Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Lacrosse Player Karly Liebendorfer
By Christina Hardman, Florida Tech News Bureau // July 13, 2023
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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we are featuring Florida Tech women’s lacrosse player, Karly Liebendorfer.
This summer, the Middletown, Md. native is gaining meaningful experience at an internship in her desired field. We caught up with Liebendorfer to learn more about the incredible opportunity.
■ What company are you interning for this summer? What was your title and role with the company?
This summer, I’ve been dividing my time between two different positions. First, as a Quality Assurance Engineering Intern, I am working with Reactdx, a company at the forefront of the cardiac telemedicine industry.
I primarily test and investigate hardware and software for cardiac monitoring devices. Second, I work as an Undergraduate Researcher at Florida Tech in the Functional Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering Laboratory.
I am helping to develop a 4D printing strategy for magnetically aligned collagen for a biomimetic bioactive glass gradient integrated collagen matrix fabrication of an ACL enthesis. My direct role this summer is conducting research on the quantification and analysis of collagen alignment.
■ What drew you to this internship?
I love research and have been working with Dr. Kishore for the past year, so I was excited when he won a new project grant that enabled me to start and help with cutting-edge research.
However, I was also eager to gain a role in the industry side of biomedical technology. I was drawn to Reactdx, where I could get hands-on experience working on an FDA-regulated medical device.
■ What are some exciting tasks that you have been able to be a part of?
At Reactdx, I conduct regression testing for their devices and associated software platforms. This task has been fascinating because it will directly impact patients and their user experience.
Likewise, my research has fostered an exciting platform for learning new skills, especially in coding and data analysis.
■ How is your internship preparing you for a career you would like to do after graduation?
Both roles provide me with different skill sets that are helping set me up for a successful career in the biomedical industry. I am directly building on my analysis, problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills, all essential in research or in industry.
I am getting the best of both worlds by experiencing two different pathways my degree could take me after graduating.
■ What is your major at Florida Tech? Why did you choose this direction for your education and is this something you always wanted to pursue?
I am studying Biomedical Engineering with minors in Nanoscience/Nanotechnology and Chemistry. Growing up, I was obsessed with science and math.
I was the kid who competed in the science fairs for fun and got all the funky science facts books, so it was a given that I would pursue an education in that realm.
I chose engineering because I love building, creating things, and working through challenging problems to create unique solutions.
My minors have been a fun addition to my degree and are aiding my understanding of things I may not have learned through my major’s direct curriculum. I also find nanotechnology fascinating and believe it is the future of biomedical technology and science.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for the work you are currently doing? What traits did you take away from the playing field that is helping you throughout your internship?
As a collegiate athlete, I have developed a lot of passion and drive, which has enabled me to fiercely work towards and achieve success in my various roles.
Another vital trait has been listening and comprehension, something essential to the game of lacrosse but even more crucial in a setting where you are working with devices and software that can directly impact a patient’s health.
■ What skills did you acquire at the internship that you plan to bring back to help lead the women’s lacrosse team?
One of the most essential skills I am taking away is being fearless in asking questions and actively seeking help. As an athlete, it can be intimidating to speak up, especially if you need help.
This summer is helping me work on this attribute and build my confidence.
So far, nothing but positive results have yielded from speaking up, asking questions, and getting help.
I want to be an example for my team and a teammate they can count on and approach with questions and problems.
■ What advice would you give another athlete/prospective athlete who is looking to pursue the path you’ve taken?
Be daring. Try as many things as you can and challenge yourself. As scholar-athletes, we can get into this strict routine of school, practice, sleep, and repeat.
I highly recommend and encourage you to get involved in different things, meet people outside of athletics, and engage in your education.
Florida Tech and the surrounding community have a lot of amazing people and opportunities, and you might find something you never knew you would like!
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