Four years ago, Katherine Gottwaldt had her first internship opportunity at Osprey Medical while she was still in high school. She credits that early experience to the reason she’s now studying biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
“Starting here from my sophomore year, it really gave me the insight of what this [field] looks like and what you can do with it,” Gottwaldt said.
Returning again this year to the small medical device company, Gottwaldt is eager to build off the contributions she’s already made.
“The thousands of trials of data that I gathered, that’s what they used to make our fixed calibration table for syringes,” Gottwaldt recalled. “It’s very exciting, because now we’re using it for all of our devices.”
Let’s get to work
Osprey Medical’s area of expertise is in the development of DyeVert ™, a contrast monitoring and reduction system. This device is used during angiography procedures and designed to protect a patient’s kidneys from the potentially harmful effects of the necessary contrast media (needed for obtaining fluoroscopic images to assess vascular occlusions).
Debbie Novak, the Director of Human Resources and a Controller at Osprey, explained that when looking for someone this year to help with their increasing workload, Katherine was an easy choice. “She had the knowledge of what we needed,” Novak said. “R&D is a smaller department, and we have some tough regulatory deadlines that we are trying to meet, so we really needed someone this year that could step in that already understood the product and wouldn’t need a lot of training.”
This year, Gottwaldt will be working with flow sensors, data collection and testing. She’ll will also help the team create essential work instructions needed to document test methods.
Her favorite task that she’s assisted with so far, Gottwaldt said, was working with a high-pressure test machine, a massive device that she programmed and monitored to see how well a test device could handle differing levels of applied pressure.
“Interns are more apt to think outside the box,” Novak said. “That’s the thing I see most often, they’re more likely to try new things or ask questions like, ‘why are we doing it this way?’ and it gets the rest of us thinking about whether that makes sense. To me that’s just so valuable.”
In return for their student’s creative thinking, Osprey gives back with unique, hands-on industry experiences. The company will often bring their interns on tours of their suppliers’ facilities and encourage them to regularly interact with the heads of each department.
“We really wanted to beef up the internship program, and not only give them an education in research and development but give them a broader perspective of all the different areas in a company,” Novak explained. “Sometimes, it’s seeing the whole picture that allows you to put it all together and make sense of what you’re doing or why it’s needed. Our biggest goal is to help give our interns a new perspective and direction. Something they can take with them when they go to that next level of their career.”
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