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Stephanie Chan, B.Eng. '08

(Electrical & Biomedical Engineering) | Eyeing Up the Future

As a senior resident in ophthalmology at the University of Ottawa, Stephanie Chan has set her sights on the world of vision.

As a senior resident in ophthalmology at the University of Ottawa, Stephanie Chan has set her sights on the world of vision. From emergency eye care for children and adults, to procedures for problems like cataracts and eye misalignment, she uses surgical skills to help people maintain their sight.

But her first glimpse into the world of medicine came when she was an undergraduate in McMaster’s Electrical & Biomedical engineering program. A summer co-op position with generic medication manufacturer Apotex was followed by an internship working for a biomedical engineering firm that made radio-frequency medical devices for nerve ablation.

Along with allowing her to explore the world of manufacturing, those two experiences helped open her eyes to the possibilities in health care. Shortly after earning her engineering degree in 2008, Chan was accepted into McMaster’s medical program. In 2012, she graduated with her medical degree. 

But her engineering training continues to serve her in a variety of ways. As a new ophthalmology resident in 2012, Chan spent two weeks volunteering in India at the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology. While too early into her training to help with the medical work, she put her data skills to work to develop a report detailing demographic information of patients, outcomes after cataract surgery and disease distribution. The report helped the clinic identify geographic and demographic areas for added outreach efforts.

“Looking back, I have to say that studying engineering was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she says. “The knowledge base and skills I learned, including practical thinking and effective team work, were easily transferable.”

Once she completes her residency in 2018, Chan hopes to start a practice in the Ottawa region where she currently lives with her husband and two children.