Amazing Students Profiles

Adrienne Madison

Adrienne Madison

During her time as an engineering Ph.D. student, Adrienne Madison has touched the lives of many young, underrepresented students through her extensive mentoring and teaching activities.


Fairfield, Ala.

High School:

Ramsay High School

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in biological and agricultural engineering

Other degrees:

B.S. in biomedical engineering (minor in material science and engineering), University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Expected graduation:

Summer 2013

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Throughout my tenure at UGA I have been extremely engaged in mentoring and fostering elementary, middle, high school and college students’ interest in STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—disciplines, with special emphasis geared toward underrepresented populations.  My aim has been to instill in these students that the innovations of tomorrow begin with the ideas of today.

Based on a partnership with UGA and the Greene County Board of Education, I was able to participate in the Greene County Schools Better Educated Students of Tomorrow (B.E.S.T) enrichment program in which I served as a math instructor at Greene County High School and Anita White Carson Middle School from 2008-2012.

Since July 2010, I have served as a mentor, panelist and summer bridge session instructor for the campus and statewide Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program. Also in July 2010, I was granted the distinction of being appointed as the inaugural CURO Graduate Engineering Fellow in an established partnership between the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities and the former Faculty (now College) of Engineering. Serving in this capacity from 2010-2012, I worked to recruit undergraduate engineering students interested in gaining academic credit through lab research opportunities.

I also have been involved with campus organizations including the Graduate and Professional Scholars, Graduate Student Association, Graduate Students and Post-Docs in Science, UGA Engineering Graduate Club and, most recently, as a founding graduate adviser for the newly established UGA chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Current Employment:

Graduate research/teaching assistant, College of Engineering biophotonics laboratory.

Through my research focus of “Contributions to Biomechanical Finite Element Analysis Based on 3D Medical Images,” I implement computational analysis in the research, design and development of medical devices, along with applications related to bioimaging, biomaterials and biomechanics, in collaboration most recently with the UGA School of Veterinary Medicine.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am a first generation Dawg!

I chose to attend UGA because…

… I was so engaged with my research that I decided to follow my major professor, Mark Haidekker, when he became a professor here in 2007.  It was also exciting to know that I would be a part of a developing College of Engineering as well as studying at the first chartered public university in the U.S.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

… attending sports events, lecture series, showcases of arts and performance, and biomedical research in the lab, of course.

When I have free time, I like…

… sleeping, spending time with friends and family, and leisure reading.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

There are actually two things:

1. Pursuing a Ph.D. without first having a master’s degree. This has been a monumental life experience for me because I have learned invaluable lessons in perseverance, diligence and sacrifice. Such a journey posed a significant risk because not to complete this degree would leave me with just my bachelor’s degree; however, it serves as a testament of my passion for biomedical engineering and research.

2. Attend three schools in the SEC East Division: University of Tennessee, University of Missouri and UGA. I am frequently a “house divided”!

My favorite place to study is…

… anywhere that is quiet and has caffeine easily accessible.

My favorite professor is…

… my major professor, Mark Haidekker. I cannot imagine this journey without his continuous encouragement, confidence and nurturing of my scientific philosophies and abilities.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

… my maternal grandparents, who are now deceased. My grandmother’s diabetic complications subsequently led to the amputation of most of her toes. This fueled my interests in prosthetic devices and artificial organs, which ultimately led to my decision to study biomedical engineering.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… be an offensive coordinator for a college football team or host a college football program with friends on a major sports network.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

… ensure that all amputees, especially children, members of the armed forces and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, had unlimited access to the most innovative prosthetic devices available to maintain their previous—or achieve an enhanced—quality of life.

After graduation, I plan to…

… embark on a research career that fulfills my ultimate goal of being a senior level engineer who manages teams responsible for the research, development, design, testing or manufacturing of medical devices and related apparatus.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

… my very first time “between the hedges.”  I believe that was my solidifying and official rite of passage into the Bulldog family.