Name: Elena Porras
Major and College: Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University
Internship Title: Engineering Intern
Internship Site: Infinite Biomedical Technologies
1) Please tell us about your Career Goals.
I’m currently studying as a junior in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on data science and a minor in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. I am interested in technological, data-driven solutions to problems within the start-up world, but I also love people, so my ultimate career goal is to either consult or work directly with start-up founders to further their ambitions and bring great products to the world. Within this internship, I’ve been exposed to the inner workings of a start-up within medtech, how it’s regulated, how products get from being ideas to being fully launched, and so much growth in terms of technical skills. I believe that the most helpful consultant is one who deeply understands the business that they are working with, or if they don’t, are willing to learn the ins and outs of an industry, and this is what I have valued most at IBT; the breadth of knowledge I have gained in such a short time has pushed me to become a jack of all trades and adapt to any task that needs doing.
2) Tell us about your internship (i.e. day-to-day responsibilities, special projects/clients and work culture).
I work at Infinite Biomedical Technologies which is a start-up focused on developing devices to improve the lives of individuals with upper limb loss. I work as a production and engineering intern so I split my time between product development and production. In both of these areas, I’ve experienced a level of trust and independence which I have valued tremendously since I realize that this is not usually the case in internships. Currently, I’ve taken on a project to design a device to streamline the method of noise-testing the electrodes that we build in-house which I find exciting and creative. The culture has everything to do with the experience I’ve had; there is a real sense here that ideas – whomever they might come from- are always welcome and people are valued, not just as employees, but as people.
3) Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I first heard of this internship through Handshake near the end of my fall semester almost into intersession. Once I applied, I heard back about an interview around 2-3 weeks later. I interviewed with my two current supervisors and the tone of the conversation was not intimidating at all while still being very professional. I made sure I was prepared, dressed accordingly, and had done my research so that I would have questions to ask them as well. After that, I heard back about a month later.
4) Which of the following resources did you use to find your current experience?
5) What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
I’ve enjoyed the amount of work I’ve gotten to do across various disciplines. I got hands-on experience with building medical grade technology, supplier sourcing and communication, CAD drawings and designing, verification/validation testing, and in-depth experience with project and business documentation among many things. Throughout all these experiences, I’ve also always been able to give feedback on whether the kind of work I was doing was work that I wanted to continue to get experience with or if there were other areas I’d like to learn about and explore – for someone that likes to learn, that’s truly unique.
6) How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
I’ve been able to lessen the workload of others which has allowed many of the full-time employees to focus on more pressing or complex projects. I serve as the person to make other people’s lives easier and to make the entire operation run more smoothly. There is no longer a backlog of inspections on new parts and returns for example, and no employees ever have to worry about packing and shipping orders, since I’ll get them out as soon as they register in the system. More deeply though, I’ve been able to build products that people need, and although I don’t think I’ll be able to meet them, at least one person’s life is more fulfilled because of the work that I help with here.
7) What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience (i.e. Internship search, Resume or Interview tips)?
I would tell them to treat absolutely everything as a learning experience and to not be afraid to take on more work if they feel they can handle it. It’s the way I’ve learned to make the most of my time and how I feel the most challenged.