Research experience reinforces biomedical engineering major’s passion to find medical cures
Naisargi Nandedkar is a pursing a master’s degree in biomedical engineering after completing undergraduate studies in instrumentation engineering at the University of Mumbai in her home country of India. She did a summer internship in Thousands Oaks, California, at Amgen, a major pharmaceutical company. Here she talks about her internship experience:
Getting the job: I applied online on the Amgen portal. I had a telephone interview with the team I later worked with after the company selected me for the internship.
My manager at Amgen said my interdisciplinary experiences working with measurement and instrumentation set-ups, interning in hospitals and in industry, the research I’ve done at ASU and my confident nature, which came across in the interview, put me above other applicants from schools all over the United States.
Job duties: I worked with a team of engineers to determine numerical values for pressure as a specification on automated drug/medicine delivery devices.
For example, if you are suffering from disease A, for which you need to take daily shots of a medication Y, Amgen is creating a mini device that can do this for you at a particular time everyday so that you don’t have to do it manually.
For this, you have to determine what is the best pressure/force with which the medicine Y should be delivered so you will not be harmed in any way.
Toughest challenge: Working with an extremely qualified and brilliant team can be very challenging. I realized that textbook knowledge is barely a foundation for understanding what actually happens in real life.
During the completion of my project at Amgen, I had to familiarize myself with a number of other disciplines ranging from something as simple as making an excellent presentation to breaking down a really complicated mathematical function.
Best part of the job: I enjoyed working with my team, one of whom is an ASU bioengineering alumnus. My manager was an extremely helpful guide and I attribute much of my internship success to him.
It was exciting to talk to people from different departments when I was seeking answers, because it always opened up a whole new window to solving problems.
One of the biggest take-aways from this experience is that you need to be extremely strong-willed and passionate about what you do.
Trying to solve one problem for five days a week can get extremely stressful and frustrating if you don’t believe in your work and show it some love.
I experienced some frustrating moments, but I reminded myself that the numbers I crunch today are going to be a parameter by which a device operates tomorrow – a device that is potentially going to deliver a drug that can cure the world’s deadliest diseases.
Career aspiration: The reason I chose biomedical engineering as a specialization field is because it’s a marriage between the things I am passionate about, science and technology, and changing people’s lives. I like to believe that the work I am doing today is going to affect some person in a huge way and possibly even change it for the better forever.
My internship experience reinforced my passion because the drugs Amgen creates and produces have been a “miracle” for people with deadly diseases.
Advice for internship seekers: All the professors I have interacted with at ASU have been extremely helpful, so take advantage of their willingness to help. Be proactive in grabbing opportunities. Don’t be afraid of taking chances and pursuing new opportunities.
Joe Kullman, [email protected]
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering