Capitalizing on opportunities throughout college 

Ishita Sameer Bhedi in a classroom in Indianapolis.

When not in classes or student organization meetings, Ishita Sameer Bhedi conducts research.

Ishita Sameer Bhedi is making the most of her time as a Purdue biomedical engineering student in Indianapolis  

“I knew that I could thrive in my engineering degree here,” says Ishita Sameer Bhedi, a Purdue biomedical engineering student in Indianapolis. “And it turns out that I’ve gotten pretty involved along the way.” 

Involved to the extent that her resume reads like that of a professional with decades upon decades of experience — not a 22-year-old college student. Bhedi has built her success story in the Indianapolis community — around campus and in classes — making connections and already activating her career.  

She’s earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees through a five-year accelerated degree track. As of the beginning of November, she finalized plans to add a new chapter: She accepted a full-time position with Eli Lilly and Co

“Every day is interesting,” she says. “I’m always wondering what tomorrow will bring.” 

I knew I could thrive in my engineering degree here.

Ishita Sameer Bhedi  Purdue biomedical engineering student in Indianapolis

Choosing Indianapolis  

Indiana’s capital city isn’t Bhedi’s hometown. Her first visit to the U.S. was when she arrived for her college move-in day in 2019. She was born in India, lived in Dubai for 10 years, then lived in Qatar for seven. While she was in high school, a university representative relayed the chance to get a Purdue degree from an urban campus. 

“I had heard of Purdue, because who hasn’t?” she says. “For someone interested in engineering, it’s recognized around the world to be a top choice. I knew I wanted to go to Purdue, and then I learned about how Indianapolis supports so many industries and organizations in the medical field. It was perfect.” 

Biomedical engineering has been her passion for years. She became interested in medicine while taking biology as a high school freshman and was excited about the chance to focus directly on biomedical engineering in college instead of resorting to other institutions’ more generalized majors. 

The Indianapolis location ties Purdue’s leading education to the exact program that she was seeking and offers a unique downtown environment that she’s loved getting to know. 

“I love it here,” she says. “For me, being in the city has been perfect. I can live here, work here, study here. I’m surrounded by all of these different perspectives and a lot of ways to connect with others.” 

I’m surrounded by all of these different perspectives and a lot of ways to connect with others.

Ishita Sameer Bhedi 
Purdue biomedical engineering student in Indianapolis 

Thriving in the Indianapolis community 

Through networking around Indianapolis, Bhedi has made new friends, been introduced to mentors and formed the foundation for her career. Today, her connections can be found everywhere: volunteering at Coburn Place, being a part of the Indianapolis 500 and working at Eli Lilly. 

“A friend of mine started the Domestic Abuse Prevention Student Organization after a group of us decided we wanted to spend time volunteering in Indy,” she says. “We contacted Coburn Place and started regularly helping with their services.” Coburn Place provides survivors of domestic violence and their children with support and safe housing.  

She has also been a part of the 500 Festival Princess Program, dedicated to celebrating Indiana’s civic-minded, academically driven young women. Through this, she met 32 other program ambassadors from around the state. 

“It was nice to meet girls from all over and hear about their college experiences,” she says. “I heard about the program from a friend, who was actually a TA in one of my classes freshman year. I had kept it in the back of my mind while I was becoming more and more familiar with Indy, and by senior year I was really excited to apply.” 

Within the last couple of years, she has cultivated other lasting connections that have led to reputable results: her role at Lilly. She’ll be a senior scientist in manufacturing and quality there once she graduates with her master’s degree in 2025.  

“I’m excited to see all of the people I’ve met there again,” she says. “During my junior year, I was an intern at Lilly doing research in the Medicines Innovation Hub and Drug Discovery and Development department. Since I like the rules and regulations side of the processes, I switched my focus to manufacturing and quality.”  

She is graduating with a few friends who are also headed to Lilly. Just as she networked around the Indianapolis community, she found Boilermakers around campus who enriched her college experience as they spent time together in a variety of student clubs. 

Joining clubs on campus 

“How cool would it be to run the school?” 

Bhedi and a friend were hanging out in a residence hall room during their freshman year. To some, asking what it would be like to lead the university would be a purely rhetorical question. To them, it was the start of an ambitious plan.  

Bhedi says, “We went down this rabbit hole of research on student government, and we decided, ‘You know what? Let’s do it. By senior year.’”  

First, Bhedi became part of the Engineering and Technology Student Council and a student government representative. She started becoming more familiar with the cares and concerns of students and learning what she could eventually do to help. In their junior year, she and her friend assembled a council of representatives from every school within the university.  

The committee helped the duo stay informed on students’ cares and concerns and advocated for an exciting milestone the following year: Bhedi was elected student government treasurer, and her friend was elected president.  

“It all started with one casual conversation,” she says. “I loved being in student government so much as an undergraduate that I transitioned over to the graduate and professional student government. I’m the vice president now. It’s been a very fruitful experience.” 

Ishita Sameer Bhedi and peers with an ultrasound machine.
Soon, Bhedi will be working in labs full time at Eli Lilly and Co.

Serving the student body comes in more than one form for Bhedi. In addition to her involvement with the Domestic Abuse Prevention Student Organization and student government, she also manages the Mathematics Assistance Center and served as executive director of legal and logistics for TEDxIUPUI. Her leadership abilities stem from her own learning experiences and her love for problem-solving.  

“We tutors love the word ‘yet,’” she says. “It’s a mindset. Students come in and say, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ and we say, ‘Yet.’ You don’t understand this equation … yet. You are not confident about the exam … yet. You will learn.” 

Accepting the “yets” and embracing challenges has been a big part of her progression through college.  

“Coming to the U.S. for the first time to be at this university was not an easy step,” she says. “But I really think my advisors and professors helped me branch out because they made sure I was comfortable. I had a good foundation to jump into all these opportunities.” 

Excelling in classes 

While advancing in her professional and personal pursuits, Bhedi has also been an academic powerhouse, leading the way in her courses and research labs. She’s been gathering the insights she needs before jumping into the pharmaceutical world full time.  

“With biomedical engineering, you can go into prosthetics,” she says. “I’m not as into mechanics, so I pivoted toward biomaterials, which is anything that goes into someone’s system. It could include pharmaceuticals, as well as tissue engineering and implantable materials.” 

Day-to-day schedules look different, depending on which club is meeting, what exam is on the horizon or when research steps are happening. In her research, she’s studying the relationship between biomedical engineering education and health equity and how the two complement one another.   

As a senior, Bhedi was recognized as a top 10 student by IUPUI. Each year, select students are honored for their commitments to academic performance, campus leadership and community engagement.  

“It’s definitely been a roller coaster,” she says. “And I can’t wait to experience what’s next.”