GMI Student Perspectives | Luc Samblanet: The Good, The Bad, And The Sad

Reflections from Global Medical Innovation MBE students.

At the Rice Business Plan Competition Qualifiers before COVID.

The start of my last semester at Rice has been a whirlwind of left turns, rise and falls, and sweet then sour. I suppose I should follow the order of the title and start off with the good. All the projects are moving forward well, and I have hopefully swapped projects for the final time. We have currently finalized our design for the Radiotherapy project to distract children during treatment and my new project team is working on measuring perfusion during laparoscopic procedures. All the local RMI projects dominated the Rice Business Plan Competition qualifiers by taking 3 of the top four spots and RMI’s very own Team EVA took first place. I also dared to expand my culinary horizons once again by learning how to make dumplings under the tutelage of master chief Erik. I also visited a vegetarian restaurant and enjoyed a vegetarian meal that wasn’t peanut butter for the first time; so, shout out to Lamiya for picking a great place for her birthday. Although I did have to recover a little bit, by going to a fancy steakhouse and getting some prime rib. Speaking of steaks, I’m quickly approaching being able to bench my bodyweight, so I hope the wallets of Eddie Yao and Erik Wu are ready when I bench three reps of 140lb.

To top it off I got to meet Dr. Lonnie Johnson, inventor of the super soaker, king of toy guns, and inductee into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. It was great to hear the person who partially inspired me to become an engineer and to even shake his hand and get a picture with him. The best day so far though was the RMI visit day, which was a huge success having about 40 prospective students come visit and allow us to show off how great the RMI program is. It was fantastic getting to see the future of our program and to interact with them.

However, the good doesn’t come without the bad. So far, I have had my first test in two years; and it reminded me why I never enjoyed them. It wasn’t hard but all the prep and stress that goes into them makes it hard to just simply enjoy applying what you’ve learned. Additionally, COVID – 19 has been spreading rapidly at unprecedented rates, impacting the lives of many people. It has finally made its way to Houston shutting down classes at Rice, stopping observations at hospitals, and creating an unsettling atmosphere not many are used to. And to top it all off I lost 10$ in my last poker night and 10$ betting on the super bowl due some bad luck and questionable decisions but mostly bad luck.

Unfortunately, a week after our visit day we found out that due to financial issues, two of the three staff positions for RMI have been eliminated which led to the resignation of our director after graduation. The program will continue and exist but unfortunately not with the same faculty that I have come to know and love, the faculty that pushed me to achieve more than I thought I could, and the faculty that provided assistance to not only those in the program but also undergraduate and PhD students. From design review meetings to dedicated career assistance to daily discussions; Will Clifton, Sarah Michel, and Lashaune DeJean helped support me at every step allowing me to achieve things that I couldn’t have done on my own or with any other team. So truly from the bottom of my heart thank you to the staff of RMI; you will be missed!

Luc Samblanet, 2019-20 Cohort, MBE in Global Medical Innovation