Week 10: Seeing The Bigger Picture

As we dive into our final four days of our internships with Boston Scientific, I honestly feel that I have just begun drilling deeper into the neuromodulation iceberg. Whereas in many internships, this is the time where things begin winding down, my work has ramped up considerably over the past few days. From protocol development to testing to modeling, the only time I really have to relax is when I get a cup of coffee to maintain my momentum. In part, this is probably why I go to bed earlier now than when I had a curfew as a little (pequisima) kid, and why my dad sleeps all day Saturday when watching college football, but it has undeniably been a learning experience that has changed my work ethic and views about the med tech industry.

But looking back over the internship, I have realized that my time here has extended beyond the typical internship experience. As part of the neuromodulation R&D team, I have been assigned tasks that would be expected of full-time employees. Rather than absorbing the information from others, I am tasked to learn the material myself. Instead of analyzing data, I am proposing and developing tests that they will use in the future. It is with this freedom that I have learned more about myself and my aspirations within the industry, since it is the type of work that I would expect to see myself doing if I were to pursue R&D. Despite all of this, it is always important to remember why we are doing this in the first place, whose lives we are affecting, and to remind us of the importance of our work in medical devices.

One way that I have seen growth throughout my internship here is my accountability. Being able to effectively communicate my progress was always difficult for me, especially if I did not feel like I was as productive as I had hoped. It was paradoxical in its own right, though, because being able to express my thought process to my supervisor can provide insights with how to proceed in a better direction. Therefore, it was personal goal that I set for myself this internship, to provide weekly updates with my progress on my projects. Keeping myself accountable to maintain that open line of communication with my supervisor and coworkers has been crucial, as it has benefited not only me but Boston as well.

With everyone back under the same roof for the first time since the beginning my internship, I planned a meeting with Esteban, Alejandro, and Thomas to provide updates on my work and how to attack the final two weeks of this internship. This turned out to be extremely helpful, as it allowed me to set specific deadlines for each of my projects, prompting me to work harder on the projects that I had sidelined earlier. By the end of this week, I set out to debug any problems I had with my test setup for my heating tests, allowing me to collect reproducible data for both my control and experimental groups. Though I keep posting pictures of my experimental setup, there were minor tweaks in each iteration that has optimized my testing platform. This past Thursday, I resolved any underlying issues with the setup, and I began collecting sets of data, which yielded interesting results that I aim to analyze this upcoming week.

My Frankenstein of a Test Setup

Concurrently, I continued to tweak my battery model with Thomas throughout the week, which has been much more difficult than I envisioned at the beginning of the internship. With each parameter added, I usually have to revisit old functions to ensure that it does not affect the output of the data. This project turned out to epitomize the concept of flexibility within my internship: be able to change and modify, and do not give up when it does not work the first or fiftieth time. As I closed out the week on Friday, I began to make headway with the code, and it has motivated me to see this through to the end.

This upcoming week, I have my work cut out for me. In addition to any formalities associated with the end of an internship (presentation, documentation, etc.), I need to buff up my sample size of my control and experimental groups for the heating tests, analyze the data, as well as get the MATLAB model to a reasonable end point. Though I thrive under deadlines, I know that it is going to require a greater level of commitment from my end; however, with the flight home in sights, I am more motivated than ever to leave it all on the table, and in Costa Rica.

Until then… Pura Vida mis amigos.

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