Joie Marhefka, PhD, ’00 ChE

Joie Marhefka, PhD, ’00 ChE
Joie Marhefka, PhD, ’00 ChE

Q: What was your career path after graduation?

A: After graduating from Villanova I went to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh and earned my PhD in bioengineering. I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and then worked at two Pittsburgh-based start-up companies, Falcon Genomics and Accel Diagnostics, where I was Head of Engineering for four years. During that time, I started teaching physics part time at Robert Morris University, and, a year ago, started a full-time teaching position in biomedical engineering technology at Penn State New Kensington.

Q: What are you doing now?

 A: I am the program coordinator for the Biomedical Engineering Technology Program at Penn State New Kensington, and am also an instructor in that program.

Program Coordinator and Instructor, Biomedical Engineering Technology Program at Penn State New Kensington
Program Coordinator and Instructor, Biomedical Engineering Technology Program at Penn State New Kensington

Q: What has been the highlight of your career to date?

A: I’m not sure that I have one highlight to my career (so far).  I will say that I’m proud to have earned my PhD. I’ve enjoyed the different experiences of my career, but am really happy to be teaching now.

Q: How did your Villanova education contribute to your success?

A: My Villanova education was instrumental in my success to this point. It gave me the foundation that I needed to further my education and be successful in my career. In addition, the wonderful experience I had at Villanova sparked my interest in a career in higher education. I want to impact the lives of my students in the same was my professors at Villanova impacted mine.

Q: What do you know now that you wish you knew then (as a college student or new graduate)?

A: I wish I knew how many twists and turns my career path would take. I’ve learned that it is okay not to know “what you want to be when you grow up” while you are in college. And it is perfectly fine to change directions many times as long as you grow and learn from every step in your career.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to the next generation of female engineers? 

A: I know it sounds cliché, but don’t give up on your goals and dreams. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you will fail. Life is hard, and you will fail at some point—everyone does. But through hard work you can achieve your goals. And don’t be afraid to ask for help—having a good mentor is so important to success in your career and life.