The Study of an Intern
By Mykah Schafer
After having been a student studying Biomedical Engineering for three years, I was really hoping to have a strong internship before heading into my last year of college. I was fortunate enough to earn a spot on the Medtec North America team for my first internship.
I will admit, the expectation of the intern position aligned directly with what the job’s skeleton ended up being. Sitting at a desk, researching different markets by diving into them on the internet. I was able to explore veterinary devices and began working to understand the piece-parts that go into them. This “search and discovery” beginning of the internship really fed my passion for breaking complex things down into their components. After figuring out what unique veterinary devices existed, it became a hunt to understand what components could be applicable to Scherdel’s scope of manufacturing. It was a fun challenge that let me use a skillset that I normally wouldn’t get to, as a lot of the engineering I’ve experienced has been focused a lot more on building things up and improving them instead of breaking complex devices down.
After narrowing down my scope of search to devices in only the veterinary market, and having identified components within those specific devices, I could get to the part of the internship that I was a bit less comfortable with. I have a reliable background in research because of school and some of the other projects I did outside the classroom, but I was not nearly as confident in my ability to identify companies that produced these devices and gauge the market size. One of the most important aspects of the market study was identifying volumes and companies to know who Scherdel would need to talk to try and establish themselves as a supplier. Thankfully, I had a lot of reference material to pull from to understand what I was doing, and a supportive team who would answer any questions I had or give guidance when it was necessary, so I still ended up feeling confident on the information I was recording.
It’s easy to come to a new place with a mindset that it’s going to be “just another job”. Most of my prior experience is from places that treat their employees like workers. Warehouses and workplaces where output was prioritized. Here, I started realizing the work I was doing wasn’t “just work”, it was going to impact the future of a company. The market study I conducted will help determine where Scherdel Medtec NA want to focus their efforts. The position grew from “just a job” into my first industry experience that I will pull from for many years to come and will impact the direction Scherdel Medtec NA will be heading in for the immediate future and beyond.
It was fortunate that it had been planned for me to investigate more markets than just the veterinary one, and it also made me feel very valued as an intern because it was more than a single task. It gave me an ability to bounce around as I finalized my veterinary findings and helped lay out some of the path work and guide Medtec NA toward or away from specific technologies and developments in the medical field. It allowed me to explore MID technologies and nanotechnology – two new fields that have a lot of potential to inform emerging technologies.
I have had an interest in nanotechnology since my early college time because I believe it is an up-and-coming technology with a lot of potential. I had not expected to be able to gain insights into the nano market at a technical spring manufacturer, but Scherdel Medtec has shown its awareness of upcoming technologies. This helped me see that this company is forward thinking, which really helped me to understand and value the beliefs of the company. It was also extremely beneficial to me because now I have a much more thorough understanding of how early the nanotechnology market is in its growth and a stronger base understanding of the field as whole.
The experience I was able to gain in research will be invaluable to me as I continue to grow professionally. The more in depth understanding of how companies work and seeing what a healthy company culture looks like also will help me in my future career. The firm foundation that Scherdel Medtec NA has built with me will help me grow in ways I could not have predicted. I am happy to have been able to work on the team to assist in the growth of the company and I am looking forward to using this first true experience to be the first stepping-stone on my career’s journey.