Brayden Smith is currently a Process Engineer with Cook Biotech in West Lafayette, Indiana, a company that produces medical devices which aid in tissue repair. In this role, Brayden works on a variety of projects that involve process development, process improvement, and validation and verification.
After earning his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois - Chicago in May 2017, Brayden knew he wanted to go into industry, but he was looking for a way to diversify his skillset to help enter into his chosen field. “I was originally on the fence about graduate school,” he explains. “I found the Purdue Chemical Engineering PMP while exploring my options and quickly realized the program had everything I was looking for.”
Brayden explains that the Professional Master’s degree introduced him to Cook Biotech, while providing him with the preparation he needed for his current position.
“I did my industry project for the PMP with Cook, which eventually transitioned to a full-time job,” he says. “My original plan was to move into the pharmaceutical field after graduation, but I took a chance on Dr. (William) Clark’s course on Medical Devices. Dr. Umesh Patel, President of Cook, presented a guest lecture. When I saw Cook Biotech was sponsoring projects over the summer, my mind was made up.”
Brayden finds satisfaction knowing he is using his Purdue degree to make an impact in people’s lives. “I’m part of a company that provides life-changing medical solutions for people with debilitating injuries and conditions,” he explains. “Knowing that my work contributes to the continued production of existing products as well as the development of new solutions is incredibly rewarding.”
As a graduate of the Purdue Chemical Engineering Professional Master’s Program, Brayden has some advice for other students interested in preparing for a similar career. “Have a general idea of the direction you want to go in graduate school but keep your options open,” he encourages. “Capitalize on the opportunity to branch out and learn from a different perspective.” He suggests that students who are specifically interested in careers in the medical device industry pay attention to how regulatory and quality assurance departments interface with engineering teams.
He further suggests that students be open to new, unexpected opportunities. Having spent many years in Chicago, Illinois, Brayden did not see himself staying in West Lafayette long-term. That quickly changed. “I’m more than happy to be here for the foreseeable future. I’ve learned that the saying ‘wherever you go, there you are’ is true,” he says. “I’m lucky enough to love going to work in the morning, and I believe that should be everyone’s number one priority when choosing a career.”