What is Human Resources, anyway?

According to Michael Scott in The Office, HR’s job is to make the office “lame”. In the comic strip Dilbert, the HR director is a cat that thrives on watching employees worry about potential layoffs. So what does HR do, actually? And what does HR do at Stryker, a leading medical device company that has won numerous awards for being a great place to work?

During my internship at Stryker Communications in Flower Mound, TX, I dove into the multi-faceted world that is Human Resources to discover the answers to these questions.

At Stryker Comm, the HR department does much more than hire and fire people. Here, HR leads employee engagement by planning World Cup game watches and school supply drives. HR creates programs to develop talented employees into the best versions of themselves: professionally and personally. And HR is the go-to team when employees need advice on how to resolve a problem or to learn a new skill.  

And I was a part of it all: I spent my days sourcing for jobs on LinkedIn, planning happy hours to boost engagement, leading trainings on how to use the company intranet, and working with managers to put together a training module for mid-career management hires. I created weekly “Toilet Paper” newsletters with features like the Stryker Spotlight and Riddle of the Week, developed a career development program for high potential employees that will be piloted next year, and got to know people throughout the business by hand delivering balloons and cards for the “Stryker-versary” recognition program that I designed.

My experience with the HR team here at Stryker Comm has been amazing – I worked with a group of talented and motivated individuals who are nothing like Toby from The Office or the HR cat in Dilbert.  They immediately welcomed me to the team and valued my ideas throughout my internship. I took on challenges, made mistakes, and celebrated with the other interns when things went well. It’s been an incredible three months, and I know that what I learned through this internship will last far beyond the summer.

Becky Jegier

Human Resources Intern

Stryker Communications – Flower Mound, TX

With my manager and advsor!

My advisor, myself, and my manager!

Example of an event I created!

Flier promoting employee engagement!

Another way I helped with engagement and giving back to the community!

Stryker Summer

As the days tick down to the end of my Stryker Summer, I slowly resign myself to the fact that no matter how late I stay at the office, or how much I hope my life will pull a “Groundhog’s Day” moment so I can relive my time at Stryker again and again, the most amazing three months is coming to an end.Aishwarya Vijayan group 1

My first day here, I worried that fitting into a corporate environment would be challenging. However, after just one day of Stryker living, I realized that my team was filled with achievers who are as goofy as I am. As the summer progressed, I looked forward to seeing their faces every morning, and I started to think of them as my pseudo-family. They were resources for me when I needed documents or assistance acquiring parts for my projects, they were friends during lunch time, break time, and out-of-work time, and they were role Aishwarya Vijayan group 2models all the time. One of my favorite memories with them occurred during our teambuilding activity at Islands of Adventure. After I convinced everyone that we would NOT get wet on the water ride, we proceeded to get soaked from head to toe! We also got to explore Harry Potter world, which inspired me to paint the castle with our team picture included as a goodbye gift to my team.

They taught me how truly important teamwork is. Without the assistance of the various cross-functional teams I worked with this summer, completing the quantity of projects I did would have been impossible. I also would have missed out on hearing their words of wisdom and expanding my knowledge not just about engineering, but also about hydrogels, tooling, purchasing, quality, and even healthy eating.

When I was hired as a Manufacturing Engineer, I had no idea what to expect, even wondering if I would have enough to do for the whole summer. I did not anticipate that not only would I take on a variety of projects that would allow me to see the entire range of Surgical Manufacturing Engineer duties, I would Aishwarya Vijayan group 3also get so involved in the Stryker mentality of continuous improvement that I would seek out and complete my own projects as well. I never dreamed my first internship would be filled with so much learning, friendship, and fun. Our intern group was small (only 8 of us!), but, it allowed us to grow very close. I am sad as I think that I will be leaving everyone I have met here, but I am thankful that I am leaving with all of these great memories and experiences.

Aishwarya Vijayan headshotAishwarya Vijayan

Manufacturing Engineering

Sustainability Solutions – Lakeland, FL


Around the World

Since arriving to Stryker NV on the first day, I have begun to see the power that this office carries with it. Neurovascular isn’t just about building medical devices; it’s about “Complete Stroke Care”. Working with the Business Development and Strategic Planning team, this gets implantedMichael Reardon Louve into you (minimally invasive, of course) from the get go. I have never worked with such an incredibly talented and smart group of people here at NV. Sometimes, when you’re working with marketing intelligence, competitive research, and data—lots of data, you forget the ultimate goal of what you are doing. Luckily, my NV managers never let me forget. What we are doing is bringing stroke care to the people who need it. Our products are what save lives and I couldn’t be more excited to come into work each day and help plan for how our business is going to do just that.

