Alumni Spotlight: Daniella Hébert
As a Mechanical Engineering major in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors Program at Stony Brook, Daniella Hébert participated in various academic and social opportunities that led her to discover her passion for research. During her sophomore year at SBU, Daniella enrolled in a “Research and Discovery in STEM” course where she engaged in three different research lab rotations. “I realized that I was drawn to the novelty and discovery that I associated with pure science fields such as physics, but wanted to continue looking at the practical applications of the concepts I studied in my classes.”
Daniella gained meaningful experience during her rotation at Brookhaven National Lab in the Collider-Accelerator Department by observing and working alongside physicists, materials scientists, and engineers. This experience led her to apply to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Programs where she was accepted to the Materials REU at Columbia University. “My time in the REU conducting research on water responsive biomaterials for renewable energy applications solidified my desire to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in research.”
Throughout her junior year she continued exploring heat transfer and clean energy research by working in Professor Jon Longtin’s lab at the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center ( AERTC) studying ways to improve the efficiency of residential hydronic heaters by manipulating fluid flow. Professor Longtin recalls, “I had the pleasure of having Daniella both as a student and as an undergraduate researcher on a project that we had to improve the performance of baseboard heating systems. Her commitment and dedication to her studies and our project was extraordinary. She has an unbridled energy, enthusiasm and passion for all things engineering that was infectious. It was a delight to work with her, and her capabilities were obvious very early on. It is wonderful to see her continue to succeed and advance in her career.”
Daniella also had the opportunity to work in the Medical Device Innovation Clinic with Dr. Lauren Maloney at Stony Brook University Hospital through the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program. During this time she worked with an interdisciplinary team of undergraduate and graduate students, physicians, and faculty members across fields to help publish their research on an improved respiratory intubation chamber to protect hospital staff treating COVID-19 patients in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
During Daneilla’s senior year at SBU she researched and began designing a pre-hospital ultrasound training device to be used by EMTs and paramedics. This research led her team to present a pitch at the 2021 Wolfie Tank competition where they won first place, as well as another prize through the Stony Brook Entrepreneur’s Challenge, which provided them with the funding for the prototyping stage of their project.
Since graduating from Stony Brook, Daniella has been pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University. She is currently combining her interests in materials, energy and mass transfer, and medical device design and beginning to conduct research in the area of microneedle fabrication. Daniella has been selected as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Tau Beta Pi Fellow. In the future, she hopes to work at National Lab or in industry as a research engineer continuing to study materials for medical devices or renewable energy applications.