Ashton Baltazar's passion majoring Biomedical Engineering

Ashton Baltazar

Growing up as a child I was reminded that life is a journey and the importance of growing into adulthood was the result of pursuing passions, making decisions, being prepared, taking calculated risks, and learning from missed opportunities.  I started my educational experience in the public school system, but when the time came for me to enter high school, my parents placed me in a Fine Arts charter school because their academic rating was much higher than the high school I was zoned to attend.  I found myself surrounded by gifted peers who could play instruments, dance, and write creatively, but I was more interested in discovering the “how” and “why” things worked. 

In my junior year of high school I discussed with my academic counselor about my interests in science and math, and the limited resources we currently had within our curriculum. While most students were interested in pursuing a college degree in the Fine Arts, I wanted to grow the opportunities females had in STEM degrees.  I already was a member of the National Honor Society, but discovered other opportunities to help grow and diversify our charter school.  With the help of some school faculty, I developed the National Science Honor Society to help broaden STEM subjects, student projects, and my own personal interest in the fields of math and science.

The summer of my senior year, I started volunteering at a local hospital and discovered the many ways math and science added value in healthcare. I had the privilege to follow an orthopedic surgeon into the operating room and observed patients receiving total joint replacements. It was during this time I realized how necessary the utility of innovation was as I observed the mechanisms of the instruments used in the operations. The joints that were being replaced and the mechanics behind the techniques of the surgeon all relied heavily on engineering designs.

I knew as a young child that I would attend college and receive a college degree, but was faced with many opportunities and outside recommendations of which degree plan to pursue, but those really didn’t fit with what I was interested in and wanted to give back during my career. My entire high school exposure was based upon the Fine Arts and I wanted more. After many college campus tours, scholarships that I turned down at Fine Art universities, and the support of my parents to pursue my passion of studying math and science, I decided to attend UNT as they offered an up and coming Biomedical Engineering Degree program that would allow me to continue graduate work in a STEM field and provide a strong academic basis for pursuing medical school.

During my time as a Biomedical Engineering major at UNT, I have been involved with numerous student organizations including Biomedical Engineering Society, UNT student alumni, Zeta Tau Alpha Panhellenic Sorority including serving in ZTA leadership positions all four years, and continuing to volunteer with local hospitals and community activities in my free time. I have been a very busy student on top of working part time, and minoring in Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry, but it has been extremely fulfilling and never have I doubted nor lost my passion in my decision to major in Biomedical Engineering.

Life is a journey that I continue to look forward to adding value and innovation in the next step of this journey pursuing my passions. I owe my perseverance to the University of North Texas Biomedical Engineering department for pushing me through my shortcomings from when I first started.