Our time in Costa Rica is half complete; can you believe it? I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.
We finished week one at Boston Scientific Costa Rica (BSC). My internship is within the R&D Design Assurance (DA) department at the Heredia site, specifically concentrated on interventional cardiology and peripheral intervention. Design assurance focuses on sustaining engineering, which involves all of the aspects necessary to ensure continued success of commercialized devices throughout their life cycle.
I have spent the majority of this week completing the onboarding process: orientation, documentation, online training, and a lot of reading. While these tasks may not sound very fun, they are absolutely necessary and have been very helpful in getting a feel for how the company is run. Throughout the documents I have been reading, I have realized that I actually recognize a lot of the terminology from the short courses we did earlier this summer, and I find it really neat that I get the chance to see some of the processes we discussed being implemented in one of the world’s largest medical technology companies.
The design assurance team is an all-female team, with the exception of one guy, which I consider to be a huge accomplishment for BSC and something that I am excited to be a part of. STEM tends to be a male-dominated field, so it is really incredible and refreshing to see that this team is made up almost entirely of females. I have had the pleasure of meeting all of the women in DA, including my boss, who has been described as “the queen of R&D,” and I am incredibly excited to be working with such a great group. I have also met several other coworkers within R&D, and everyone is very friendly and welcoming and seems excited to include and teach us, especially my wonderful mentor, Guiselle (she’s fabulous!).
One of the aspects of the internship that I am most excited about is getting to apply what I have learned throughout my undergraduate degree and the past several weeks with Dr. Richardson in real applications that will have a meaningful impact. The Heredia site is looking to encourage innovation within R&D in order to stimulate new, novel product development, and I think this will be a great opportunity for me to contribute what I have learned about innovative and creative solutions to medical needs.
During my time at BSC, I will be working on two main projects. The first will involve completing assigned portions of a Design Ownership Transfer (DOT) checklist for a product involving cardiac catheterization, and the second will be completing a project scope draft for a product used to gain intravenous access. Additionally, I will be attending a manufacturing line tour for the first product next week at the Coyol site, which will be a lot of fun and will be a good opportunity to learn more about the product.
In addition to completing my assigned portions of the projects I will be working on, I have several other goals I would like to accomplish during my time at BSC, including:
- Learn at least two interesting facts about each of my coworkers in DA
- Learn at least two new Spanish phrases each week (and be able to use them in conversation—ha!)
- Learn the roles of other departments at BSC (manufacturing, process development, etc.), both in general and in relation to the projects I am working on
- Encourage an innovative mindset
Overall, I hope to experience anything and everything that I possibly can throughout the short time that I will be working at BSC. I am excited to learn all of the ins and outs of a large medtech company and hopefully determine what aspects I would enjoy in a future career, which is less than a year away (crazy, right?!). As a continued theme from the previous five weeks here in Costa Rica, this experience is new to me and will therefore continue to push me out of my comfort zone. At this point, I am convinced that I will never get back there, but in all honesty, that is probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. I am eager to continue to develop my professional skills with this experience and have some fun along the way.
Speaking of fun, let’s talk about the clinical training I got to participate in Thursday. Let me start by describing it as a dream come true: I got to practice inserting guidewires and catheters in a heart model and then got to inflate a balloon to open a stent. This may sound strange to some of you, but for me, it gave me the opportunity to get a glimpse at what my dad does on a daily basis. He is a specialized cardiologist, so catheterizations are a daily occurrence for him. I have been fortunate enough to observe him in several procedures but have never had the opportunity to hold any of the equipment or try to manipulate the wires in a model, so this training was a really fun experience for me. I have always been interested in the cardiovascular system, and Thursday was a reminder of why that is.
On Friday, we attended a meeting focused on encouraging innovation at the site. Guiselle and Jorge (Callie’s internship buddy) kicked off their innovation culture project, and Dr. Richardson gave a talk about innovating in a big company. This really got me thinking about my future career and if a big company is right for me. Throughout the next five weeks at BSC, I look forward to learning a lot about what it is like to work at a large medtech company, and hopefully it will help me determine where I fit best in the industry. Additionally, on Friday, Chandler, Callie, and I gave presentations about our backgrounds and some of the projects we’ve worked on throughout our education, which was a lot of fun.
On Tuesday, I was slightly bummed to not be spending the 4th of July with my family. Every year, my entire family meets at my grandma’s house to celebrate, and it was definitely sad to see all of the pictures this year. Fortunately, we were able to find a little celebration in Escazu and got to watch some fireworks, which was really nice.
On Saturday, we traveled to Bajos Del Toro and went hiking to three different waterfalls. It was a long and tiring day, especially since I have a cold, but it was well worth it. The views were absolutely incredible. I am especially thankful to have been there with some wonderful friends that continued to check up on me to make sure I was feeling alright. I’m a lucky gal.