GMI Summer Experience – Week 10

My summer in Costa Rica is over and I am back in the US! It’s been a long and busy summer working at Boston Scientific. Though I’m sad that summer is over, I could not be more excited to be back in Houston! This summer was busy right from week 1 up until week 10. Here’s an overview of my schedule from the 10 weeks in Costa Rica:

Week 1: Three-day orientation in Houston. First week in Costa Rica consisted of “needs finding” at hospitals and clinics around the country.

Week 2-5: First 4 weeks of internship at Boston Scientific Heredia.

Week 6: GMI Short Course at Universidad de Costa Rice (UCR). This week coincides with Boston Scientific’s week long shut down, so no work days are missed. See Week 6 Blog for more information about the GMI Short Course.

Week 7-10: Final 4 weeks of internship at Boston Scientific.

My summer internship at BSCI helped me learn a great deal about myself, my career interests, and the medical device industry. I was introduced to the world of manufacturing engineering and gained experience working in the field this summer. Manufacturing engineering is a tough department to work in. Engineers maintain jam-packed schedules in manufacturing, running from meeting to meeting to discuss new projects or addressing a new issue on the production floor. The engineers I worked with this summer were some of the hardest working people I have ever met. Issues that arise on the production floor, anything from equipment failure to a material defect, are handled by manufacturing engineers. There is no routine schedule in manufacturing because you are constantly solving problems as they arise. At the beginning of the week, a manufacturing engineer may have a relatively clear schedule, but at a moment’s notice that schedule might fill up due to a new process improvement project or a need to address a newly occurring product failure mode.

Over the 8 weeks of my internship, I was involved with a few collaborative projects, including two that I was able to focus on and make significant progress. One of my projects was interested in making a current drying process more efficient, while the other was addressing a product failure mode that had recently increased in occurrence. It was great experience working on two projects with vastly different purposes and motivations. The first project was taking a well-functioning process and investigating the possibility to make it more efficient, thus saving the company labor time and production costs. The second project was focused on reducing and determining the root cause of a problem that recently developed and is resulting in lost revenue for the company. Learning how to balance and prioritize these projects was great experience for my future career in industry, and a pivotal skill to have as a manufacturing engineer. With so many projects and issues sprouting up week after week, manufacturing engineers must be able to prioritize their assignments and determine what projects they should devote the most time and energy to. Without developing this skill, manufacturing engineers risk devoting more time to a lower priority assignment that may not provide as much immediate benefit to the company as other projects.

Looking back, I learned a lot this summer. By interning at a multinational company this summer, I got a first-hand look at navigating a cross-cultural work environment, gained experience working in manufacturing engineering, and achieved a better understanding of the type of work I enjoy and do not enjoy doing in the medical device industry. The takeaways from my summer experience will undoubtedly help me in my future career, and I am so grateful to have had the experience as a part of my professional master’s at Rice. Attending Rice University for my bachelor’s degree was an incredible experience, and I have no doubt it will be just as amazing as I complete my master’s. I am so excited to see what the next year has in store for me at Rice and beyond!

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