Class of 2019: This biomedical engineer will be on forefront of innovation

Taylor Verba will be the student speaker at the Spring Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 6 p.m. She is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering – Biomechanics Track, summa cum laude.

Hometown: Parma, Ohio

High School: Holy Name High School

How did you come to choose your major?

Several years ago, my grandma received a heart valve replacement and I was absolutely astonished by the fact that a piece of mechanical hardware could be used to replace a part of the human body. This concept amazed me. I became determined to find out more about this remarkable field of study and what it could do to help people of all ages.

What brought you to The University of Akron?

The amazing biomedical engineering undergraduate program that is offered here as well as the family atmosphere that I felt my first time on campus. I felt that UA was my second home and it will always have a special place in my heart.

What’s next?

I will be going into the orthopedic device industry as a quality engineer. I will begin working at Zimmer Biomet, one of the top orthopedic companies in the world. I have worked at Zimmer Biomet through my co-op rotations from the College of Engineering, and I am beyond blessed to be able to work at this company full time upon graduation.

Q: How are you going to spend your time between graduation and what’s next?

A: Before beginning my career in industry at Zimmer Biomet, I will be traveling to Italy. In my time at UA, I have had the opportunities to travel to Haiti, New Zealand and Japan. I think that seeing different cultures is an important part of becoming a well-rounded individual and the best way to truly get out of your comfort zone to learn about yourself.

Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?

A: One of my favorite professors, Dr. Rouzbeh Amini, once told me that I needed to learn how to say “no.” In my early years as a student, I wanted to be involved in everything and began to wear myself thin. I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my time in college because I was over-involved. Dr. Amini actually has a sticky note on his computer that says “NO” to remind him that sometimes it is okay to say “no” and take time for yourself instead.

Q: Favorite campus activity?

A: Every year, Relay for Life is hosted by an organization on campus that partners with The American Cancer Society. This event takes place on campus for the entire Akron community and is focused on supporting those who are fighting cancer, remembering those who have lost the fight and celebrating with survivors. This event is filled with hope, support and love, which is an amazing atmosphere to be around.

Q: Biggest surprise about college life?

A: You hear all the time, “that opposites attract.” I am honestly surprised by how much this was true regarding my college life. I was blessed to have found an amazing group of friends. These friends have brought qualities different than my own into our friendship and have helped me become my best self. It was truly so easy to form friendships and it amazed me that sometimes the people you least expect end up being people you can always depend on.

Q: Where’s your favorite place on campus? Why?

A: The Auburn Science and Engineering Center, which is home to the College of Engineering. This place is the center of my UA home as I have spent most of my time in this building throughout my five years at UA. It has seen my triumphs and failures as well as providing me with support and tough love. The College of Engineering is a place on campus where I feel comfortable and a place where I feel that I truly belong.