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Naomi Mburu

“If you want to be a part of a vibrant, diverse community of people who love to learn and work together, come to UMBC!”



Major: Chemical Engineering
Minor: Physics

Hometown: Ellicott City, MD

Campus Activities:
President of National Society of Black Engineers; Meyerhoff Scholar; Barry Goldwater Scholar; Research in Dr. Gymama Slaughter’s laboratory in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department. My project focuses on developing self-powered implantable biofuel cells; Interned in Geneva, Switzerland at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN). I worked on monitoring the concentration of impurities leaving the muon detectors on the Large Hadron Collider; Interned at Vanderbilt University. I worked on developing a 3D printed artery that could be used for drug delivery testing.

Why did you chose UMBC?
I have been at UMBC basically my whole life because my mom works here, so I have always been familiar with the campus. What really drew me to UMBC was the Meyerhoff program because it has a remarkable track record for preparing minority students to earn STEM-related PhD’s, which is exactly what I want to do.

What do you love about UMBC?
I love the size of UMBC. This school is big enough that I can meet someone new everyday, but small enough that I can really get to know my professors and the students in my department. I also love the commitment to diversity, because I am very passionate about increasing access to higher education for people from diverse backgrounds. I also love how highly interdisciplinary UMBC is. UMBC is a place where I feel free to explore all of my interests.

What would you say to a prospective student?
If you want to be a part of a vibrant, diverse community of people who love to learn and work together, come to UMBC!

What has been your favorite class at UMBC?
I took a Modern Physics course my sophomore year, and my mind was blown almost every time I opened the textbook for that class. It was different from the courses I usually take because the information I was learning was not practical at all, but it was incredibly interesting to read about, ponder, and debate about with my peers.My favorite subject from that class was special relativity. Did you know that if you were on a rocket capable of moving near the speed of light, you would be a different weight and height from the point of view of someone on earth, but these values would be different from the point of view of someone who is also on the ship with you. So whose point of view is the “correct” value? This class really made me think.

What are you researching?
I work in Dr. Gymama Slaughter’s lab in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department. We are working on developing self-powered, implantable biofuel cells that can sense glucose and lactic acid concentrations in the body. I will be presenting at URCAD in the fall, and I have presented this research at a technology conference in Washington, D.C.

Where did you complete your internship/applied learning experience?
Last summer, I interned at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. I applied to this program through the University of Michigan as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). My stay was fully funded, and I was provided a healthy stipend. There were 300 students chosen from all over the world (roughly ten per country). During my time there, I worked on analyzing the gas mixtures used to detect muons on the Large Hadron Collider using several chemistry-related techniques such as mass spectrometry and gas chromatography. In my free time, I attended physics classes taught my physicists at CERN, and explored Europe with my new friends. I traveled to France, Spain, Germany, the UK, and the Czech Republic, as well as all over Switzerland.

What do you hope to achieve after you complete your degree at UMBC?
After I graduate, I intend to pursue a PhD and then work in industry.

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