It’s hard to believe that we’re half way done with the GMI program already. While it’s a relief to be finished with final exams, papers, and presentations, it’s also bittersweet that this experience will be over in just 6 months. Wrapping up this semester has made me realize all that I’ve learned and accomplished and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be involved in such a great program.
For my implementation project, Truvent, we’ve moved into the ideation and design process for creating a second-generation prototype. This has proved to be challenging, as the medical need we are trying to meet has turned out to be quite complicated. Nevertheless, we have had some fun getting to brainstorm, explore possible designs, and even do some low-fidelity prototyping to communicate our ideas. I was finally able to put my 3D pen to good use! We also had some fun learning more about using CAD to create a 3D drawing of a bag-valve-mask and learning how to use a 3D scanner. One of the most important things I have learned from working on this project is that flexibility is key. We have had several twists and turns throughout the semester while trying to navigate the best pathway for the project to be successful. With each bump in the road, we’ve had to be willing to adjust and continue working hard to make progress. This has been a really valuable experience for me and look forward to continuing with this project next semester.
My other big project, focused on developing a system to detect retroperitoneal bleeding, has wrapped up. For the last month, we’ve focused mostly on the business side of the project and learned a lot about financing a company as an entrepreneur. While there were many points in class that I was lost, I really enjoyed getting to learn more about running a company on the business end and how important that is for a startup company. This class has really made me appreciate how difficult it is to start a medtech company, and it definitely got me thinking about my next steps for starting my career in the industry. The final part of this class was to give an investor pitch to the class and some guest judges. This was also a challenge for me, as I’ve never given a presentation like that before. For the pitch, I really had to be purposeful and energetic throughout my entire part, and I really had to try to articulate what I wanted to say while avoiding looking at the slides. This required many, many rounds of practice (pretty sure my dogs were sick of hearing it!), but overall, I think it went really well. I enjoy any opportunity to practice my communication and presentation skills, and luckily, we have many opportunities to do that in the GMI program. I also really enjoyed getting to work on a multidisciplinary team, and it really showed me how valuable it is to have people with a variety of skillsets on your team.
One of the last assignments we were tasked with was completing our 100 unmet clinical needs, scoping those needs down to one top need, and presenting those to the class in order to help us choose design projects for next semester. My top need was a way to increase the early detection of ovarian cancer, which turns out to be a problem that affects 1 in every 75 women. Choosing which needs I was interested in working on next semester was harder than I expected. Everyone had really interesting and diverse needs, so I’m excited to get to dive deeper into the technical design part of the program with those projects. I think it will be a really fun experience and will help me learn a lot of new skills.
As you can tell, the GMI program has a lot to offer. My favorite part about the program is the diversity of experiences that we are exposed to. I have learned and grown so much in such a short amount of time, and I’ve made some really great friends in the process. We recently celebrated the holiday season with a GMI Christmas party and secret Santa, which showed how well we’ve gotten to know each other in just 7 months. I’m really glad to have such a fun group of people to not only work with but also hang out with. I’ve definitely learned that it’s incredibly important to take some time off from work to have a little fun, and this group certainly knows how to do just that.
While I’m looking forward to a few weeks off to relax and regroup, it’s going to be weird not seeing everyone for almost a month. Since we all met at the end of May, the longest we’ve been apart has been about a week, so it will definitely be new to be apart for so long. Luckily, we still have 5 months together when we get back, and I’m looking forward to making the most of it. Happy Holidays!