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Meet Spencer Reid ’20: Biomedical Engineer and Veteran

Spencer Reid ’20, a University of Miami biomedical engineering (BME) major, explains that encountering suffering and disabled veterans and civilians during his time as a Marine prompted him to study biomedical engineering.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Reid was uncertain about his future once he graduated from high school. “I had a few ideas; I was interested in programming and applied to a handful of colleges, but I was very uncertain,” explains Reid. “Ultimately, I enlisted in the Marine Corps before I had heard back from the schools I had applied to.”

After two tours in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of State requested more Marines from the Marine Corps. Reid accepted and served another three years – as a sergeant – around the world: Thailand, Ukraine and China. Reid spent a total of seven years on active duty.

“Summer of 2016 was a crazy time for me,” says Reid. “I had just finished my second enlistment; I left Guangzhou, China, in July. I spent three weeks in North Carolina and I then flew to Miami just in time for orientation. I probably took 17 flights in one month.”

The BME program in the College of Engineering and the “cool” projects that the department of BME was working on made the University of Miami (UM) stand out to Reid, compelling him to apply and subsequently attend UM. “The climate was also fundamental to my decision. Miami has beautiful weather. I had enough snow in Ukraine,” Reid jokes.

The transition to college life has gone smoothly for Reid. He explains that the struggles of the transition have been mostly academic, simply because the topics that are fresh on the minds of other students are somewhat dusty to Reid. “In calculus, I spend a lot more time reviewing concepts that other students deem easy, like geometry,” he says.

“In the future, I would like to accomplish two objectives: I would like to work in BME research, developing innovative technology, and ultimately work for the State Department, from an engineering perspective. I am and always will be attached to the military part of my career,” says Reid.

As a Marine, Reid and his comrades have sacrificed everything for their country. “One matures to have a different perspective on life and, eventually, a greater sense of the nation,” Reid says.  “I feel that here, at UM, with all the opportunities available, I will be able to continue providing for the nation as I once did, but this time, through engineering.”

“This unique perspective” continues Reid, “has made me eager to help those in need. What we have here, in the U.S., is unique to the world, and it will only remain special if we fight to keep it that way. It is kept alive by the people who devote themselves to science and technology, who devote their careers to bettering the lives of those around them.”