Jan 1, 2017

Medtronic helps young women explore technology careers

High school students attend second annual Student Employer Exploration Day

Mounds View, Minn. - Nyah Johnson loves math and robotics and wants to be an engineer someday. Medtronic wants to help her.

Nyah is a sophomore at St. Louis Park High School in St. Louis Park, Minn. She was among two dozen 10th, 11th and 12th grade female students from St. Louis Park and Hill-Murray High School in St. Paul, Minn., who attended the second annual Student Employer Exploration Day (SEED) event at Medtronic in mid-August.

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. Learn more about MECC.

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.

And they saw how Medtronic is using 3D imaging and printing to develop medical devices.

“The 3D lab was my favorite,” Nyah said. “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,” she said.

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 percent of the U.S. workforce, they account for only 16 percent of U.S. chemical engineers, and just 12 percent of civil engineers. Women are also under-represented in other STEM fields.

Henck 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 today,” she said. “I can’t wait to tell my parents and friends.”