April 13, 2016
Hey everyone! My name is Nick Allen and I am a 2015 graduate from Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. While at ‘Cuse I studied biomedical engineering and minored in information management & technology.
Since graduation, my career has taken several different directions. Last May, I began working as a technology consultant for one of the big four audit firms. After about seven months, however, I was finding myself unfulfilled and itching to get involved in the medical field. That was when I decided to join BrainLAB as an application consultant in the NYC region. At BrainLAB we design, engineer, market, and sell “surgical navigation equipment” for use by neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, ENT (ear, nose, & throat) surgeons, and orthopedic surgeons. You can think of our devices as the Google Maps of the human body. With the help of our software, hardware, and a CT and/or MRI of the patient, the surgeon is able to virtually navigate the region of interest (i.e. a brain tumor) on a screen. A BrainLAB infrared camera tracks certain surgical instruments and overlays the instrument, in real time, over the patient’s scan. This allows surgeons to perform their surgeries more accurately, more efficiently, and less invasively. My role as an application consultant is to assist surgical teams with the operation of our devices during procedures. I am also responsible for performing troubleshooting, repairs, and updates on our systems across a set of accounts.
My time at SU prepared me for this role in many ways. From an engineering standpoint, my degree taught me how to think outside the box. Between the countless hours spent on complex engineering homework to system troubleshooting for my senior design project, I learned how to approach problems from different angles. At BrainLAB, we deal with system issues ranging from a touchscreen not working properly to a software update not installing correctly. In order for us to do our job effectively we need to be able to think outside the box and utilize the resources we have available to us to come to a solution.
My degree also taught me to learn. My role at BrainLAB has a pretty steep learning-curve and requires us to process a lot of information in a short period of time. The rigorous course-load that I encountered at ‘Cuse definitely set me up for success.
The tight-knit engineering community at SU was one of my favorite things about my time there. The administrative staff, my professors, and my peers helped me make it through the rigorous four years of engineering school (…free coffee in Link 121 certainly helped, too!) At the end of my freshman year I remember frantically walking into a professor’s office because I wasn’t sure if I could make it through another three years of engineering school. That professor proceeded to spend the next hour reassuring me that I could do it and that it would be worth it in the end (…and he sure was right!)
My advice to new and current students would be to go all-in with something other than your classes. Whether it’s a club, Greek life, intramural sport, or volunteering, find something that allows you to decompress after a long stretch of classes and homework. Your classes are important, but your personal well-being is even more so. It adds a lot more dimension to your college experience, too!
Don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] if you have any questions or are looking for advice from an alum. I am always open to helping out! And as always: Go Orange!