Commencement Profile: Sterlie Achille

By Lauren Comander

Commencement Profile: Sterlie Achille

By Lauren Comander
A Biomedical Engineering Major and campus leader, Sterlie Achille involved herself in many activities outside the classroom.

It’s hard to imagine how Sterlie Achille could have packed more into her ‘Canes experience, and as she prepares to graduate this month from the College of Engineering, she feels like she’s leaving the campus with so much more than her degree. “I got to do everything I wanted to do!” Achille says.

A biomedical engineering student, Achille added to her engineering education as a student lab assistant at the Miller School of Medicine, where she supported scientists conducting federally-funded HIV research. Later, during an independent study in the College of Engineering’s Biomechanics Lab, she worked alongside a graduate student performing conductivity experiments and statistical analysis.

During the summer of 2016, Achille headed to Seattle for an internship at the organization Alexander Hamilton Scholars. There, she managed data integration and created a database that allowed students to find other scholars in the program based on certain criteria. She also facilitated group discussions and panels with financial professionals and chief executives. “It was a great opportunity to network and learn about the non-profit sector,” she recalls.

Achille also applied her biomedical engineering courses and other experience for her senior project. The daughter of two nurses, she had long heard about the frustration of trying to prevent bed ulcers – sores often caused by lack of movement when a patient is bedridden. She was thrilled when given the opportunity to work with her senior design group to create a prototype device that detects and manages the high pressures responsible for bed ulcers. “It was very gratifying to use my engineering education to help alleviate these problems my parents saw as nurses,” she says.

Achille’s education also expanded beyond engineering. Having known since she was a small child that she could build anything with her hands, Achille had developed a curiosity about architecture. She sated it by studying the subject for two weeks in Prague and Vienna during an intersession. “I thought it was the coolest thing ever!” she says.

As a leader on campus, Achille served as secretary for the Engineering Advisory Board and planned networking events for new students. A Haitian immigrant, she also served as vice president of Planet Kreyol, a UM student organization that gives a voice to Haitian students. The highlight for her was a drive she helped organize to send supplies to the nation after it was ravaged by Hurricane Matthew.

Achille’s role as a peer advisor for the Toppel Career Center allowed her to interact with other students through presentations, practice interviews and sessions where she’d provide feedback on LinkedIn profiles and resumes. “Being a peer advisor allowed me to practice my public speaking and helped me get out of my shell,” she says.

As she edges closer to her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, Achille is focused on applying to graduate programs for a Master of Public Health. She plans to start graduate school in fall 2018. Meanwhile, she’s looking into returning to the Orlando Regional Medical Center’s biomedical engineering department, where she spent this past summer conducting preventative maintenance checks on medical incubators and pumps.

“I really enjoyed my time at the University of Miami, and wouldn’t change my experience as a Cane for anything!” Achille says.