Astin and Aftin Ross are identical twins who happen to share the same passion: science and engineering. They both graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering, and earned their Masters and PhDs in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Growing up, Astin and Aftin supported one another in academics, becoming each other’s most reliable study buddy, which was perfect because the two took a lot of the same classes.
While the Ross sisters have always had each other’s back inside and outside the classroom, they arrived to their decision to pursue biomedical engineering differently. For Aftin, it was because of her professor’s son, who’s quadriplegic, that she decided to pursue biomedical engineering explaining: “The thought that I could be involved in something with the potential to improve and extend the quality of someone’s life… that’s a really huge thing.”
In turn, Astin was inspired to go into biomedical engineering after working with a professor in a summer research program who specialized in mechanical engineering, sharing: “That was really when I first saw biomedical engineering as an application. Although the faculty member was in mechanical engineering, he was looking at orthotic devices— specifically for prosthetics, and I was impressed. ‘Oh, you can use something that’s engineering-based and really impact people in a meaningful way.’That was very attractive to me.”
With their strong support system for each other, Astin now works as an Innovator in Residence (helping academic inventors with market discovery) and a Freelance Scientific Editor, and Aftin, a Commissioner’s Fellow at a Food and Drug Administration, who as she explains, helps “ensure the safety, effectiveness, and availability of medical devices in the event of a public health emergency.”
Astin and Aftin, thank you both for showing young girls who look like you, they too can pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, and who knows, perhaps change the world.