Dan Engebretson, Ph.D., chair of the biomedical engineering program at the University of South Dakota and the director of the Graduate Education and Applied Research (GEAR) Center in Sioux Falls, spoke with Credit Hour about the history and future of biomedical engineering and the emerging options USD students have in this growing field.
The GEAR Center was opened in 2009 to provide students with a solid foundation in the sciences to prepare them to work in the evolving biotech and medtech economy. It is an intersection of academic research with industry so students at the center can work on real problems found in clinics and hospitals in hopes of solving them.
In the past, the biomedical engineering department only offered graduate level classes, however, Engebretson saw an opportunity to build an undergraduate program to support the industry in Sioux Falls and to grow the workforce in the field. The department now offers certificate programs, an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, and it is always changing to support students’ interests.
“I’m finding a lot of our students are interested in entrepreneurship,” Engebretson said. “We want to equip the students with the technical skills they need and get students familiar with funding they can receive to start their business.”