Engineered movement

Wright State student Bri Chan combines her passion for dance and biomedical engineering into a unique college experience.

There’s no dancing around it. Bri Chan has engineered something unusual. She has two majors that at first blush are diametrically opposed — but they meet her two entirely different but similarly strong passions.

Chan, who is from Groveport, Ohio, is a dual dance and biomedical engineering major at Wright State University. The reason is simple: Wright State was the perfect fit.

How did these twin passions develop? “When I was little, my babysitter said I loved to dance around,” Chan said. “My mother enrolled me in dance classes when I was 3.”

As she grew, so did her involvement with movement.

“I was in cheerleading, then gymnastics, then dance. I started with ballet. I enjoyed the feeling of getting to move,” she said. “As I got older, dance became a way to express my emotions. I used it as a form to tell a story. That’s how I fell in love with dance.”

Chan credits her mom, Carmen Chan, a mechanical engineer, for inspiring her passion for biomedical engineering.

“Growing up, I went with her to work sometimes,” Chan said. “I liked the engineering side.”

It was a project in high school that introduced her to the biology side of engineering and cinched its place in her heart. She said her mom’s co-worker had a three-legged dog. As a science skills project, Chan designed a prosthetic fourth leg for the dog, which she already loved.

“It was a success,” she said. “That’s when I fell in love with the medical side of engineering.”

When it came time to pick a college, Chan wanted to major in biomedical engineering while also focusing on dance.

“Wright State has one of the best dance programs in Ohio, and it was close to home,” she said.

Wright State checked all the boxes.

Bri Chan plans to teach dance and later focus on her engineering career.

Chan is between her junior and senior years in dance and will enter the third year of the biomedical engineering program this fall, when she said the courses will begin to intensify. Her plan is to eventually teach dance, and later focus on her science field.

“Bri has one of the most-uncanny abilities to multitask I’ve ever seen,” said Gina Walther, associate professor and head of dance at Wright State. “She is fully committed in every dance class, bringing both her artistic vulnerability and physical strength into every day. She is open to try anything and smart enough to figure out even the most complicated dance moves.”

Walther added, “On a personal note, she is kind, empathetic and beloved by her faculty and peers. I’m so proud of Bri and feel lucky she’s a part of our Dance Program.”

While Wright State is lucky to have Chan, Chan is happy to be at Wright State.

“Wright State is a really good school,” Chan said. “The Biomedical Engineering Program is one of the best in Ohio. The professors in the Dance Program are amazing. They care about our health, and they care about you as a student and a person.”

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