Sean O’Keefe is a University Professor and the Howard G. and S. Louise Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership in the Maxwell School. O’Keefe served as administrator of NASA during the George W. Bush Administration. In a recent op-ed…
Scholar Spotlight: Lynda Brady ’15
“Home. It’s a powerful word. It invokes images of people and places, and also feelings, maybe of safety, comfort and acceptance. Home is probably a place you just left, and you might be thinking right now how different this place is from your home.”
Bioengineering senior Lynda Brady spoke these words from the lectern of Hendricks Chapel this past August to the incoming class of College of Engineering and Computer Science students. As the student speaker for the college’s convocation, Brady shared her experiences and offered some advice to the undergraduate class of 2018. Three years prior, Brady sat in the very same seats unsure of what lay ahead or how she would fit in. Now she is president of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi, and a student who calls Syracuse University home.
Q. What brought you to the bioengineering program at SU?
A. I was looking at many different options and submitted a last-minute application to SU. Through a series of overnight events, I found the campus to be a nice fit for me. It felt welcoming—so much more than my other options.
In high school I had to do a project on what I wanted to do with my life and that’s when I picked bioengineering. The more I found out about it, the more I liked it, and decided that it was actually what I want to do. Plus, I’ve always loved math and science. I’m really into physics of the body and biomechanics.
Q. What has been a highlight of being in the program?
A. Right now, I’m working on my honors capstone project in the Institute for Human Performance within Upstate Medical. I’m testing the fracture toughness of irradiated mass bones. When people get radiation therapy for cancer, even if it’s for a soft tissue, the bones are affected. For some reason, radiation makes bones more prone to fracture down the road. We haven’t been able to find a conclusive reason why.
Q. Why did you feel it was important to take on a leadership position in Tau Beta Pi in addition to your coursework?
A. I became a member during my junior year and wanted to revamp our chapter. I saw an opportunity for the organization to have more activities and more of a campus presence. It’s great for engineers, but I found some students didn’t know what it was, so I’ve made it a goal to get more people involved with it.
We offer programs like Engineering Futures, a workshop that focuses on soft skills that we don’t always get in our engineering classes, but are vital in the professional world. These are free expert presentations, open to all. We also offer scholarship programs through the organization. Many of the world’s greatest engineers have been in it and employers know about it.
Q. What are you passionate about outside of engineering and leadership?
A. I have a deep love of music. I’m a member of the Hendricks Chapel Choir. We perform a lot and it’s a good way to meet other people. I’m in a songwriting class too, so my roommate and I jam together. I seriously considered becoming a music composition major before college.
Q. Do you find connections between engineering and music?
A. Music is all math. Music is definitely interesting in the way that it affects your body, your brain and the way that you think and study. The way you remember things is affected by music. I think that there is a lot of interrelation with the biological side of music.
Having a background in music has also helped me to be more creative and draw different conclusions, reconcile things and multitask. It’s definitely been helpful.
Q. What inspires you to call SU home?
A. I honestly didn’t know what to expect coming in, but once I embraced being here and made friends, I felt comfortable. I always tell people they need to get involved. Once I got involved with the College’s PRIDE efforts and the people around me, everyone started to feel like a family to me.
Getting to know like-minded engineering students also made it feel more like a home. It sounds cliché, but I don’t know how else to describe it. Syracuse is definitely a good, strong community and support base. People know what you’re going through and are willing to help you.
I even made it a point to make friends with engineers in other disciplines because you can get bogged down in your classes and get into the same mindset as everyone else in your specific program, but if you talk to other people in other classes you can get a broader perspective.
I’m big on community and feeling like you are part of something and being at a big sports school makes me feel connected. We have a lot of school spirit here, which I love. As an engineering student, it’s nice to be a part of a liberal arts university. It’s helpful to get the liberal arts perspective. We can get cool big acts, comedians, and musicians. There are definitely a lot of cool things to do around here, which you may not expect being here in Central New York.
Overall, I enjoy that my group of friends is not homogeneous. I can talk to people who aren’t just focused on engineering, which is one of the great opportunities SU gives.