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702 W. Johnson Street, Suite 2104
Madison, WI 53715-1007

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Student Profile: James Hermus

Photograph of James Hermus
  • Major: Biomedical Engineering
  • Graduation Year: May 2016
  • Disability: Dyslexia

The Wisconsin Experience:

I have had quite the adventure at UW-Madison, making some of my best friends, working in cutting edge research groups, and just having fun - for example, by having nerf gun wars in the dorms.  I am profoundly dyslexic and use Kurzweil, a text to audio program, to read.  My dream is to utilize the skills acquired in overcoming my challenges to help others do the same. To do this I hope to work in a research lab designing prosthetic devices.  I am one of four co-founders and was 2 term Vice President of Advocates for Diverse Abilities (ADA), a disability awareness group on campus.  I think that the event I'm most proud of with ADA is the Assistive Technology Night which is an event where students with technological accommodations talk about how they use their devices and let others try them.  In the past we have had stations with people talking about how they use the following:  text to audio programs, assistive listening devices, seeing eye dogs, and power wheel chairs to name a few.

On the research side of things, I have worked in the Medical Physics Department with Dr. Charles Mistretta and Dr. Timothy Szczykutowicz on blood vessel imaging and fluence field modulation techniques for computed tomographic (CT) image reconstruction. I have had the opportunity to present my work at a couple conferences and publish several papers. At the end of my junior year, I joined Dr. Darrel Thelen’s Neuromuscular Biomechanics lab and have helped with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction research and helped to develop a new modality for measuring tendon stress.

Transitioning to the Future:

I will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a masters’ student in the department of mechanical engineering where I hope to pursue a PhD working on design of prosthetic devices to helped people with disabilities.

Advice to Graduating Seniors:

Follow your dreams and don't let anything stop you. "The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something" - Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture. I really like this quote because, for me, one of my brick walls has always been dyslexia; however, in so many ways it has also been what helped me over those walls.; I think everyone has a "brick wall" of their own in some way, but don't let that stop you.








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