Sagar Patel has been on three Mercer on Mission trips since he became a student at Mercer in 2015, and he is planning to go on his fourth this year. Patel is the co-founder of a 3D printing company and has played a large role in spearheading growth and innovation for production of prosthetics and orthotics here at Mercer.
Patel is a biomedical engineer on the pre-medicine track with minors in biology and chemistry. He is currently pursuing his master’s in biomedical engineering by doing his thesis on the structural integrity of solid models when they are 3D printed.
“The goal of the project is to hopefully create a material that can be 3D printed that’s close enough to the characteristics of cardiac tissues so that when surgeons use it as practice models, it feels as if they’re actually cutting into real tissue,” he said.
Patel said he is mostly inspired by the mentors he has gained throughout his many stages of life. He looks up to a number of people, including Laura Lackey, the dean of the Mercer engineering school, or his former Peer Advisor Kyla Semmendinger.
He said his own guru has also been a true inspiration for him because he knows he wants to live a life that is spiritually equal to his academic life.
A quote that he likes to live by is, “In the joy of others lies our own,” by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.
“It really identifies who I am as a person,” Patel said. “In everything I do, I try to sacrifice for others in some sort of way.”
Patel said the moments when you interact with people and they feel that you care for them is what serves as his inspiration.
He came to Mercer after visiting and falling in love with the campus and the faculty. He selected his major because his original end-goal was medicine.
“Partially it still is, but I’ve fallen in love with research,” Patel said. “That’s where the 3D printing came into play.”
Patel was working on a project for Mercer Prosthetics and Orthotics club (MPOC) trying to decrease the costs of some of Mercer’s orthotics. Their goal was to 3D print replacements for them.
He also got involved with the robotics club and eventually helped to build a 3D printer for MPOC with the help of Mercer’s student government funding.
Patel would go on to start a business with classmate Jacob Sokolove. They initiated 3D Tech LLC, where they design 3D printers and create prototypes for local businesses or for individuals who are looking to create their own items to sell.
“My end goal now is to hopefully go on to get a MD/Ph.D., and I want to focus in on 3D printing,” Patel said.
He said he’d tell someone looking to pursue a career that may seem daunting or someone who is looking to start a business that fear is a good thing.
“There’s a reason you’re afraid, but it’s something you’re expanding your boundaries to,” he said. “If you’re afraid of fear, you’ll be holding yourself back from different endeavors in your life.”
Patel said if you’re afraid, always take baby steps and learn different paths.
“These steps are places where you can conquer your fears,” he said. “ If you have the people, influences and guidance then that fear will diminish and help you move forward.”