Student Spotlight: Avinash Konkani

Avinash Konkani joined Oakland University (OU), Rochester, MI in Fall-2010 as a doctoral student in the department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He has Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree in Biomedical Engineering (2001) from Karnatak University, India and MS in Biomedical Engineering (2005) from Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. He has nearly 5 years of experience, as a biomedical engineer and as a faculty in a private engineering college in India before joining OU.

With this strong background in Biomedical engineering and healthcare system, Avinash started his PhD program in Systems Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Oakley. He has been nearly three years at Oakland University and two research articles on his research work have been published in the Journal of Critical Care and Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology.  Recently in Feb-2013, he has been the winner of national level student paper competition as a part of 2013 American College of Clinical Engineering’s (ACCE’s) Advocacy awards. According to ACCE’s website, “this award is given to a current graduate student in a Clinical Engineering (CE) or related graduate program, who wrote a paper that contributes significantly to the body of knowledge in CE”. In the first week of June-2012, he was awarded the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) Foundation’s the Michael J. Miller scholarship for the year -2012. He was the only graduate engineering student throughout the USA to receive this prestigious award for academic excellence, technical aptitude and commitment to the healthcare technology management field.

During his journey as an International Student, he came across many challenges and the International Student and Scholar’s (ISSO) office at OU has been very supportive. In January 2013, OU’s ISSO presented him the first ever “Student of the Month” award. During the month of April-2012, the ISSO along with Global Talent Retention Initiative of Southeast Michigan (GTRI) had organized a Career Conference for International Students. This conference has provided learning and networking opportunity for many students and it highlighted many things like, how to carry out the job search, how to write resume for American companies and how to prepare for Interview etc. During this conference he met Dr. Athena Trentin, Program Director of GTRI. Soon after this conference he had applied for a job with one of the major automotive industry in Michigan and Dr. Trentin was very helpful in providing her expertise to convince the recruiter that international students can be hired without any VISA sponsorship for at least one year and for those from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) background can work for 29 months without any VISA sponsorship. Many of the American companies do not know this kind of information. GTRI has been working with students and companies to educate such important issues to make sure the International Talent remains with in Michigan.