Ayda Rajab is a 4th-year engineering student at The Catholic University of America.  She is graduating in May 2020.  She is majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.   

Ayda and her teammates are working on the Golfing Assists for Hand Transplants Challenge.  They are tasked to design an assistive device that allows our Challenger, Army veteran, Eric Lund, to be able to play golf, even without the functionality of his arms.  The device is required to be comfortable, have a custom fit, it must be detachable and reduce wobble.  Their goal is to address the issue of having a lack of control for handling a golf club for patients who do not have functionality in their arms and/or hands by creating a novel prototype that allows them to gain more control while playing and also not having to feel like they are using a device at all.

Why did you choose your major?  I chose my major because I want to make a difference in people’s lives. I came into college as a Pre Med Biology student because I wanted to be a doctor, but then I spoke to one of my
mentors, Peter Lum, and he told me that if I was not sure that I wanted to be a doctor I should do Pre Med and switch my major to Biomedical Engineering.  So I switched into engineering and ended up loving it.  As a Biomedical Engineer, I would be helping doctors, therapists, and researchers to develop equipment and devices in order to solve clinical problems. I enjoy being challenged and Biomedical Engineering is an ongoing challenge.

Describe your experience working with QL+ so far.  The biggest challenge during my experience with QL+ was fulfilling all the requirements given to us for the device.  It was very challenging meeting the requirements but what makes this experience so enjoyable is how challenging it was.  It allowed me to think creatively and innovatively.  The most rewarding part of this experience is the fact that the device we are working on is going to someone directly.

What is it like working with your Challenger?  It was great working with our challenger, he is very patient and easy to work with.  Knowing everything that he has been through and him having such a positive attitude
towards everything is so empowering and motivating.  The most rewarding part of working with him was getting to know him and hearing his story and knowing that this device we are working on is going directly to him.  Already knowing that this device was going to someone and was going to change their life for the better is in itself the most rewarding experience I have had.  Through my experience, I’ve learned about the importance of being personable.  As a Biomedical Engineer, I know that it is essential to work well with people, which is a quality that I have and am proud of, along with hard work.
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What would you say to other students about QL+?  I would tell other students that QL+ values the importance of working in unison to make a difference for prospective students, employers, current employers and for those who have served our country.  I can personally relate to this value because of my passion for engineering from all of my current involvement and my skill set of effective and valuable communication with others.  Quality Life Plus is an incredible nonprofit organization that is constantly growing, and anyone would be lucky to be part of the future evolution.

What are your plans after graduation?  My plans after graduation are to find a job in the engineering industry before I get my Master's degree. I want to gain as much experience as I can in the engineering world before I decide what area in Biomedical Engineering I want to specialize in.

What has been the proudest moment of your college career?  The proudest moment of my college career was knowing that after these four years I am going to be making a difference in people's lives.

What three words best describe you?  Hardworking, Persistent, Motivated