherings throughout the week. Overall, the student competition was a great experience, providing me with a challenge in effective communication, great networking opportunities, and free registration to boot!

Kana Eguchi, Kyoto University, Japan

Students discussing career pearls with Steve Wright (Texas A&M University, USA) at the Lunch with Leaders session.

Students discussing career pearls with Steve Wright (Texas A&M University, USA) at the Lunch with Leaders session.

I participated in EMBC as a student for the first time, and I was really surprised this year’s EMBC held lots of on-site events for students including Lunch with Leaders and Student/YP reception. While I’m the only one who researches biosignal processing in my laboratory, there are a lot of researchers who work on that area from different perspectives in the world. Discussing this research topic as well as each background was definitely an exciting experience for me. Aside from the student events, one of the most impressive experiences for me was the Women in Engineering luncheon. I originally thought that gender difficulties were unique to a male-oriented society, but I found that this is a common problem all over the world. Most women experience similar things in different research fields or in different countries, even if they are in professional positions. I hope that activity targeting gender equality in this field will benefit everyone regardless of background.

Ilaria Cinelli, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland

Ilaria Cinelli (NIU Galway, Ireland) and Dol-harubang on Jeju Island, right after she gave her talk at EMBC’17.

Ilaria Cinelli (NIU Galway, Ireland) and Dol-harubang on Jeju Island, right after she gave her talk at EMBC’17.

“The perfect balance” is the right sentence to summarize the experience I had at the IEEE EMBC 2017! This was my third EMBC, but the first as Invited Speaker! I was over the Moon (maybe on Mars!) when I received two invitations as speaker! I also had a standard talk and a poster about it. This is a great professional and personal achievement for me, considering I am still a (PhD) student. You cannot get bored at IEEE EMBC! The conference was well-organized and the daily program is scheduled with the right balance of keynote speakers and panels. Then, there were too many great experts to talk to! EMBC 2017 gave me the chance to visit a beautiful country, South Korea, and to receive a wonderful welcome. Thank you to the organizers and to my new friends for the lovely memories I have of this fantastic conference time!

Kevin Dick, Carleton University, Canada

Kevin Dick, (Carleton University, Canada) receiving the 2017 Outstanding EMBS Student Club/Chapter Award from the EMBS President, Nigel Lovell. The Carleton University student chapter organized the 2016 IEEE EMBS International student conference. The conference was a huge success for EMBS students. Congratulations!

Kevin Dick, (Carleton University, Canada) receiving the 2017 Outstanding EMBS Student Club/Chapter Award from the EMBS President, Nigel Lovell. The Carleton University student chapter organized the 2016 IEEE EMBS International student conference. The conference was a huge success for EMBS students. Congratulations!

Receiving the Outstanding Performance Award from the EMBS President himself, Dr. Nigel Lovell, at EMBC’17 was a moment that captured innumerable hours of hard work and the dedication of the community of biomedical engineering in Ottawa, Canada! Carleton University had the privilege to host the 2016 International Student Conference, which was a resounding success and established a new standard of excellence. It was an honor to receive international recognition for our efforts and share our experience with other student representatives from around the world. Most notably, engaging in conversation revealed the veritable passionate with which each individual pursues their area of study. In this way, young professionals are increasingly advancing the frontier of the biomedical engineering domain!

Alexander Tataraidze, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia

I think that EMBC is the best conference in Biomedical Engineering generally, and in the field of sleep monitoring in particular. I try to participate at EMBC every year. It was my 3rd conference and 3rd YP reception. The reception gave me a lot of new interesting connections. It is always a pleasure to meet people from past receptions again at a new EMBC. I think that EMBC and YP receptions are great opportunities and events which all students and YP must participate in every year.

Meena M. Makary, Kyung Hee University, South Korea

It was my first time attending an EMBC conference, yet I believe I’ve gained my best professional-technical experience package there. I think EMBC is an ideal venue to experience and network with pioneers in the Biomedical Engineering field. During the conference, I enjoyed the professional organization, scientific contents reflected in the informative plenary talks, keynotes, oral, and poster sessions. My most memorable experience was the lunch with leaders session with Prof. Bin He. It provided an exceptional opportunity for personal and technical experience transfer from the leaders to students. I believe this should positively affect the professional career of the young generation. Participating in the student paper competition provided me an excellent opportunity to present my work, with competition spirit, to a diverse audience. I would like to thank every single person participated in organizing such great conference. I am looking forward to attending the next EMBC in Hawaii and I also encourage other students to consider submitting their works for the future EMBC meetings.

Oksana Semenova, University College Cork, Ireland

At the Student and Young Professional reception. From left to right: Reza Shoorangiz (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Patrick Kiele (University of Freiburg, Germany), Ahmed Metwally (University of Illinois, Chicago), Oksana Semenova (University College Cork, Ireland), Kana Eguchi (Kyoto University, Japan), Ilaria Cinelli (National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland), Alexander Tataraidze (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia).

At the Student and Young Professional reception. From left to right: Reza Shoorangiz (University of Canterbury, New Zealand), Patrick Kiele (University of Freiburg, Germany), Ahmed Metwally (University of Illinois, Chicago), Oksana Semenova (University College Cork, Ireland), Kana Eguchi (Kyoto University, Japan), Ilaria Cinelli (National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland), Alexander Tataraidze (Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia).

Every conference is always an exceptional opportunity to get new ideas and to network with other students and professionals. With a great keynote speakers and other presenters of EMBC 2017, this event was particularly useful in a sense of expanding my skills and experience exchanging. A great special added value of this conference was lunch with leaders. I have got an amazing opportunity to sit at the same table with Steven Wright who is Professor at Texas A&M University and also a director of the Magnetic Resonance Systems Lab at Texas A&M. Despite a huge gap in professional experience our conversation was easy going and very interesting. We have discussed both professional and personal aspects of life which are an integral part of the successful research. Importance of being always open to new opportunities, knowledge and people was my personal takeaway message. EMBC 2017 is just a perfect combination of good organization, an amazing venue and great people.

Hanji Lee, Gachon University, South Korea

This was the first time that we participated in an international conference. Like everyone else, we also made a lot of effort to get involved in the conference. I felt that our efforts were not in vain when I participated in the conference. It was a chance to increase our motivation for our research. The moment I spent with everyone I met at the conference was valuable. I want to experience this experience in Hawaii next year.

Students from Gachon University, Korea cheering with the EMBS student representative after the Lunch with leaders session. From left to right: Jaeseung Kim, Soyeon Park, Youngeun Hwang, Bokyoung Kim, Hyeon Cho, Ahmed Metwally, Taejin Kim, Jaehong Lee, and Bonghyuk Jeong.

Students from Gachon University, Korea cheering with the EMBS student representative after the Lunch with leaders session. From left to right: Jaeseung Kim, Soyeon Park, Youngeun Hwang, Bokyoung Kim, Hyeon Cho, Ahmed Metwally, Taejin Kim, Jaehong Lee, and Bonghyuk Jeong.