ZIPPING THROUGH THE STREETS of Boston by bicycle, experiencing an exhilarating rush each time he races down a straightaway or leans into a curve, Adam Ziel, BSCO ’18, spends some of his time working for Right Coast Courier. At 22, you might never guess that he has already undergone heart surgery three times in his life.

Portrait of a man wearing a red hat

Photo by Greg Abazorius

Even more remarkable: He recently completed a co-op at Philips Healthcare, where he helped develop software that features components found in the same ultrasound system used on him during his most recent surgery in January 2018.

“I’ve been familiar with cardiac and ultrasound systems for a long time,” Ziel says. “It felt like a natural fit.”

Ziel was diagnosed with a heart murmur the day after he was born. An ultrasound exam later found that he had a congenial defect that was not spotted during pregnancy. Ziel’s heart helped develop—that he truly recognized the power of the work he was doing.

Upon graduating, Ziel joined Philips in Seattle full time as an embedded software engineer. Asked if he has ever correlated the ultrasound work he’s done to his own experiences, Ziel relates that he did not think much of the gravity of the situation.

“You realize the importance of it after talking to other people,” he says, “but I was just doing my job.”

–Greg Abazorius