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Allie Sibole ’14 is product development engineer for DePuy Synthes, part of the medical devices division of Johnson & Johnson. Her job satisfies a curiosity that came out of her own orthopedic injury while studying at SCU.
She writes, “Right before my sophomore year, I suffered a stress fracture in my femur. Although it healed without any complications, I sustained another stress fracture in the opposite leg two years later. My desire to understand my own injuries better, combined with the biomechanics and anatomy classes I was taking at Santa Clara, sparked my interest in orthopedic medical devices to prevent and treat injuries to bones and muscles.”
“Two weeks before my official graduation from Santa Clara, I started graduate school at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. The yearlong master’s program gave me the opportunity to shadow doctors at the Johns Hopkins medical center, travel to Nepal to observe health care needs in low-resource settings and work on numerous health care projects. One of these projects was a device to detect kidney damage during surgery, which is now being evaluated in two large medical centers, and another was an improved protective suit for health care workers treating Ebola patients, which is now in the process of being manufactured by DuPont.”
“After graduating from Johns Hopkins, I landed a job working in research and development for the world’s No. 1 orthopedics company. In my role, I design and test implants and instruments that surgeons use to treat complex fractures. As part of my job, I’ve also gotten to meet with surgeons from all around the world and spend an extended time period working at my company’s office in Switzerland. It’s rewarding knowing that my work will help patients regain their ability to walk and live pain-free lives.”
“One thing I’ve learned in my time in industry is that engineering is so much more than being able to set up calculations or make cool designs. It requires teamwork, dedication, and careful consideration of the human impact of engineering decisions. During my time at Santa Clara, I memorized formulas and built robots like any stereotypical engineering student, but I also got to analyze the ethics behind sustainable construction, learn about the challenges of designing for low-resource countries, and apply my skills over the summers in internships I found through career fairs and my professors. Engineering at Santa Clara was never about problem sets; it was about impact—and figuring out what kind of mark we wanted to leave on the world through our chosen field.”
While Sibole was at Santa Clara, she competed for the cross-country and track teams and worked as a student blogger for the Office of Marketing and Communications. Today, she continues to run, and blog, for fun. You can check out more of her writing at https://nevereverstoplearning.wordpress.com/.