Krysten Mah

Company: St. Jude Medical
Company URL: http://www.sjm.com/corporate/careers/for-university-students.aspx
School: Biomedical Engineering
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
High School: Xavier College Prep., May 2009
Expected Graduation: December 2013

I was lucky to know early on what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a biomedical engineer and use my love of math and science to help people and to have a direct impact on improving their quality of life. Not many universities had established BME programs, but I knew Purdue had an acclaimed engineering curriculum so I decided to apply. I ultimately ended up choosing Purdue because of its smaller BME program, which would allow me to create closer relationships with professors and other students for research and studying opportunities, and because of its Co-Op program, which would allow me to gain perspective on real world engineering careers. What I didn’t know about Purdue before I chose it was that it has excellent resources for helping students obtain real world experience through internships and Co-Ops. I utilized the CCO to perfect my resume and my programs coordinator helped me prepare for the job fair. Both of these elements helped me get my Co-Op in the end.

St. Jude Medical is a medical device company that focuses on treating cardiac and neurological complications. I work for the Cardiac Rhythm Management Division, which designs pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. I’m part of the clinical-systems engineering team and we ensure that the devices are functioning properly before they are released. I like being able to see how my work has a direct impact on the final product and ultimately on the patient’s quality of life. I love coming into work and learning something new everyday, but it has also been a challenge to learn everything since there are just so many details that go into each product and document needed for a release. I ask questions all the time, but my team members are very helpful and knowledgeable.

Being a Co-Op student has obvious advantages, the first being that you’ll gain real world experiences before you even graduate college. I’ve learned so much about business and management that I would have never learned sitting in my engineering courses. I’ve also learned a lot about the design and submission process for medical devices, which isn’t covered in any of my BME classes. Secondly, you will build relationships with full-time employees that will help expand your network of contacts for the future. Lastly, you’ll get a break from school and return with a better appreciation for the material covered in your classes. On my first day of work, one of my coworkers asked me a question regarding circuits and thankfully I could recall learning it in one of my previous courses. Being a Co-Op student comes at a small price of a later graduation date but all the experiences and knowledge that I’ve gained thus far have been priceless and I would not change a thing.