Medtronic helps young women explore technology careers

Medtronic helps young women explore technology careers

 March 18, 2019

Nyah Johnson is a sophomore at St. Louis Park High School in Minn who wants to be an engineer. She was among two dozen female students who attended the annual Student Employer Exploration Day (SEED) event at Medtronic.

The students visited the Medtronic Energy and Component Center in Brooklyn Center, Minn., where Medtronic designs, builds and tests components that go into implantable medical devices.

They also toured science labs at the Medtronic facility in Mounds View, Minn., where they received hands-on lessons about the tiny wires, or leads, that attach traditional pacemakers to the heart.

They also saw how Medtronic is using 3D imaging and printing to develop medical devices.

“The 3D lab was my favorite,” Nyah says. “The technology is so cool. It would be fun to do that kind of work.”

Medtronic organized the tours to expose young women to career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Sheri Henck, Vice President of Global Operations in the Cardiac Rhythm and Heart Failure division at Medtronic, spearheads the event. She and several other female leaders at Medtronic shared their stories and advice with the students.

“All of you are future leaders,” she told the students. “Explore what’s interesting to you, what’s inspiring to you. Don’t be afraid to dream big.”

A future generation of engineering pioneers

If Nyah does indeed become an engineer, she’ll be something of a pioneer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, even though women make up 47% of the U.S. workforce, they account for only 16% of U.S. chemical engineers, and just 12% of civil engineers. Women are also under-represented in other STEM fields.

Sheri and Medtronic hope to help turn those numbers around—one tour, one conversation, one student, at a time.

Nyah, who took page after page of notes on her tour, seems convinced. “I am so energized by everything I learned,” she says. “I can’t wait to tell my parents and friends.”

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