School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

The shape of you – Meet Erin Lee

Student in Mechanical and Materials Engineering   

by Phil Gaudreau, April 2020

Amy Cleaver

Ever been told you have broad shoulders? While it may just be a metaphor, it turns out there is some variation in the human shoulder and those subtle variations could make you better at certain activities or more susceptible to injury.

Erin Lee (Sc’19) is studying shoulder joints as part of her doctorate in mechanical engineering.

“Our shoulder bones are highly variable compared to other bones in the human body,” she explains. “These subtle differences could lead to different optimal function, but it could also lead to more rotator cuff tears, for example. It’s not that one shoulder shape means you can’t do an activity but knowing your shape might help you make subtle differences to make your activity more efficient.”

Erin is just six months into her studies, though it is a continuation of research work she began during her undergraduate degree. Her research could have big implications across physiotherapy treatments, the creation of prosthetics, and ongoing questions about how your bones develop with age.

These aren’t mere academic questions for the competitive swimmer. Erin has been a part of the Queen’s swim team for the past five years and was a competitive swimmer prior to university as well. She’s now gearing up for a second act as a triathlon competitor as a way of staying active during her studies.

Hailing from Sault Ste. Marie, Erin says Kingston is the perfect size and says she particularly enjoys the downtown especially in the summer. She is the second generation of Queen’s alumni in her family–her parents met at Queen’s, and it was fairly obvious which way they were trying to steer Erin and her siblings.

“When we were completing school tours, we spent a half day at each school but two days in Kingston,” Erin says. “Still, I chose Queen’s because I wanted a strong, collaborative community and this is what I have found here. The professors are approachable, everyone encourages one another, and I appreciated the opportunities to start with research during my undergrad degree.”

To learn more about graduate studies in mechanical engineering, visit the School of Graduate Studies’ website.