Stephanie Gardner

Stephanie Gardner

What has been your favorite class at Baskin School of Engineering?

My bioethics class was really interesting. I like the philosophy side mixed with the bio side. The best part about studying biomolecular engineering at UC Santa Cruz is that you get taught by the people who are really influential in the field. At this bioethics class, every week we had one of those speakers come and talk about their current research or something they found interesting which also had a bioethics aspect to it. Getting to hear research from the people who do what they’re talking about and are really influential in the field was really fascinating. It was the earliest class I had and I went to it every day. I saw Rebecca DuBois talk about her work with viruses and vaccines, and her lecture was really interesting to me.

What do you like most about BSOE?

Being a biomolecular engineer, the faculty here are really remarkable in the field and it’s kind of surprising when you can just walk by someone who worked on the Human Genome Project. You just walk by them in passing. That’s probably the coolest part about the school.

What do you like most about Santa Cruz?

My favorite thing about Santa Cruz is the beach and how you could be on campus and really stressed out but you can just go to the beach and the air is completely different. It’s like you’re in a different place. It’s really fresh and it can center you. I used to live a few blocks from the beach and before midterms, in the mornings I was really stressed out about my test anxiety. I’d just walk to the beach, walk around a little, and then walk back to the bus and go up to campus and it actually helps a lot with test anxiety and keeping calm during that time.

What would be your dream job after school?

Currently, my dream job would be a president or vice president at a biopharmaceutical company. Clinical research has always interested me. I’m not sure which grad school to go to. I feel like I need to get my feet wet first and figure out what I like and don’t like before I can commit to a grad school or one career path. This past summer I learned that I don’t want to do wet lab research. I have shaky hands and when you’re holding a tiny pipette, the slightest shake will really mess with the work. Biomolecular engineering is a lot of pipetting and putting liquids into other liquids over and over again.

If you were the president of a company, what kind of company would that be?

For a class, I had to write a grant proposal for a biomolecular engineering topic. I chose biodegradable photosynthesis sensors to research and see if it was possible and it seems that, with enough research and funding and a little more time to get the chemistry right, it’s possible to make them. So that’s what my company would be if I had a choice. Agriculture tech is actually an interest I’ve taken recently. Photosynthesis sensors can tell a plant’s photosynthetic rate. The rate depends on things like water usage. Does the plant have enough water? This has an effect on their photosynthesis and that would be detected by the sensor and you can then optimize water usage and therefore use water more efficiently and save more. Water conservation is a pretty hot topic right now.

What unique qualities do you bring to engineering?

With engineering in general, you have to be pretty good at your classes to make it because they’re pretty hard. But I’ve read that in the field, even if you know what you’re doing, if you don’t work well with others you won’t make it very far. I find that to be true. Past internships I’ve worked in and even working in groups in class , being a people person and being able to talk to people and communicate efficiently helps in the long run.

Department: 
Biomolecular Engineering
Degree Program: 
Bachelor's of Science, Bioengineering
Place of Birth: 
San Mateo, CA
Undergraduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz