Austin Steward: Bioengineering major aiming for pediatric career in Maine

Austin Steward, a third-year bioengineering major at the University of Maine, was part of a select group who gained early access to the Tufts University School of Medicine through the Maine Track Early Assurance program.

Born of a partnership between Tufts and Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine Track Early Assurance reserves a limited number of seats per year for sophomores from University of Maine System institutions, as well as at Bates, Bowdoin and Colby colleges.

All three UMaine students who applied this year were accepted. They are guaranteed spots at TUSM after they graduate from UMaine in 2019, if they maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher.

“I chose bioengineering because it was the perfect melody of what I wanted for my career as well as what I enjoy scholastically,” Steward says. “My aspirations are to attend medical school and become a practicing pediatrician in the state of Maine.”

The Maine Track Early Assurance program, which was established in 2008 and accepted its first students in 2009, began with the hope that a significant number of its graduates will go on to practice medicine in Maine.

Steward, who is from Colebrook, New Hampshire, also is a student in the Honors College.

“The Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering provided me with the team work ethic and problem-solving abilities that combined with my medical knowledge to make me a unique and qualified candidate,” he says of applying to TUSM. “The Honors College helped to fill out my education by providing humanitarian discussions that are important to be aware of in the medical field. Helping us to personally answer questions such as what it means to be human, what is self-fulfillment, and how our culture is shaped.”

Steward is a Maine Space Grant Consortium award recipient for his research related to arsenic remediation from Maine drinking water, which he conducted in the lab of bioengineering professor Caitlin Howell. He also is a member of several groups on campus, including Alpha Tau Omega, America’s Leadership Development Fraternity; Sophomore Owls Society; and Biomedical Engineering Society.

“UMaine is so much more than the place where I am getting my education; it’s my home and it’s the ‘college of my heart always,’” Steward says. “The community and atmosphere at UMaine is one of inclusivity and involvement. I had a professor once say, ‘Don’t let your classes get in the way of your education,’ and I really take that to heart. So much of what I’ve learned about myself, and the skills I have gained have come from outside of the classroom.”

The full profile on Steward is on the College of Engineering website.

Contact: Vicky Wingo, 207.581.2204