Hard work goes hand in hand with having fun at NV as well. Now that we are approaching the final week of the internship, I am really able to look back on the experience and see this mantra played out time and time again. Our intern team has organized weekly off-sites after work to spend more time Michael Reardon Manager Dinnertogether and get to know each other better outside of work. We went to San Francisco and wandered around Polk Street, attended a few happy hours at places like Elephant Bar, Wing Stop, and Dave & Busters, and even made it up to Napa to spend the day wine tasting at various wineries.

For me, the culmination of my internship came to a point this past week as I spent the week in Paris presenting to our NV International Global Marketing team. One of my projects is the development and expansion of our company’s business intelligence knowledge management site. Being the first of its kind, my project will be used around the globe to coordinate the flow of market intelligence and reports into one easily used andMichael Reardon Eiffel Tower communicated forum that our teams can share around the world. The Paris team was incredible and extremely welcoming. And the French food didn’t hurt either! I made connections that will last me a lifetime and as I get ready to spend the fall semester abroad in Paris, I’m sure I will get to visit this team again. It was an incredible trip and has helped to prepare me for this final week of the internship as I was able to preview my presentation on this team and garner valuable feedback.

The Stryker internship has more than met my expectations. I can only hope to one day count myself as a full-fledged member of the Stryker family because I can assure you, the Stryker culture is like none other out there. Where else can you go to experience a trip to Paris for your internships?!

Michael Reardon headshotMichael Reardon

Business Development

Neurovascular – Fremont, CA

Showered In Stryker Love

I had heard that Stryker was an incredible company to work for, that their internship program exceeded all others, and that I was going to have the summer of a life time, but never could I have imagined the summer I truly had in store- a summer that for the first time in my college career is making me sad to go back to school.

Although I had originally applied for a Marketing internship in accordance to my major, Lindsey Cooper, Levi and Lindsour internship coordinator, had a different vision for me.  She brought me in to interview for a Recruiting role within  the Human Resources department, which was a career area that I had never considered.

After being in this role for only three months I could not be more thankful for Lindsey’s unique talent of finding the perfect place for a Stryker intern because I have discovered an incredible passion I have for recruiting.  It combines my love for performing with my love for business and marketing. Each day I get the opportunity to  engage with people by treating each interview as a mini performance, where I get to stand on my soap box and sell the amazing company I work for to the future of Stryker, while simultaneously working behind the scenes on organizing candidate care and serving as a gatekeeper to find the best of the best talent.

But aside from the impactful projects I was able to implement this summer, my largest take away will be the people.  I’ll never forget the moment I told my manager tPri and I Hookin Emhat my biggest challenge of the summer was that Stryker was too fun.  If you ask any employee of Stryker why their job is such a joy to go to everyday, they’ll tell you it’s the relationships  you make and the fact that you are going to work every single day with your best friends who shower you in love and support.  I learned how to fit into a culture that fuels off of relationships which pushes competition, growth, and ultimate success.   Whether you are talking to the new guy in the cafeteria or Andy Pierce, the President of Endoscopy, Stryker people are genuinely interested in knowing you and helping you succeed using your individual strengths and talents. 

More specifically, my intern class has become my second family in the matter of just twelve weeks.  As I approach my final days here this summer I can’t imagine leaving the people it feels like I have known for a life time.  I will never forget Katie’s passion for Michigan, Nate’s epic dance moves, Ben’s unbeatable one liners, Cullen’s witty sense of humor, Lucas’s comforting hugs, Priya’s cuddles, and the list goes on and on.  I can only hope that we will all be reunited in some fashion at some point soon.

If I could sum up how my experience has been at Stryker into one statement it would be that Stryker has brought out the best ‘me’ I could be and in my opinion, that’s the best company to work for.

Birthday Group Pic

Calli headshotCalli Conti


Endoscopy – San Jose, CA

A Deep Dive Across the Pacific

Having the opportunity to work at Stryker Neurovascular has proven to be one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my life thus far. As a business development intern, my team sent me to Shanghai for one of my projects over the summer. China is a large, evolving market and I was responsible for helping better understand and characterize the market. Partnering with the Stryker China Neurovascular team, Becka with the NV teamwe developed a comprehensive model of the Chinese market that will serve as the basis for planning and evaluating potential business development opportunities, as well. Through this process, I gained so much knowledge about the medical device space and the healthcare system in China. Being fluent in Mandarin was also a huge advantage because it allowed for a good portion of the meeting conversations to be conducted in local language and often times the market research data is also in Mandarin. This supported an even broader understanding through my knowledge of the language’s cultural and verbal nuances and I was able to reflect what I learned in the market model.

