Meet Diamond Naa Ayorkor Mensah, E23

School: School of Engineering

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Home: New York City—trying my hardest to go back there after I graduate!

Why was the School of Engineering the right place for you?

I had hands-on experience working in a biology lab in high school, and I loved it. I even got in trouble once, because I skipped one of my lectures to go to the lab. I just loved building things—design, physics, and mechanics—and it seemed like biomedical engineering would be a good path for me.

Tufts has been great because of the opportunities I’ve had here. For example, during the spring of my first year, I reached out to Madeleine Oudin to see if she’d be willing to take on an undergrad in her lab. I’d heard that some professors don’t invite first-years into their labs, but she was open and encouraging. That was in 2020, so, because of the pandemic, I ended up not joining in person, but I was invited to many virtual events the lab was holding: meetings, thesis defenses, talks by grad students.

The following summer, when I started working in the lab full-time, I already had the background I needed and I knew the people involved, so it was an easy integration for me. The whole experience helped me get comfortable with higher-level research. I was lucky to be able to learn the basics without the stress of having to be perfect the first time. I got to ease my way into advanced college research and eventually make significant contributions to the lab's research, and I’m not sure if that’s an opportunity I would have had anywhere else.

What accomplishment at Tufts are you most proud of?

I’m a TA in the physics department, and for the past three years I’ve held my own office hours. I’m proud of the one-on-one interactions I’ve had with other students—but most proud of the times I’ve successfully gotten them to enjoy physics! Not many people like physics, but I love it, and it makes me happy when a student I’m teaching realizes that they get what’s going on, or when there’s a student who never speaks at the start of the semester but then toward the end feels comfortable sharing their ideas. I’m always proud of myself—and of my students!—when I help people enjoy the subject.

What’s your superpower?

I’m really good at cranking things out when I need to. I can stay up for 48 hours if I need to, to get everything done.

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