Janet Gbur to host two Wen H. Ko summer interns

Tumi Adeeko and Juan Garcia

This summer, Juan Garcia, a biomedical engineering major at CWRU, and Tumi Adeeko, a mechanical engineering major at Youngstown State University, will be coming to the Department of Materials Science of Engineering as part of the Cleveland VA Advanced Platform Technology Center’s Wen H. Ko summer internship program. The interns will be hosted by Research Associate, Dr. Janet Gbur, who is also an Investigator at the APT Center.

Throughout the ten-week program, which begins June 7, Garcia and Adeeko will work with Gbur to perform mechanical tests and characterize the materials and prototypes associated with ongoing projects funded through the VA. The students’ efforts will be focused in Professor John Lewandowski’s Advanced Manufacturing and Mechanical Reliability Center and at the APT Center. Their work at CWRU will not be limited to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, as they will also fabricate device components in the Additive Manufacturing for Biotechnology in the Case School of Medicine.

Upon acceptance to the program, each intern selected will focus on a specific mini project with their APT Center Investigator. Adeeko will work on the fabrication, testing, and characterization of a novel, flexible implantable printed lead, while Garcia will contribute to the fabrication, testing, and characterization of a high-density in-line connector.

Garcia heard about the opportunity at CWRU’s career fair and was immediately drawn in. “When I saw the awesome research opportunities that the internship offered, I knew that I needed to apply,” he said. “Dr. Gbur and Dr. Lewandowski are doing amazing research and I can’t wait to have my project with the team.”

Adeeko was inspired to apply to the program after taking an engineering materials class with Gbur, who is an adjunct instructor at Youngstown State. “I am incredibly excited about applying my knowledge as I work on my mini-project, but I also look forward to working with the other interns,” she said. “I have gotten the chance to speak with a few of them, and theirs match my excitement. We all look forward to getting to know each other and learning from one another.” She also looks forward to exploring the field of materials science and engineering and experiencing living in Cleveland for the first time.

This will be Gbur’s first summer hosting Wen H. Ko interns. She said that she was involved in the selection process and that it was “particularly difficult because of the high number of exceptional students that applied.” Adeeko said of the application process, “I got a chance to dig a little deeper and think about what I wanted to do after college. I questioned my interests and tried to imagine the impact I wanted to make in the world in three, ten, and even twenty years into the future.”

"Tumi and Juan represent an exciting breadth of experience and academics as well as an enthusiasm for research,” said Gbur. “Their concentrations are outside Materials Science and Engineering, so creating an experience that captures the interdisciplinary nature of medical device research and development, emphasizing the value of materials knowledge, and showing how the students can contribute in a meaningful way to the research is quite exciting.”

Originally from Nigeria, Adeeko, who also has a passion for mathematics, became interested in engineering when she saw her father fixing the car and other appliances around the house. “I wanted to be better than him in the sense that I wanted to solve more complex problems.” After completing high school at age fifteen, Adeeko took three Cambridge A-level exams in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, getting the highest score in Nigeria on the mathematics exam. She is the secretary of the National Society of Black Engineers, as well as a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers.

An active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineering, Garcia originally planned to study medicine in college, but was drawn to the technologies in the biomedical field. “I believe that it is through biomedical engineering that I can create the most positive changes in the lives of others,” he said. He is particularly interested in how engineering combines with the complexities of the human body, as well as the design, fabrication, testing, and characterization of prototype medical devices. He is also a Global Health Collaborative Design team member, where he is currently working with the vaccine carrier project team.

In the past, Gbur has mentored students in the department’s research courses, as well as high school students who are interested in biomedical materials-related research. “I enjoy working with students and watching their academic growth,” she said. “It is exciting to share in their discoveries and to help them maximize their potential as they develop new interests and pathways through this experience. I also enjoy learning about their backgrounds and hobbies.”

There will be a total of eight interns participating in the program, six of whom are from CWRU. The group includes Jen Bradley, a student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who will be working with APT Center Investigator, Dr. Allison Hess-Dunning. 

The program is named for Wen H. Ko, an APT Center Investigator and Professor of Electrical Engineering at CWRU. Ko, who died in 2017, was a pioneer in the fields of micro-sensors, actuators, integrated microsystems, medical implants, telemetry, packaging and physical and chemical microsensors.