What led you to choose science and/or engineering as a career, particularly in the medical device industry?
Meurant: I grew up in a family with a personal realization that science directly impacted our lives. My mother’s two-year-old sister missed the round of vaccination for diphtheria and died in her dad’s arms not long after, and my father was a horticulturalist who changed international practices through his daily efforts. We were encouraged to be creative, to learn, and to love this planet! Growing up poor and in the tropics made these aspects seem effortless.
What has been your most rewarding moment/accomplishment as an engineer/scientist in the medical industry?
Meurant: My time at the World Health Organization was the most rewarding, especially during the 2014 Ebola Virus outbreak, but to decide on a single moment, it was when I was around 30 and loving life while working as a young lab scientist in infectious diseases. I was observing a set of pathology results that, in view of the clinical history and other findings, made no sense (and which the medicos had missed.) By following my intuition and medical knowledge and pursuing the issue instead of signing off on “just another pathology result,” my effort ultimately led to potentially saving someone with significant pancytopenia from dying of undiagnosed malaria. It led me to realize that we all can make a difference if we take our work seriously, pay attention, embrace learning opportunities, and keep asking questions.
What advice would you give to other women looking to work in biomedical engineering and science?
Meurant: Go for it! The future is limitless, so do not limit yourself. Find good mentors. Apart from my parents, several of mine have been women, often with multiple kids and serious jobs with incomprehensible hours, and they were brilliant at home and with their families. I cannot follow in their footsteps, but I enjoy trying to do my best in all I do, within my own capacity. But for sure, a number are also men. If you are a mature scientist or engineer, remember for better or for worse, you are an example. Make the most of this opportunity.
More Interviews in our "Leading Women in Engineering & Science" Series:
- Tracy Campbell Accardi, Vice President, Surgical Robotics Research & Development, Medtronic
- Anne F. Booth, Owner/President, Booth Scientific Sterilization and Quality System Professionals
- Ulkuhan Guler, Assistant Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Robyn Meurant, Executive Director, Regulatory Services, IVDs and Medical Devices, NSF International
- Ekaterina Tkatchouk, Principal Engineer, Edwards Lifesciences
- Maryam Zahabi, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University
More Profiles in our "Leading Women in Engineering & Science" Series:
- Dr. Annette Teng, CEO; Lisa Wen, Process Engineer; Promex
- Dawn F. Massa Stancavish, Chief Innovation Officer & COO; Massa Products Corporation
- Sarah Charette, Product Manager; The Lee Company
- Katie Farley, Kim Jackson, Sue Marchant, Patricia Santos-Serrao & Erin Wright; MasterControl
- Winnie Yu, PhD, Senior Director of Medical Innovation; Flex - Health Solutions
- Yolita Wildman Nugent, Director, Advanced Soft Systems Integration; Flex - Health Solutions
- Mahsa Nakhjiri, Senior Director of Technical Product Management; Flex - Health Solutions
- Kristin Edgerton, Lead Project Engineer; Scientific Products Group
- Jenica Kolhoff, Nitinol, Applications Engineer