Week 9: Pivotal Week

Back in the Groove

I had a short week this week (due to an extended holiday weekend), and so we (Ryan and I) had to continue working on our projects without skipping a beat. For this week, we specified that it would be most important to work on the raw material characterization project. Just to recap, here were some of the deliverables that we had set out to accomplish by the end of the internship:

  1. Conduct Observations of Parameters Used in the Tip Forming Process of Catheters
  2. Conduct Tensile Pull-Tests to Find Optimal Parameters
  3. Develop a Compelling Argument for Tightening Process Controls for Raw Materials Coming into Coyol

The reason of interest behind this project is to create a better performing product, and one possible cause as to why there is unwanted variation can be traced to the raw material coming into Coyol.  The polymer extrusions come from a sister site, and there are several different indexes used to validate the material. However, there is a belief that some of these index parameters may have too wide of a tolerance. This issue seems like an easy fix, right? Perhaps the solution is to tell the sister site to ‘tighten the fence’, however, the proper method in handling this situation requires thorough research and justification (I sense a noticeable theme going on here).  The raw material is formed through a machine called an extruder (as seen in the figure below).

Extruder

Feedstock in pellet or powder form is fed into an extrusion barrel where it is heated and melted and forced to flow through a die opening by means of a rotating screw. It is in this process in which a multiplicity of variables exist, and so changing even one requires solid reasoning. For more visual learners, this is a good video simply explaining the process:

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaB-dsB1Kfk

On the Clock

With only 8 days left in our internship, the sense of urgency to start thinking about concluding our current projects has been creeping up on us. I have learned so much in my last few weeks at Boston Scientific, but now, it is time to start putting what I’ve learned into a cohesive format. Although I know I have a lot of work left to complete, due to the various projects I’ve been working on, I am truly excited in having my first true test in the Industry.

This upcoming week will be one of the most challenging of the summer. At the beginning of the internship, we emphasized that” SMART” goals should be set. Although I set weekly objectives within projects, it is now time to start concluding projects as a whole. Dr. Van Kleeck mentioned that it is important to have a mindset beyond the internship and to focus on things such as exit interviews and make sure that the post-internship transition goes smoothly. These are all aspects to consider and make sure are conducted effectively going forward.

Implementation Project

This week, our cohort was informed of the implementation projects for the upcoming year. We were given a list of potential projects and asked to rank them to gauge our interest. Fortunately, everyone got projects that they were interested in (Dr. Richardson working his magic yet again). I was given the opportunity to work on a teledermatology project in conjunction with Barretos Cancer Hospital in Brazil. Teledermatology is a field in which telecommunication technologies are being used to transfer medical information through varying media. In Brazil specifically, there is a need for nurses to transfer images of skin conditions of patients in a secure and effective manner. Although this project is a little bit out of my area of expertise, I think this will be a great learning experience and chance to expand my understanding!

Barretos Cancer Hospital, Brazil

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