By: Desiré Bennett
Biomedical engineering student Travis Craft is among many extraordinary students graduating this spring.
Travis Craft was born with a genetic bilateral hearing loss. He was diagnosed and fitted with hearing aids when he was 18 months old, but it would be nearly 12 years before his hearing was significantly improved with the help of a cochlear implant.
“Eight months prior to my surgery, my hearing performance in both ears hit rock bottom after I suffered a life-changing head trauma from being hit by a pitch in baseball,” he said.
Craft says the hearing loss exacerbated his daily life performances socially and academically. “I had no hope for myself until I realized that my implant gratifyingly improved my daily performances. Most gratefully, I could not have asked for anything more than to simply hear my parents’ voices again.”
Even with this triumph, there are still struggles ahead. Craft says he only has a cochlear implant in his left ear and can no longer rely on the hearing aid in his right ear. “In the past two years, I have been struggling to get financial approval for my second cochlear implant surgery,” he explains. “My insurance refuses to cover a medical expense for the second cochlear implant, so I am currently in the process of getting financial assistance from an established institute.”
He says that this experience has changed his life forever and because of this, Craft has decided to use it to "pay it forward” to others. “From my experience in this financial dispute, I believe it will be beneficial for me to have a business knowledge when it comes to dealing with politics involving medicine,” he said. “I want to somehow help other patients win their battle for financial approval.”
According to Craft, he would never have found himself pursuing a career within the field of medicine without his academic and cooperative education experiences as a Bearcat. “The University of Cincinnati Professional Practice and College of Engineering & Applied Science both guided me to a career path I never thought of pursuing.”
Craft says, because of the co-op program at UC, he landed an internship position at his dream company Advanced Bionics, LLC., working closely with teammates as a Research & Technology Implant Design Intern to determine appropriate electrochemical, electrical, and mechanical characterization of cochlear implants. “I exhibited significant growth during my time at Advanced Bionics in my understanding of applied research and how course concepts were applicable to real-world activities. ” he said.
Craft’s goal is to one day become a physician. He plans to apply to medical school this year and hopes to start in the fall of 2015. “Words cannot describe how excited I am to reach my ultimate goal – it’ll feel like paradise.”
Travis is slated to walk, and receive a bachelor's in biomedical engineering, during the spring semester Bachelor and Associate Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Commencement ceremonies begin at 9:00 a.m.