Feature Stories 2022: Breana Thibodeaux '22: Real-world experience

Breana Thibodeaux
Breana Thibodeaux conducting lab research (Photographer: Karl Dominey).
Feature Stories 2022: Breana Thibodeaux '22: Real-world experience
Breana Thibodeaux '22: Real-world experience

A senior capstone project led Breana to discover her interest in conducting research for the treatment of cancer.

“Participation in research projects has reinforced my love of learning and getting hands-on experience,” says Breana Thibodeaux, a senior who will complete her BS degree in bioengineering at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Engineering next month. 

Gaining real-world experience

Breana is contributing to a cancer research-based project that aims to create a chemotherapy drug delivery system by using microwave tumor ablation. “I was first introduced to the project in the fall semester of my senior year. It was proposed as a senior capstone design project.”

She says after learning more about the research, she became highly interested in joining a cancer research project. “The company Theromics Inc. enlisted our help in exploring the properties and drug delivery abilities of their product using chemotherapy drugs. This research will build upon my laboratory skills and make me an ideal candidate for future research projects.”

During her time as a student, she has taken part in three different campus-based research projects, including a capstone and an Office of Undergraduate Research project. “I carry out all mission-critical responsibilities, collect data, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Some challenges that I’ve encountered are supply and time management. From this, I have learned that it is very important to stay organized, to have a hypothesis, and a clear plan for carrying out research.”

Benefiting from faculty mentorship & student clubs

In addition to focusing on research, Breana interned at Advanced Instruments-Product Specialist for Medical Devices. “I was able to face real-world problems in a professional laboratory setting. I learned so much about the biotech industry and how many basic business processes are performed,” she says. “This internship was my first professional experience in the bioengineering/ medical device field. It is an experience that I can always draw my skills back. It stands out on my resume and shows employers that I am capable of working and exploring problems independently.”

Breana says she is inspired to continue her education and career in the future that involves more research projects and that the UMassD faculty and staff have been incredibly helpful and supportive of her endeavors. Her participation in student organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has had a positive impact on her college experience and future. “Through NSBE, I have connected to so many inspiring Black engineers in school and in the industry. I am inspired to continue my hard work so that I may pave a way for younger generations; just as our predecessors have done for us.”

Entering the workforce

Asked about her plans after graduation, the Brockton, MA native says she will quickly implement herself into the workforce to continue building upon the skills she gained while at UMassD. “I’ve accepted a full-time offer at Dell Technologies as a Sales Engineer. I am super excited to start my career journey at Dell Technologies.”