No-pressure exploring at medical device expo

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette CPR training equipment from Plexus is seen on a table Wednesday at the Medical Devices Expo at Michigan Technological University.

HOUGHTON — With the spring Career Fair just around the corner, Michigan Technological University students with an interest in medical technology got a lower-stakes way to meet with companies during the Medical Devices Expo Wednesday.

Representatives from Phillips Medicine, Boston Scientific, Teleflex, Plexus and MPI Research were on hand to talk with interested students.

Plexus displayed three devices, including a medication dispensing bin, which dispenses the correct dosage of medication to patients, as well as a CPR training device that monitors depth and placement over the heart.

“We had a really great turnout last year, with many students lining up to talk to our representative, so we decided to keep that trend going,” said Julie Karl, a product engineer with Plexus. “It’s also an opportunity to talk to students who are passionate about medical devices, because that is one of our largest sectors.”

It’s full circle for Karl, who graduated from Tech in spring 2017.

“It was a fun event to come to,” she said. “Just seeing specifically medical devices was like a mini-Career fair for biomedical engineers. I got to speak with Plexus then, and then at Career Fair seeing them, ended up getting a job with Plexus.”

Boston Scientific was there with its line of implantable cardiac implants, such as pacemakers. They were taking resumes for students who might be promising internship candidates.

“The Career Fair can be kind of tense for them, the one-on-one, and they’re trying to sell themselves and say the right things,” said James Kippola, principal electrical engineer. “Here, there’s no pressure. Check out our products, see what we do, ask whatever questions you want.”

The event also lets Kippola tell students about the skills the company wants. Cardiac device work is mechanically and electrically intensive, making those engineers a better fit than biomedical students, he said.

“Some students switch majors, some do dual majors, and some have come back and said, ‘I’m so glad I switched. I really love what I’m doing in my electrical class,'” he said.

Michael Weaver, a second-year mechanical engineering student, was looking for an internship. He had talked with one of the companies so far.

“Tech offers lots of career stuff that’s successful with the students, so I might as well get my foot in somewhere,” he said.

Alexander Kellogg, a third-year electrical engineering student, came because of a long interest in medical technology and devices.

“Of all the different paths you can take in engineering, it feels like medical devices are really sort of important,” he said. “Everyone needs medicine if you get hurt. It feels like doing a lot of good.”

Kellogg was happy with the breadth of the expo.

“There’s a lot of different opportunities, not just in what they’re doing, but how they’re doing it, so I feel like it covers most of the field,” he said.