Honors Alum Spotlight: Samuel LaFreniere ’21

Recent 2021 Merrimack College graduate Samuel Lafreniere decided to make his dream of living in Hawaii a continuous reality. Accepted into a 2-year master’s program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for Mechanical Engineering, he lives the dream of being a 10-minute walk to the beach.
Samuel LaFreniere
Samuel LaFreniere

The Northview held a Zoom call with Lafreniere to talk about what the island life is like, what he is up to in his studies and more.

When asked what led him to choose a school so far away from home, Sam replied that it was a ‘mix of things.’ “Location, firstly. Who doesn’t want to live in Hawaii? Secondly, I was given a great research opportunity in a field that really interested me.”

The research opportunity that Lafreniere mentioned is his work with Dr. Bardia Konh. It involves developing less-invasive, bendable, and robotically-controlled biopsy needles. The needles that he is helping develop are to create an easier recovery for patients who are being tested for prostate cancer. “I’ve always wanted to help people,” Lafreniere said, “and especially with robotics. This gives me an amazing opportunity to do both, and a foot in the door to start my career in a similar field.”

Specifically for the research, Lafreniere does all the coding and integration to help the needle move. “In this day and age, this will allow all doctors to do this kind of surgery remotely. And now, in the world of COVID-19, this is an even more valuable option to have.”

“Everybody else on my team put this [project] together, and it’s my job to give it life.”

Overall, Lafreniere is enjoying his time on Oahu. Besides the fresh pineapple and no snow to shovel, “being able to walk everywhere, see the culture, and experience a new way of life is an unforgettable experience.”

Mahalo, Sam, for taking the time to sit with us and discuss your research. We wish you the best from chilly Andover, Massachusetts.


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