Former Denair resident Kristen Temnyk has come a long way since she graduated from Turlock Christian High School in 2012. As a biomedical engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Temnyk was one of five graduating seniors to be recognized as Outstanding Women in Engineering from the Society of Women Engineers’ campus chapter.
“The initial feeling that swept over me as soon as my name was called was a sense of honor,” said Temnyk. “I was nominated among some of Cal Poly's most intelligent, respectable and dedicated engineers, and I was honored and humbled to be standing beside them through the nomination process and award process.”
As the chosen nominee from the biomedical engineering department, Temnyk was selected based on faculty recommendations, demonstrated leadership, related work experience and grade point average. The awards were given at Society of Women Engineers’ annual Evening with Industry on Jan. 26, at the Avila Beach Golf Resort in San Luis Obispo.
Temnyk is currently working towards a master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Cal Poly’s College of Engineering. She said that her interest in biomedical engineering originally sparked from her desire to pursue a career in medicine.
“I have always been drawn to medicine and thought about maybe going down the path of being a doctor, but I thought biomedical engineering was an interesting pathway,” said Temnyk. “After starting off in the major, I realized how much I liked building the tools that help people, so I just kept going.”
After starting off as a researcher “doing the grunt work” for the Cal Poly’s Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Temnyk worked her way up to become the student manager, team leader of the lab as well. According to Cal Poly, her lead role in a tissue-engineered blood vessel mimic project won her a yearlong contract as a research assistant leader from Medtronic Neurovascular. The work also caught the eye of a research group at Mayo Clinic, which resulted in Cal Poly becoming a part of a large National Institutes of Health grant in collaboration with Mayo Clinic.
Temnyk’s numerous internships have included research work at UC San Francisco and Medtronic’s Interventional Therapies Division. Her research has been published at Cal Poly, as well as at UC San Francisco where she made significant contributions to a work on bone regeneration for bone fracture repair.
Looking back, Temnyk said that she credits Cal Poly for providing her with the resources to succeed academically.
“As students, we have the opportunity to learn from the best-educated professors and industry professionals while working alongside them through various projects,” she said. “I valued that aspect greatly. Receiving my collegiate education through Cal Poly — I also received my undergrad in biomedical engineering here — is one of the best decisions and experiences I have ever had.”
After Temnyk receives her master’s degree in biomedical engineering in June, she said that she wants to continue focusing on researching and development.