When Electrical Engineering Major Mickayla Heiling interned with Design Solutions Inc., she gained confidence and experience while working on a project that was entirely her own.
Heiling’s internship consisted of two parts. The first involved working on client-facing projects where she helped design, solder and test medical devices for local companies, DSI’s customers.
“I got to work on a variety of things,” Heiling said. “From building and testing to paperwork. Pretty much anytime I had free time, I would ask anyone if they needed help.”
The second opportunity was an internal project that Heiling designed and built herself.
“That was the cool thing about interning at DSI,” Heiling explained, “I got to create my own project; I got to design it and build it and test it and make sure it ran all the way to completion.”
The system she created filters water to remove oxygen particles, making it ultrapure for ultrasonic machines. “Typical tap water is six to seven parts-per-billion of oxygen,” Heiling explained. “But once you run it through all these filters, you can get it down to two to three parts-per-billion.”
As DSI receives more requests for ultrasonic testing, a machine like the one Heiling created will really come in handy.
Prior to her water filter assignment, Heiling had some previous experience working on largescale projects, but this is the first time she’s executed one from start to finish by herself. Working on this assignment granted her a lot of the hands-on work she’d been hoping for in an internship. The level of documentation experience that she gained, however, taught her something she hadn’t expected.
Before this internship, Heiling said, “I understood that, working in medical, they’re very specific about everything, but I didn’t realize to what standard. So that was an eye opener.”
Gaining Help and Giving Back
Heiling is the second SciTech intern that Design Solutions has hired. Though the company is relatively new to hosting internships, DSI is practically an expert when it comes to student instruction. John Ballard, Design Solution’s President, explained DSI’s twofold approach to mentoring.
“Summer is our busy time and it’s always nice to have extra help,” Ballard explained, “but we also look at it as a way of giving back. Historically, DSI ran the Research Sig education group for Life Science Alley and Medical Alley. We give educational seminars as a way to give back to the community and share our expertise. We look at hosting an internship similarly, as a way to help the next generation learn the process. Some of it is a way to look for potential future employees and to help with our immediate work needs.”
Finding your place
When Heiling started her internship search, there were two things she was looking for: She wanted to work with medical devices and she wanted to work in a small company environment. DSI checked both boxes.
“When I started looking into their website, it was everything I wanted,” Heiling said. The fun company atmosphere, with summer barbeques and trips to Twins games, was just the cherry on top.
“You perform better as a team the more you know them,” Ballard explained.
Heiling’s time at DSI certainly left an impact, both educationally and socially. “The biggest thing I’m going to miss here is all the people,” she said. “They’re really nice and I’ve gotten to know them pretty well.”
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