May 1, 2023
Gwendolyn Davis hails from Jackson, Mississippi, and was first attracted to MSU because her father had studied here. Gwendolyn attended the IMAGE Summer Bridge Program hosted by MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering. It is a summer program for incoming freshman engineering students. She says, “I’m forever grateful for that program because most of those who attended became lifelong friends!”
Gwendolyn was always interested in science and saw herself in a career in the medical field. However, she didn’t start out knowing exactly what major to pursue. Early in her time at MSU, Gwendolyn had a class with Dr. Lakeisha Williams, a former faculty member in ABE, now at University of Florida. Dr. Williams was a favorite professor for Gwendolyn, who was greatly encouraged to see a female minority professor who was very accomplished and confident in the biological engineering field.
After completing her B.S. in Biological Engineering at MSU, Gwendolyn decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics at University of Mississippi Medical Center. She was interested in physiology dating back to high school. She says, “I like understanding why things happen. In physiology, I could understand how the human body typically functions and the reasons behind abnormal processes that result from or lead to injury and disease.” During graduate school, Gwendolyn had multiple opportunities to present her research at national conferences. She also received awards for poster presentations and conference abstracts. Outside of coursework, she participated in community service events and served on programming committees at the institutional and national level.
When asked about future plans, she says, “I want to continue learning!” She now works in research and development at Medtronic. “Here, I can combine my love for physiology with my interest in medical technology. I’m interested in how advancements in technology will improve our understanding of medicine and how that will impact early detection and management of disease.”
Thinking back on her time at MSU, she remembers struggling to balance academics with extracurricular activities. She enjoyed participating in sporting events, social clubs, service organizations, and the like. “I had to learn how to manage my time and to be organized to know what I could and couldn’t do.” When asked what advice she would give to a current student in BME, she replied, “Stay the course! An engineering degree can be very challenging at times, but it’s also very rewarding. It is okay if you don’t have everything figured out now. You just have to be willing to take the first step.”
by Alexandra Williams and Dr. J. Alex Thomasson