Working overseas with the China team also allowed me to build strong relationships. This trip taught me the value of personal interactions. Sitting together face to face in a conference room for hours on end made it a much more conducive environment for sharing stories and knowledge—something that cannot be as easily achieved over a conference call. Our meetings helped improve both sides’ understanding about the market because we both brought different perspectives to the table, adding more depth and knowledge to our market models.Becka and her manager

I feel so lucky to have had such a unique and enriching internship experience at Stryker Neurovascular. Now that I’m nearing the end of my internship, it’s incredible to look back and see all the work that I have done. I am proud of how my projects turned out and more importantly, how they have added significant value to the company. In just these 3 months, I have fallen in love with the Neurovascular space and am very impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm the people here have for stroke care. I am so thankful for my supportive and ridiculously intelligent and passionate team for helping me grow as a young professional and I couldn’t have asked for a better summer internship.

Becka Ruan headshotBecka Ruan

Business Development

Neurovascular – Fremont, CA

My First Internship

I can honestly say this summer has been the most challenging and rewarding summer I’ve ever had. Every day, I have a chance to learn and grow into a role that I love more every day. Regardless with whom you talk to at Stryker, everyone will likely say the same thing, but within my team, Product Safety, nothing is truer.

A lot of people won’t know what product safety is. Before I interviewed and started working with the team, my knowledge wasn’t very extensive. I did know the team worked with R&D through various stages of a product’s development cycle to ensure patient and operator safety. What I didn’t know was that there is so much more to it. Every member of the team has to be well acquainted with the standards regarding medical technology safety and bring their own unique background and level of expertise to the application of the standards. With those traits, each person brought something different to helping me maximize my personal and professional growth during my summer internship.

Not only is the job amazing, the people are equally as great. My mentor Nate is like the fountain of knowledge. Just standing beside him makes you smarter and it’s been a pleasure to learn from and try to keep up with him. But it’s not just Nate who has been a great resource to me. The rest of my team all had their own role in my development and I cannot thank each of them enough for one of the best summers I’ve ever had.

This is my first internship and I count my lucky stars that it has been with a company like Stryker and the Product Safety team. Everybody who works at Stryker has been wonderful and extremely helpful. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience this summer.

Cari Morgan HeadshotCari Morgan

Product Safety Engineering

Instruments – Kalamazoo, MI

Culture Counts

Last week, the Kalamazoo interns met with the Steve Benscoter, Vice President of Human Resources. One thing he said really stuck with me- focus on the company’s culture, not the job; chances are you will not stay in the same role for more than a few years and working at a company with a great culture will help ensure you will be happy in any position. After just twelve weeks at Stryker, this really resonated with me. Stryker really is there for you. I have seen it in trainings, in job opportunities, in the intern program, and most importantly, in the people. Never have I felt more welcomed and appreciated in a job. I work as an Advanced Quality Engineer (AQE) in the Interventional Spine (IVS) business unit, a group which has welcomed me as their own. I worked with the radiofrequency generator team for one of my projects, and even after my role in the project was complete, the team has gone out of their way to include me in meetings and to hear my opinion. When I told my manager and mentor about my possible interest in grad school, they were nothing but supportive. I know they care more about me as a person than me as just an employee.

Although I was the only AQE intern in Kalamazoo and my day-to-day tasks were unique among the interns, my experience has not been. There are 60 interns here in Kalamazoo, with 30 at Instruments alone. From collaborating with Sam Zschack on our Autoplex and PCD projects to hearing about how Jon Soifer and his fellow Sonopet engineers workout together and call themselves the “Sonopecs,” it seems as though everyone has had amazing experiences across the board. Whether they are in R&D, Marketing, Ops, or elsewhere, I know my fellow interns have my back. They have served as my test subjects while I was working on a formative design study, supported me when my projects were successful, and set me up on one-on-ones with people on their teams they thought I might enjoy talking to. The intern program at Stryker is something truly special. I cannot wait to see where my fellow interns will end up, and there is one thing I know for sure. Stryker does not just talk about this elusive thing called “culture.” Stryker employees live it every day by being there for each other.

Kelly Buchanan headshotKelly Buchanan

Advanced Quality Engineering

Instruments – Kalamazoo, MI