Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Recent graduate overcomes pandemic, setbacks to pursue education

Recent BME graduate Kemuel Roberts

Wanting to help people is a common reason for those who go into the medical field—whether it be medical school to become a physician, pursue research to expand tools to treat diseases and illnesses, and a variety of other professions that help to improve the lives of others.

Richard and Loan Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering senior Kemuel Roberts said both his parent’s careers and his own interests influenced him to pursue biomedical engineering to create different innovative solutions, help people feel better, treat diseases, and expand biotechnology.

Roberts has faced challenges throughout his time at UIC. As an international student from the Caribbean Island of Dominica, known as The Nature Island, Roberts came to UIC to meet many people from diverse backgrounds, participate in numerous research opportunities, and pursue his chosen path.

Due to the pandemic affecting Dominica’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism, and bureaucratic reasons, Roberts’ educational journey was delayed due to funding. However, he noted that BME Clinical Associate Professor Anthony Felder was very understanding and helped him believe he would overcome these issues to complete his education.

Roberts said, “It was definitely not what I expected; I had a really good time at UIC, and I’ve tried to make the best of it and contribute to the UIC community where I can.”

He also noted that many of his classmates have the same grit and determination, which has helped prepare him for grad school.

During his time at UIC, Roberts participated in research with chemical engineering Assistant Professor Ezinne Achinivu in her Molecular Design for Sustainable Engineering (MoDSE) Laboratory, helping with background research looking into turning agricultural waste into usable biomass to examine the chemical processes in a bioreactor. He also joined Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), a campus student organization focused on creating new environmentally conscious technology. Through ESW, Roberts helped to build a solar-powered fridge.

He also worked with BME Clinical Associate Professor Zhinan Wang for the annual Engineering Experience summer camp and taught engineering to grow students’ interests in the field.

He shared that some of his favorite memories during his time at UIC include attending the tree lighting at Millennium Park. He especially enjoyed gathering with others and feeling the holiday spirit.

Roberts learned not to let setbacks bring him down and to learn from these moments instead.

“I would be lying if I said there are not going to be moments where you feel like nothing makes sense,” Roberts said. “You need to be able to take that setback for what it is instead of letting it consume you and make you feel that the step back is a reflection of you that you’re not good enough and that you can’t make it.”

Roberts acknowledged Felder, Wang, and UIC Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Clinical Associate Professor Matthew Alonso for their help during his UIC career.

After graduation, Roberts will pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at UIC.