Week 8: Implementation Project Introductions

The end of this week marks the halfway point for my internship at Boston Scientific. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over! It seems like just yesterday we were in orientation, and the day before that that we got to Costa Rica.

An exciting thing that’s happened over the past couple of weeks is the discussion about our implementation projects for the coming fall and spring. In these implementation projects, we will be taking a device that has already had a significant amount of design work done, and take the next steps for our device to get to market. Each student will own their own project, and therefore be responsible for the results obtained for that project throughout the year.

Two weeks ago, Dr Richardson presented us with the 7 projects we had to choose from (some will have two students assigned), and then each of us chose the top 4 projects that we wanted to work on. After hearing about the projects, I’m really excited to get to started on whichever one gets assigned to me! First off, the projects are really cool! Each one seems to solve problems in underserved markets in a novel yet simple way, and frankly, I would be happy to work on any of them. Additionally, I’m interested to see how working on the back end of a project will mesh with my interests and personality. One of the reasons I chose not to pursue a career in academia is that I didn’t want to hand off the work I did to someone else in order to make it useful, but instead wanted to do the work that would be given to the customer. With that attitude, I think the implementation project will be something I greatly enjoy.

When faced with having to prioritize my projects, I had to make some decisions about what skills I wanted to develop in my time at Rice. As a mechanical engineer, I could dive deeper into mechanics relevant to the medtech industry, which could likely lead to becoming a technical expert in some field related to mechanics. However, as I consider my strengths and weaknesses, a decision-maker role seems to be one that I would be better suited for and enjoy more. For such a role, it seems to me that breadth of knowledge would be more beneficial than depth. With the growing integration of software into medical devices and my limited yet enjoyable experience with programming, I decided to focus on pursuing projects involving software development. We’ll see which one Dr Richardson assigns me!

This past week at Boston, the majority of my work consisted of finishing the design of experiment for our CAPA. I collected a little more data, analyzed it, and made my final recommendations for the parameters and their values in the official experiment. After the parameters values were decided on, I was able to design the experiment and define how each run should be carried out. (Special thanks to the MEEN 404 class I took at Texas A&M which prepared me really well for doing this DOE.) The next steps are to finish the paperwork necessary to run the experiment, and analyze and present the results. Looking back, outside of the slow start I got, I am happy with the results I have delivered so far. Hopefully we’ll get helpful and meaningful data!

This week, Josh and I were also given a new joint project involving the characterization of incoming material. Our supervisors would like to better control some of the materials they receive from other sites, so my and Josh’s roles will be to collect and analyze some data that will hopefully indicate which parameters involved in the creation of the material are most influential for the success of our processes. I’m excited for the chance to get to work with one of my fellow GMI students on this project and deepen my understanding of the need for process controls.

I told Josh to get another picture of my good side. He thinks he’s funny.

Coming out of the clean room after collecting some data

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