Kateri Fites

Company: Biomet
Company URL: http://www.biomet.com/regions/northAmerica/unitedStates.cfm
School: Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Plainfield, IN
High School: Cardinal Ritter High School, 2008
Expected Graduation: 2013

I have always known that I wanted to be an engineer. Purdue was an easy choice because I could get an affordable, top-rated education at a world-class university. I was attracted to the Co-Op program because it offered more in-depth experience than an internship. The Co-Op program also allows me to apply what I have learned at school for use in the work place. Likewise, the program enables me to take “real world” applications back to the classroom, so I am able to have a greater understanding of new material in my courses.

My employer is Biomet, which has an international reputation for its quality and innovation in the field of medical implants. The company has divisions throughout the world that make a variety of products. I have been fortunate to work in both the hip and knee departments. I like the relaxed and supportive atmosphere which enables me work through many challenges that range from questions on a particular program to the creation of designs for new products. I am exposed to the entire process, from the initial design concept to modeling to testing to the manufacturing of the product.

Industry experience is always helpful to determine if this is the field in which you want to work. The Co-Op program allows one to experience the application of various concepts taught in the university’s Biomedical Engineering classes. A major benefit that the Co-Op experience offers over an internship is the ability to return to the company and take on long-term projects, which allows a Co-Op student to participate in the initial concept phase all the way through to the manufacture of the product for use in surgery. It is a satisfying experience.

In addition, the Co-Op break from classes gives a student time to reflect upon what she or he has learned during the previous semester. Finally, one is hopeful that the Co-Op experience will make a graduate more valuable to industry, which ultimately proves beneficial in finding employment.