Lisa Goel was born and raised in a rural town in Mississippi. Her father, a general and vascular surgeon as well as a family physician, moved to this small town because of its great need for doctors. She was inspired by his “daily service and dedication toward helping people who could not afford basic health care,” and she knew that, like her father, she wanted to spend her life helping others.
She may have considered becoming a physician like her father, but throughout her childhood, Goel developed other interests that pointed her in a different direction. For her, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) was a family affair, and growing up she had three role models. Along with her father, her mother also nurtured a love of STEM through play, and her older sister inspired Goel with her own interests in STEM. Goel grew up playing with LEGO bricks and other building toys, and she participated in science fairs at a young age. She found herself hooked on these science fairs, where she enjoyed the process of “identifying exciting problems, creating projects, applying the scientific method, and presenting her scientific findings,” she explains.
By the time Goel went to college, she was interested in not just one field but many. She was passionate about medicine, science, engineering, and technology, and she was determined to put them all to work helping others. When it came time to decide on a degree, with much encouragement from her mother, she decided to pursue biomedical engineering. She received a B.S. degree in biomedical engineering from Boston University and an M.S. degree in biomedical engineering from Tufts University.
After graduation, Goel went to work, combining her background in biomedicine, engineering, and technology to join a mission-driven, cutting-edge organization, Nanobiosym. Its work is at the intersection of nanotechnology, biomedicine, and physics—or nanobiophysics. The mission of Nanobioysm is “to address some of our world’s greatest global health challenges.”
Her job includes a mix of technology and operations-based projects, and every day brings its own set of challenges. As a trained biomedical engineer, she relishes any opportunity to be hands on. Goel loves that Nanobioysm is “driven to do good for the world” and that she gets to apply her engineering skills on a daily basis.
“Throughout my career I found supportive mentors, and taking initiative on exciting projects helped to further nurture and inspire my c areer in STEM,” she says. “My excitement and passion for STEM is what has led me to do what I do today. STEM has helped me gain greater insight into my field of work. I would like to encourage all women today who might be considering a career in STEM, or even pursuing a career, to keep at it and pursue areas that you are passionate about. It makes your day that much more exciting and fulfilling.”
This article first appeared in IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine December 2017.