March 19, 2008

Track's Nwanna runs, jumps and throws

Obinna Nwanna

Although he is a member of a rebuilding track and field team at Case Western Reserve University, Obinna Nwanna is a part of an already renowned and established biomedical engineering (BME) program.

The BME undergraduate program at Case Western Reserve is currently ranked seventh in the country by the U.S. News & World Report and the graduate program 10th.

A cornerstone of the success of the BME department at Case Western Reserve is a collaborative environment. Just a sophomore, Nwanna is doing his best to apply this foundation to all facets of his life.

The Maumee native helps map the fascicular anatomy and morphology of the lower sciatic nerve, which he hopes ultimately leads to improved prosthesis made for victims of spinal cord injury (SCI) and strokes.

"I started work as a lab assistant with (assistant professor) Ken Gustafson," he explained. "The focus of the lab is neural engineering and prosthesis. We work on devices to restore genitourinary function in SCI victims."

Being an BME major at the University will certainly give Nwanna many options after he graduates.

"I'd like to become a doctor and get involved in research," Nwanna said. "But a BME degree from Case offers my many opportunities."

His multi-tasking doesn't end in the classroom, as this season he hopes to compete in the decathlon at the Hurricane Invitational on March 22 in Florida during the Spartans' outdoor track and field season.

One event he's been particularly focused on is the pole vault.

"You have to run with a lot of speed into a pole, so it's pretty dangerous," Nwanna said. "I think I'll be alright once I get proficient in it."

Nwanna has already established himself in the long-jump and high-jump this season, taking first in the high-jump and second in the long-jump at the Case Invitational, while also finishing third overall in the shot-put in the same meet. His approach for the high and long jump is simple.

"I just try to clear my mind and drown out all the surrounding noises," he said. "I don't try thinking of anything specific I should be doing. I just let it flow, letting one part of my jump cue the next."

For more information contact Creg Jantz, 216.368.6517.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, March 19, 2008 10:23 AM | News Topics: Athletics, Case School of Engineering, HeadlinesMain, Provost Initiatives, Students, features

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