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COES faculty, student elected to lead national biomedical engineering society

Two Louisiana Tech University biomedical engineering faculty members and one student have been appointed to leadership roles within the Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AHMB) National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society – an organization founded nearly 30 years ago by Louisiana Tech President Emeritus Dr. Daniel D. Reneau.

Dr. Teresa Murray, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Louisiana Tech, was reelected to a second two-year term as president of AHMB (formerly known as AEMB).  Prior to her appointment as president, Murray served in numerous other posts including as a member of the Board of Directors, interim national treasurer, national student president and national student vice president.

From L-R: Shyanthony Synigal, Dr. Bryant Hollins, Dr. Teresa Murray

Under Murray’s guidance, AHMB has established the annual Student Ethics Workshop, which is sponsored by AHMB and held at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting each year.  She also established a series of Student Public Policy Sessions relating to topics of high importance to the field. One of these sessions was developed to discuss the implications of the patent law change from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file” on the field of biomedical engineering.

Dr. Bryant Hollins, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, was reelected to a six-year term on the Board of Directors after previously serving a two-year term.  As an undergraduate student at Louisiana Tech, Hollins was the university’s AHMB chapter president and served in leadership roles in other organizations including the Louisiana Tech chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Shyanthony Synigal, a senior biomedical engineering student at Louisiana Tech, who was inducted into AHMB as a junior, was elected as the AHMB national student treasurer. Synigal will help to make financial decisions for the organization in addition to serving on a national committee to increase AHMB’s presence at international BME conferences.

AHMB was founded in 1979 by Reneau, who was a pioneer in biomedical engineering education, as an honor society to recognize and encourage excellence in the field of biomedical engineering and bioengineering. Since its inception, AHMB has grown to over 45 chapters nationwide and is actively seeking to establish chapters at universities in other countries. The AHMB seeks to bring elected students and faculty into closer union in order to promote an understanding of the biomedical engineering profession.

“It’s amazing to see just how far Alpha Eta Mu Beta has come and what an outstanding membership it has attracted over the years,” said Reneau in a 2012 interview.  “There’s nothing more rewarding for me than to be able to pass along my vision and experiences in biomedical engineering to those who will become its future leaders.

“From a trailblazer in the 1970s to a nationally recognized leader today, I’m proud of the reputation that Louisiana Tech has built in the field of biomedical engineering.”

Reneau established the biomedical engineering program at Louisiana Tech in 1972.  It was one of the first of its kind in the United States and only the fifth undergraduate program in the nation to become accredited.

Over the years, other Louisiana Tech faculty have made significant academic and leadership contributions to AHMB.  Dr. Paul Hale, professor emeritus of biomedical engineering, and Dr. Stan Napper, currently the vice president for research and development at Louisiana Tech, served in leadership roles in the growing honor society.  Hale, who served as the AHMB national president for six years (1992-1998), was later instrumental in reinstating the organization’s IRS non-profit status. He remains the point of contact for this important role.

At the local level, Dr. Steven Jones, program chair and associate professor of biomedical engineering, has served as the Louisiana Tech chapter faculty advisor for several years. He also organizes the department honors banquet each year, which is where new AHMB members are inducted.

Under the leadership of this year’s chapter president Timothy “Noah” Hutson, the chapter is initiating a new program that focuses on tutoring younger biomedical engineering students at Louisiana Tech to foster a passion and commitment to the field.  Seven students were inducted into the society this year, including two graduate students and five undergraduates.

For more information on AHMB, visit http://www.alphaetamubeta.org.  Several video presentation and information sessions can be viewed at the AHMB YouTube site at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLvlEYsSyM5zzVbOnrc0vpg.