Undergrad's Passion to Help Others Leads Her to BME

BME undergraduate Danielle Spencer with her twin brother, James

In high school, UA sophomore Danielle Spencer thought she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Her twin brother James endured years of tests and procedures to treat his seizures, and one in particular – a split brain surgery – had an enormous impact on both siblings.

After the apparent success of the procedure, Spencer told The Daily Wildcat she decided to study neurosurgery to become like those who helped her brother. But it was an episode of "60 Minutes" on biomedical engineering that gave her a better career focus for her scientifically curious mind.

"I remember watching that [60 Minutes] and thinking I can incorporate that sort of technology for someone like my brother, because his way of life still isn't normal or typical," said Spencer.

An avid gymnast, Spencer came to the UA as a recruit by former head coach Bill Ryden – himself a former engineer – who knew of her interest in biomedical engineering.

"The passion and drive Dani demonstrates in the gym is only a piece of who she truly is," said gymnastics team captain and roommate Krysten Howard. She "wants to change lives and be a light to those in need."

Photo of Danielle with her twin, James, courtesy of Danielle Spencer.

University of Arizona College of Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering 1127 E James E. Rogers Way P.O. Box 210020 Tucson, AZ 85721-0020