CREOL, College of Optics and Photonics, often serves as a launchpad for students to decide the direction they want to take their career and studies. And, often, it’s a distinguished and notable direction. That was certainly the case with Latifah Maasarani, who moved on to Duke University for graduate studies in biomedical engineering after successfully completing her bachelor’s in photonic science and engineering.

Now Maasarani is moving forward with a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Texas A&M. Below, Maasarani shares what’s next for her studies.

CREOL: Why did you choose to continue on with a doctorate?

“My purpose in pursuing graduate studies was to broaden my technical understanding and improve my analytical skills while growing my entrepreneurial skillset. As I looked upon my graduation with my Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in Spring 2021, I realized I still had more I wanted to learn. Therefore, I decided to apply for the BME PhD program at Texas A&M as a means to continue learning and growing in an institution focused on translational research and entrepreneurship.”

CREOL: What are you looking forward to most about this opportunity?

“My academic side is most looking forward to having the opportunity to work on research projects focused on developing technologies with translational ability. (Translational meaning being able to transfer the technology from the lab to the clinic).

My personal side is most looking forward to getting to be a part of another institution with a vast alumni network and resources such as UCF and Duke. It is a privilege to learn from three major institutions and expand my network to include all their incredible students, faculty, and alumni. I believe this opportunity will aid my personal and professional growth and provide me with the knowledge and resources to be a successful entrepreneur and leader.”

CREOL: How has your affiliation with UCF facilitated the chance to work with Texas A&M?

“CREOL is well recognized as one of the top optics colleges in the world. Therefore, when I graduated from CREOL at UCF, I not only felt equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in my career but was recognized as skilled by esteemed professionals in the field who knew CREOL’s reputation. I chose to go to graduate school after UCF to expand my skillset, and my degree from UCF uniquely positioned me to be accepted at multiple prestigious institutions. This journey has now led me to Texas A&M where I will now leverage the skills I gained throughout my time at UCF (and Duke) to successfully complete my Ph.D.”

CREOL: What has been your biggest inspiration through pursuing this opportunity?

After graduation, my goal is to become a biotech entrepreneur; my passion and vision is to develop biomedical imaging devices for point-of-care diagnostics. To achieve this goal, I believe I need to immerse myself in an environment where I can continuously be challenged to grow as a scientist, entrepreneur and leader. I believe I can best do this in a Ph.D. program because completing a doctorate requires you to learn how to guide your progress, acquire funding and create solutions to problems without direct answers. I feel that these are essential traits for me to hone as a developing entrepreneur. Thus, it is my professional and personal growth which are my greatest inspirations in pursuing this opportunity.