#EngineeringAtNUVA is a new series that will highlight talented engineers who make up NuVasive Engineering. Every feature will have a unique set of questions to give you the most diverse knowledge into Engineering at NUVA including roles within Manufacturing, Development, Software, and Electrical Engineering. The series is for students interested in the field, for prospective engineers who want to understand our culture, and for those intrigued to meet some of our incredibly intelligent Shareowners!
Our next feature for #EngineeringAtNUVA is Ellie, Development Engineer in the Interbody Development department.
Ellie, why did you choose to work as an Engineer in the Medical Device industry versus other industries?
I chose to enter the medical device field because it aligns with my personal mission: to help others pursue their best selves and live their best lives. Being in an industry whose goal is to advance healthcare and particularly to work for a company with a mission to change patient lives is intrinsically rewarding.
How long have you been at NUVA?
I’ve been at NuVasive for six months come July as a Development Engineer for the Interbody Development group.
Is there a specific class or skill that you wish you took or learned prior to graduating college that would positively impact your work now?
I wish I had taken more classes in manufacturing. While I was exposed to the major principles, the more I dig into it now the more fascinating I find it, and the more I realize how crucial that knowledge is to my day-to-day activities!
What was your path from realizing you wanted to be an Engineer to working at NuVasive today?
I have a degree in biomedical engineering – I knew I wanted to work in that field when I realized that it combined my love of science (particularly biology), engineering, and human performance.
I was very fortunate to go to a high school that offered a series of engineering/technology classes where I was exposed to true engineering problems well before my collegiate education. For some time, I thought about pursuing a career as a prosthetist after college. But when I did an internship at a prosthetics clinic that was developing new technology and I saw both the clinical side and engineering side of the healthcare industry, I realized it was the engineering design process that I enjoyed most of all.
What was the hardest part about coming from a Biomedical Engineering background into Manufacturing Engineering?
Initially my biggest struggle was understanding manufacturing language—from knowing which machines could perform which processes, to communicating design intent through geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. What jumpstarted my learning was two-fold: taking an online class in manufacturing to expose me to the basics, and spending time going over the most relevant concepts for my day to day work with my manager to start diving deeper. I’m continuing to learn more every day by asking questions and taking every opportunity I can get to learn from my fellow shareowners!
Can you share what inspired you to pursue Engineering?
Surprisingly enough, I credit my early interest in art to leading me to engineering. The design process is, in many ways, like the artistic process. To me there is no better feeling than creating something, seeing it grow and develop from concept to the final product, whether that be a painting or a surgical instrument.
For those deciding on which type of engineering path to pursue, what would be your advice?
Choose whatever interests you the most! If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, what’s the point? There will always be a need for mechanical engineers, software is rapidly growing, and so is biomedical with the world’s aging population. Choose what you enjoy doing to solve problems and solving those problems will be a lot easier and faster.
Finally, what makes Engineering at NuVasive unique in your opinion?
The people. There is not a single engineer here that I don’t enjoy working with. And for a young engineer like myself, the high caliber of mentorship here has been phenomenal. I’m learning every day!
Interested in the engineering field at NuVasive? Learn about open roles and what it takes to be an engineer with NUVA by clicking here.