Industry: Engineering/Energy
Type of Internship: Biomedical Engineering/Biotechnology, Mechanical Engineering, Product Design/Testing/Quality Control
Student Name: John Koster
Graduation Year: 2021
Major: Chemical Engineering
Minor: Engineering Management
Position Title: Engineering Contingent
Hours: 40 hours per week
Paid or Unpaid: Paid, full-time

What do you do as an intern at this organization?
My department works to continually optimize and improve the machines that make surgical devices. As a chemical engineer on a team with largely manufacturing/mechanical engineers, I have mostly been doing data collection and analytics. Since it is a 24/7 facility, extensive data is needed to support the overhaul of a machine to ensure upper management that not only is the cost justified, but the machine downtime required to implement the changes will make a difference in the long run. With that, I mostly support task forces that are formed with the intention of targeting a specific issue or with improving a certain aspect of the production line.
How did you find this internship?
Tufts alumnus Facebook post.
What do you enjoy most about your internship?
In such a large company, things are incredibly fast paced and keep things very interesting day to day. Each morning there is a team briefing to go over the production reports from the last 24 hours and address any non-conformance reports, which are a huge deal in such a strictly regulated industry. This morning briefing then dictates what the team will pursue throughout the day, and it is necessary to simultaneously keep up with your ongoing projects as well as put out the fires that come up each day. Also, the supervisors here put a lot of faith in the interns and give us real meaningful work for the company that has a direct impact on the work they do - not just busy work or fetching coffee.
What do you find challenging?
Since it is a huge global company (~$30B annual revenue), many aspects of the job are frustratingly bureaucratic and involve many hoops you have to jump through. This is also compounded by the fact that FDA is breathing down the neck of the company to make sure they meet regulations. While challenging, it has been a good experience to learn that often things will take 2 to 3 times longer than they need to just because certain signatures are required that can take weeks to get or certain validation processes are required for any changes you want to make to machines.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
I can't speak to application deadlines as this was a last minute internship that I found through an alum towards the end of April. Once you're in the job, however, the biggest thing that I've learned is never hesitate to ask your boss for more work. Although it may seem a bit awkward or like you're annoying your boss, they welcome the eagerness to stay busy and will be impressed by the volume of work you are outputting. In terms of the type of internship, don't be afraid to branch out and try something that may sound like it is totally out of your field. This is nothing like a chemical engineering internship but I couldn't be happier with the position and company and I love the work that I'm doing.

About the Organization

North Haven, Connecticut

Did these two men set out to change medical technology and the lives of millions of people? No. But they did have a deep moral purpose and an inner drive to use their scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to help others. That spirit — combined with our founders' personal integrity and passion — became our guiding philosophy and, ultimately, the Medtronic Mission. Our first life-changing therapy — a wearable, battery-powered cardiac pacemaker — was the foundation for many more Medtronic therapies that use our electrical stimulation expertise to improve the lives of millions of people. Over the years, we developed additional core technologies, including implantable mechanical devices, drug and biologic delivery devices, and powered and advanced energy surgical instruments. Today, our technologies are used to treat nearly 40 medical conditions.