Students connect with industry in annual career trek

On February 27 and 28, Meinig School undergraduate seniors and master of engineering (M.Eng.) students visited the Boston area to learn more about careers in the biomedical engineering industry through onsite visits of biotechnology, analytical instrumentation and medical device companies. At each visit, students learned about each company through interactive panel discussions, presentations, and demonstrations. They also attended an evening social event to learn from and network with Boston area alumni. 

”We arrange this annual career trek so our students can observe and engage with different aspects of the industry they will serve,” said Newton de Faria, director of the Meinig School’s M.Eng. program. “We selected a portfolio of companies that represented different sizes and industry segments, so that students can compare the technologies as well as the dynamics between a small and large companies.”

This year students visited several biotechnology companies in the Cambridge area and northern Massachusetts representing a wide cross-section of business models: Portal Instruments demonstrated a small but well-established start-up addressing challenges in drug delivery and the combination of pharmaceutical and medical devices industries; Sigilon Therapeutics is an organization that recently transitioned from start-up to a small public biotechnology company, and presented an example of how scientific breakthrough in engineering and delivery of therapeutics are being translated into products targeting specific acute and chronic disease; analytical instrumentation and medical devices companies Milipore Sigma and Smith and Nephew offered examples of larger companies providing technology to many segments of the healthcare industry.

de Faria added that the trek was a great opportunity for students to see engineering in the field and network with prospective employers and alumni. One of the most important engagements was an evening alumni reception at which students had the opportunity to meet and develop relationships, learn about the industry and career progression dynamics from alumni working in the greater Boston area. 

“I feel more comfortable now with the process of networking,” noted undergraduate senior attendee Caroline Kornbrek. “Until now I have had almost all online professional experiences.”

M.Eng. student Skylar Cho added, “It was a great peek into the general vibe of an industry career direct from alumni working some years there. In three days, we saw the full spectrum of biomedical companies of different sizes, focuses, and cultures. The lab tours especially provided the exact picture of what to expect from an industry job, and the alumni event and panel sessions provided crucial insights for first-time job seekers. As an international student who never considered the industrial career path instead of an academic one, the trip broadened my horizon about how career paths can be structured.”

The annual career trek is coordinated by the Meinig School in partnership with Engineering Alumni Affairs & Development. The Meinig School continues to develop ongoing industry and alumni connections with these outreach events. Later this spring the school will host its 7th-annual Industry Engagement Day, which brings together both industry partners and students for a day of engagement, learning, and networking at Weill Hall in Ithaca.

Other Articles of Interest