Andrea Lehn


Bachelor of Science 2015, Biomedical Engineering

Andrea Lehn graduated from GWU with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and an unintentional minor in Philosophy (thanks, UHP!) She conducted research with Prof. Megan Leftwich investigating the role of fluid dynamics in human delivery using simplified physical models. She also conducted experiments at Harvard University to understand the role of unsteadiness in aquatic propulsion. At GWU, she was a Clark Engineering Scholar, and she studied abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia in 2013. In Fall 2015, she began a PhD program in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. She earned her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering in February 2019 and will continue toward her PhD in the same department under the supervision of Prof. Lydia Bourouiba. Her M.S. work was using 3D flow visualization techniques to investigate the hydrodynamics of lamprey locomotion in the MIT Experimental Hydrodynamics Lab. For her PhD, she has joined the Bourouiba Research Group to investigate fundamental fluid physics using experimentation and mathematical modeling.


What excites you about the work you do? I work in an exciting new field where the physical processes are not yet understood. I perform experiments and develop mathematical models to describe physical processes, and working on that interface really excites me. The work is challenging, so every day is different and often full of surprises!

What is the most significant career experience you've had so far, and what made it meaningful to you? Passing the doctoral qualifying examinations in my department. It was a testament to that fact that there is no substitute for consistent effort and that repetition is a prerequisite for the mastery of skill.

Other noteworthy things you've done in your career: In Summer 2017, I taught and developed curriculum in Mechanical Engineering for senior high school girls participating in the Women's Technology Program at MIT. Over summer 2018, I was also awarded the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) Fellowship. I participated in a 10 week research program with 10 other senior graduate students at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I also taught physics and problem solving in Santiago, Chile for three weeks in January 2019 to local high school students through a program organized by MIT.  I have served as a teaching assistant (TA), graduate resident tutor (GRT) and have completed the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program (KTCP) at MIT. Finally, I have served on the executive board of MEGAWomen (Mechanical Engineering Graduate Women) for the past 3 years.

How did GWU and the UHP prepare you for your professional journey? In what ways has your career evolved since you graduated from GWU? In particular the UHP provided me with communication skills and critical thinking in a context outside of the hard sciences. Through my UHP classes I gained an appreciation for different views of the world,  what my place in the world is (and what it could be), and what it really means to live in truth.

Advice for current UHP students: Don't forget to breathe.


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