What led you to choose science and/or engineering as a career, particularly in the medical device field?
I’ve always been interested in physics, math, and chemistry, so choosing chemical engineering as my college major wasn’t a surprise to anyone. I really had no idea what I wanted to do with the degree though, so I ended up at Avery Dennison in their labels business in a rotational leadership development program for engineering. While at Avery Dennison, I was invited to take a tour of the medical division facility, and I realized: I needed to work there. Learning about how the medical division took the skills and processes I already knew and use it to create medical products to help people — that was the dream. Right before my rotational program was complete, a position opened at the medical division for an R&D engineer, and I applied immediately. I’ve only been working with medical devices for a year now, but I can definitely say it was the right decision for me.
What has been your most rewarding moment/accomplishment as an engineer/scientist in the medical field?
My most rewarding moment was in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. My team had developed face shields and N95 respirators to support the need for PPE in hospitals. The moment it really hit me was when I saw the first products come off our manufacturing line. As I watched each part run through the final steps of the process, I realized that each and every one of those shields and masks would directly help people who are risking their lives to help others. I felt an immense sense of pride in myself and my team, knowing that the work we had done was truly impacting lives for the better.
What advice would you give to other women looking to work in biomedical engineering and science?
If you get the opportunity to try something new, different, or scary, take it. There will always be someone to teach you and help you get where you need to be. I have found they are most often fellow women in STEM who want to see us all succeed. As someone who never expected to be in the medical engineering field and had basically no idea what I was getting into, I wouldn’t be here if not for the women who taught me. Take the step and know there will be someone there to show you the way, and eventually you will be that person for someone else.
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