From EASE to Tel Aviv: CEAS Student Travels to Israel on Co-op

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: March 28, 2018

Biomedical engineering student Erick Madis finds solutions for walking disorders at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Madis stands inside the dome drinking water.

Madis stands inside the dome, a metal sphere that researchers use to monitor patients' walking patterns.

Engineers make life easier. When Erick Madis (biomedical engineering ’19) decided to go to Tel Aviv, Israel for two semesters, he had this idea in mind.

Madis currently works in a research lab at the Sheba Medical Center through the University of Cincinnati (UC) cooperative education (co-op) program. He chose Israel because of the number of new scientific advancements in the country, including many start-up companies.

“The work I do on co-op contributes to the much larger goal of improving people’s lives,” said Madis. “On my current co-op, improving people’s lives means helping them walk better, even if they have walking disabilities.”

In his current position, Madis looks for solutions to walking disorders. One piece of technology he uses is what he calls a dome, a two-story metal sphere that a patient stands inside of. The dome monitors a patient’s walking patterns.

“We use projectors to display a virtual reality environment on the inside of the sphere, and then we have patients walk on a specialized treadmill in the center,” said Madis. “Using infrared markers, we can detect how the person moves when exposed to trips and falls that are designed by the experimenter.”

Madis’ other co-op rotations also focused on improving life through the medical field. He spent his first two co-op rotations working under Laura Conforti, PhD, in her immunology lab on UC’s medical campus. Here he had the chance to shadow doctors and learn a lot about different healthcare professions.

Madis started at UC in the Engineering and Applied Science Entrance (EASE) program, a program designed to guide first-year engineering students to a specific program after one or two semesters. Many times EASE students have impressive high school resumes but have slightly less competitive profiles when it comes to GPA or test scores.

“EASE helped me with the transition from high school to college,” said Madis. “I took part in a learning community, made friends in the program, developed study strategies and successfully transitioned into biomedical engineering.”

Because of the format of engineering curriculums at the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), EASE students take many of the same engineering classes their first semester as all other engineering students. When it’s time to transition into a program after the first semester, EASE students meet with their adviser and apply to a major of their choice, a process based on their UC GPA and courses they’ve taken. In Madis’ case, it was an easy decision: he chose the biomedical engineering program.

Madis wants to make a career out of improving people’s lives; right now, he is thinking of becoming a surgeon. Whatever his next step may be, Madis is certain he can take the skills he has learned through UC’s co-op program and apply them to his career.

“Through co-op, I learned how to act and learn in a real work environment, how to interact with a boss and how important it is to ask questions when necessary,” said Madis. “When I graduate, I will have the necessary skills to make a difference wherever I work.”