The Final Two Weeks of GMI

In September, just three months into the program, I was asked to describe my experiences in GMI in three words. I said the GMI program was eye-opening, comprehensive, and rewarding. Now, almost 8 months later at the end of the program, I have to say that I was spot on with my assessment of the GMI program. This program has changed my life for the better, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. This year in the GMI program has been both one of the hardest and most fulfilling years of my life so far. The GMI program has pushed me to grow and develop in ways that I didn’t even expect. I felt confident in my abilities as an engineer following the end of my bachelor’s degree, but the GMI program continued my development both as a person and as a professional who can be successful in the medical device industry and in my future career as an engineer and leader.

Before the GMI program, I could say that I was familiar with the medical device industry, but honestly had little idea how the industry worked. The GMI program exposed me to the ins and outs of the medical device industry, and has taught me so much about the process needed to take a medical technology product from conceptualization to commercialization. In addition, the GMI program gave me first hand exposure to how global of an industry medical technology really is. The opportunities I have had to not only intern abroad, but also work on projects around the world has been one of the highlights of the master’s program. Though I still have much to learn when I enter the medical device industry this June, I know that I will start my job feeling prepared and confident because of the GMI program.

I’ve always had a desire to help people with my career, even before I decided to pursue biomedical engineering as an undergraduate. As a biomedical engineer, I am able to use my knowledge base and skills to help advance the healthcare system by producing innovative solutions for a variety of health-related issues. By pursuing a professional master’s degree in the GMI program, I have continued developing the skills I gained from my undergraduate bioengineering degree, as well as gain further insight into medical technology development in various settings around the world. As a student in the GMI program, I learned to think more about the customer and end-users, and to value the input they have, if available. I’ve learned that to find problems that need solving, you can’t simply ask for a problem, but instead must carefully observe and study the environment and people involved to find the underlying unmet need (however obvious or discrete it may be). And, maybe most importantly, the GMI program has served as an incredible reminder of the impact we as engineers can have on the world around us. The medical device industry is extremely collaborative and global, and our actions as biomedical engineers and innovators can affect change around the world, not just here at home in the US. Keeping in mind the global community and the potential to help those who may seem worlds away is extremely important in order to advance healthcare for all people on this planet.

The success of the GMI program would not be possible at all without two key people: Dr. Eric Richardson (Program Director & Founder) and Sheretta Edwards (Program Coordinator). Sheretta works tremendously hard to keep the gears of the program running and makes sure that everything moves as smoothly as possible. Though much of what Sheretta does is in the background and unknown to me and the other GMI-ers, her passion, dedication, and effort never go unnoticed. Dr. Richardson is one of the most well-respected, intelligent, and skilled people I have met so far in my life, and I have been fortunate to be mentored by him since I was a sophomore undergraduate at Rice. Both during my undergraduate and graduate studies at Rice, Dr. Richardson has served as an incredible resource of knowledge, guidance, and clarity. His dedication and genuine interest for his students’ well being and success is unmatched. I knew early on in my career at Rice that I had interests in entering the medical device industry, and learning from Dr. Richardson more about the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in such an industry further solidified my interest and turned it into a goal. Dr. Richardson helped me reach my goal of working in the medical device industry, and I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without him or the GMI program he developed.

And last, but certainly not least, I must thank my incredible team this year. Through the ups and downs, the hard times and the good times, my team has been there to support one another every step of the way. I have been nothing but impressed by the growth we have had as a team, and I wouldn’t have wanted to experience this program with any other group. Jeannette, Erica, and Luis–thank you so much for everything you have done, everything you have taught me, and for all of the experiences we shared. I am so proud of the work we have done together, and I can’t wait to see all of your successes in the years to come!

Thank you to Rice University for the best 5 years of my life so far. My four years of undergraduate and one year of graduate studies has been unforgettable, and I am truly grateful to have been able to experience it all at this institution.

Sincerely,

Michael Williams-Hart

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