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ODU Engineering Graduate Earns Full Scholarship to Ph.D. Program at Johns Hopkins

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Taylor Bobrow celebrated a big day on Saturday, May 6, graduating from Old Dominion as his twin sister and his alumni parents Jeff '86 and Ellen '89 proudly looked on. The 22-year-old has many more big days to come.

With his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from ODU's Batten College of Engineering and Technology just completed, Bobrow will leave this summer for Baltimore and a full scholarship to pursue his doctorate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, which has one of the top-ranked biomedical engineering programs in the country.

"I didn't think a Ph.D. was for me. I didn't think I had the smarts," Bobrow said. But when informed of the promise and potential of his undergraduate academics and research by Dean Krusienski and Sylvain Marsillac, professors in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, "that's when I really started to get serious," Bobrow said.

Krusienski said Bobrow's acceptance from an undergraduate engineering program straight into the biomedical engineering Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins is one of the most impressive academic achievements by an Old Dominion student that he has encountered.

"His fellowship to the Ph.D. program at JHU is a testament to his abilities and work ethic," Krusienski said. "His achievement is especially great for the University, showing current and prospective students that ODU graduates have the potential to be competitive at world-class institutions."

For Bobrow, Old Dominion was the perfect choice after graduating from the Governor's STEM Academy at Grassfield High School in Chesapeake.

"What's made ODU so special for me is I had a chance to create experiences for myself," Bobrow said. In addition to his studies, he played drums in the Monarch Marching Band and is a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He is also heavily involved in scouting, serving as national vice chief for Scouting's National Honor Society in 2014.

Bobrow has also found every professor's door open when he wanted to pursue research opportunities. "Dr. Marsillac, Dr. Krusienski, Dr. (Christian) Zemlin (associate professor of electrical engineering) and Dr. (Chris) Bailey (assistant professor of electrical engineering) have provided me so many opportunities. I'm incredibly grateful for their support."

Reza Shadmehr, director of the biomedical engineering program at Johns Hopkins, informed Bobrow in his acceptance letter that he will receive a Biomedical Engineering Fellowship, "one of a small number of fellowships that we award to the very best applicants." In addition to full tuition allowance of more than $50,000 per year, Bobrow will receive a research stipend of nearly $32,000.

"Let me congratulate you on your achievements, and express my sincere wish that you will join us as a full time graduate student in the fall. If you do, you will find that JHU BME is a unique place in which biology, engineering, and medicine come together to form a stimulating environment for creativity," Shadmehr wrote.

That interaction between biomedical engineering doctoral students and medical students attracts Bobrow. "Biomedical engineers work closely with doctors. We are the problem solvers when a physician says, 'One thing I wish I had...'"

After he receives his doctorate, Bobrow wants to be a biomedical entrepreneur or a faculty member like his mentors at Old Dominion.

"I really want to give back if I can. I have had an incredible experience here. I would love to be a mentor like my professors have been for me," Bobrow said.

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