In my time at Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions I have been given the opportunity to intern in three different areas of engineering: Quality, R&D, and Manufacturing. Each position taught me valuable lessons and introduced me to new skill sets. Stryker was my first experience to the medical device industry and what an experience it has been so far!
My first project as an intern on the Quality team involved taking parts I had never seen before, deforming the parts in an inconspicuous manner, and creating an inspection procedure capable of identifying the good parts from the bad ones. The biggest struggle during my internship was determining, no matter how much you research, sometimes you just have to ask for help. I spent a few days trying to locate the parts online but it wasn’t until I started asking questions did I find the answer. By the end of the internship, I had spoken to, emailed, or met with nearly all of the support staff at my building. I would have never imagined myself as being extroverted but with so many employees eager to lend a helping hand, I gained all the necessary confidence to complete my projects and make lasting relationships along the way.
At the end of the summer, I was still very eager to continue working at Stryker. When I was offered a position to join the R&D team as a spring intern, I was overwhelmed with excitement. In this role, I was assigned specifically to one product team but was a floating resource between 3 other teams as needed. Various tasks included: executing functional tests to verify reprocessed devices performed with statistical equivalence to a new, unopened device along with performing cleaning validation activities. It’s easy to think “I’m just an intern, I’m not experienced enough to do that” but with the Stryker culture interns are treated with esteem and responsibility of tasks often given to full-time employees. By the end of my time in R&D, I was able to take accountability for the initiation of a risk document regarding one of the new products.
Just when I thought I had tried every area of engineering, a position opened as a summer manufacturing engineering intern. So far, I have been working on implementing a design change to save the company more than $250,000 annually. In addition, I was also tasked with converting one of our current manual processes into an automated process to improve quality and cut costs. In both of these projects, I was able to feel the impact and importance of my projects for the company. Every day, I come into working knowing that my opinion is valued and my work is substantial.
While the positions I held varied greatly, there was one thing that remained constant. The culture. At any given moment, I could always find someone that would listen to my wild ideas, would give advice when I was stuck in a rut, or would lend a helping hand to when I was in need. The idea that an intern is just as capable as full-time associate is a radical idea to most companies, but not Stryker. Every one of my projects impacted the company by improving quality systems, saving capital, or assisting in the execution of performance testing to characterize new products. By investing my time in Stryker, I was able to develop and grow personally and professionally more than I ever had hoped. I will remember my time at this company as one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my career. The satisfaction of completing all of the difficult hurdles knowing that every time you fall there is a crowd of Stryker employees waiting to help you get back up is what drives me to continue to pursue Stryker as my employer of choice after graduation.
Manufacturing Engineering Intern
Stryker’s Sustainability Solutions- Tempe, AZ