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Notre Dame Students See Opportunities in Medical Device Industry

Eight engineering students from the University of Notre Dame recently visited Kosciusko County to get a look at career opportunities in Kosciusko County. The tour, organized by OrthoWorx, as part of the ThinkOrtho program, featured tours and conversations with personnel at DePuy Synthes, The Orthopaedics Company of Johnson & Johnson and Paragon Medical.

“We have such great opportunities for careers in innovative, global companies here in our area” said Nichole Rouached, Communications and Projects Manager for OrthoWorx. “But what really distinguishes these companies is that they are helping patients lead better lives through the products and services they provide. That’s meaningful to college students today.”

The tour started at Paragon Medical where the students saw how orthopedic implants, instrument and instrument cases are designed and produced. They also saw Paragon’s BioSkills lab, where medical professionals are trained on the latest techniques in orthopedic surgery. The students discussed technologies and careers, with Paragon Medical employees Dan Smallwood, Operational Excellence Leader and Andre Chilafoe, Bioskills Manager. MaRissa Thatcher, Talent & Acquisition & Development Specialist, helped organize the tour for students, she emphasized that internship opportunities through Paragon Medical “are an immersive experience, where engineering candidates gain skills operating a range of equipment so they know the process for creating products they may design.”

The last stop on the tour was at DePuy Synthes, where the students met with Liz Wiederhold, Senior Project Manager, and Steph Recker, Product Development Engineer. Students were able to hear how Revra DePuy first began the Orthopedic Capital of the World® with the formation of DePuy in 1895. Additionally, students were able to tour the manufacturing facility and get a glimpse of activities in laboratories. They also were introduced to the VELYS™ Robotic-Assisted Solution, which can be used during total knee reconstruction surgery.

Susan Clark, who led the tour for Notre Dame, said such field visits are important for students. “What impresses me and our students is the incredible variety of career fields and disciplines the medical device industry offers,” said Ms. Clark. “The fact that these devices must interact with the human body in a safe and effective manner makes the engineering challenges that much more interesting.”

According to Ms. Rouached, OrthoWorx intends to conduct future such tours with students from various universities. “This is a program we’ve had to put on hold because of COVID restrictions,” she said, “but we’re anxious to gear back up and let a range of students know about the great career possibilities here in the area.”

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