Mei-Lin “Ete” Chan
Paying it Forward
Mei-Lin “Ete” Chan: Biomedical Engineering
Mei-Lin “Ete” Chan’s journey to achieving her own dreams has motivated her to help others obtain theirs. The SBU research assistant professor traveled from her home in Hong Kong to the U.S. for college, arriving on campus in 2012 to complete postdoctoral work in biomedical engineering.
“As a first-generation college student who came from a humble family, I know what it’s like to be underrepresented and not have career or higher education role models growing up,” she said. “Now I’m in a position to pay forward the support I received from teachers all along my path. That’s one of the things that energizes me most. And Stony Brook provides an ideal environment to do that.”
As she pursues her advanced research and development of technologies to improve obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer treatments, Chan is equally committed to helping young students discover opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through several programs she initiated.
To inspire that next generation of STEM innovators, Chan codeveloped DIY Prosthetics in Fall 2021 — an endeavor she believes is making a difference for students who may not have seen themselves in these roles. To date, more than 100 precollege students of diverse backgrounds have participated, crafting cardboard prosthetic hands using simple household items.
Chan also worked with a team of student volunteers from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) to create the Biomedical Engineering Academy. The virtual five-session course — which started in spring 2021 and repeated last July — was designed to spread awareness and interest in engineering to Long Island middle schoolers. It taught them the fundamentals of biomedical engineering, provided hands-on experience of the essential skills of an engineer, and engaged them through a variety of interactive activities.
But that’s not where her influence ends. Luigia Than ’22, electrical engineering, works with Chan to promote STEAM (STEM + art) and interdisciplinary research. “Dr. Chan has helped me grow as an engineer and a person and is a real role model to me — as an educator who is so engaged with her work and all her students, an engineer who works on so many different projects, and a woman of color in a STEM field,” she said.