For the past 30 years, STEM professionals from across the country have gathered at the BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Awards) STEM conference to learn about the latest trends in the field, hear from renowned thought leaders, network with one another and potential employers and honor the best and brightest in STEM fields.
This year’s conference, “Count Us In: Standing on the Shoulders of Excellence” will take place on February 18-20 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. In addition to three days of sessions on topics including leadership, diversity and inclusion, green business, healthcare and Veterans’ opportunities, the conference features a free career fair for those pursuing careers in STEM fields.
The conference will also honor outstanding individuals working in STEM fields. Ejay Eze, an Aerotek contractor working on assignment at Meridian Medical Technologies (a Pfizer company), which provides emergency care treatment options for military and civilian defenders, is one of these outstanding individuals.
She will be presented with a Modern Technology Leader award, granted to “young men and women shaping the future of engineering, science and technology.” Hoping her award can raise awareness of substantial opportunities for women across the field of engineering, Ejay was glad to speak with us about her career path.
Why did you choose a career in STEM?
I have always been fascinated with medicine and the rapidly evolving technology we use every day. The opportunity to have a career as a biomedical engineer that would allow me to combine these two passions while improving and/or saving the lives of so many was too good to pass up.
What challenges do you feel are unique to young women interested in pursuing STEM careers?
Unfortunately, young women in STEM still face biases and stereotypes. Despite efforts to get the word out about the need for women in STEM, girls aren’t sufficiently encouraged to hone their scientific acumen at home or at school.
What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a STEM career?
I would advise them to make every effort to have a very hands-on role. Be adventurous in lab assignments and projects while in school. [When I was in school], I would see girls and women hesitant to work on lab equipment or circuits for fear of breaking something or making a mistake. The best place to make mistakes or figure out what happens when you push the big red button is in school, [maybe] not at your first job. I would also strongly advise them to find a mentor who will guide and encourage them in their field.
What is the best career advice you have received in your field?
Don't just wait for others to fix flaws you have noticed in products or tech that you use! You have the training and ability to make improvements by yourself. Most people are just scared to try.
Tell us about the company you work for and what you do there: How long have you been doing this this type of work?
I have been working for Meridian Medical Technologies (a Pfizer company), which provides emergency care treatment options for military and civilian defenders, for a year and a month. It aims to provide emergency countermeasures to the U.S. Department of Defense, Emergency Medical Services and Homeland Security and in more than 30 nations around the world.
My most recent endeavor involved the Advanced Anticonvulsant System (AAS), which aims to treat seizures and prevent subsequent neurological damage caused by exposure to nerve agents. I was working with a team of engineers to create a design history file (documentation that describes the design history of a medical device) that, per FDA regulations, needs to be compiled for Class II and Class III medical devices. I also completed a gap analysis on Meridian's medical devices in accordance with industry standards in order to analyze risk and to aid in the development of a new medical combination device.
Apart from successfully completing that project, another coworker and I built and maintain a database that serves as a comprehensive repository of all the design controls used in product manufacturing and manages information across multiple Meridian products.
On a daily basis I apply design control regulations (FDA 21, CFR 820.30 and FDA CFR Part 4) and summarize historic device documents (engineering drawings, test reports, etc.) as per design control regulations.
What led you into this role?
It was definitely my interest in the design and development of medical devices.
Why are you passionate about this job? What impact has this job had on you?
It’s because of the nature of the work that Meridian does. Their focus on helping to improve healthcare and save lives keeps me motivated. I am honored to work for a company that strives to protect our loved ones and impacts so many lives daily.
My current role at Meridian appeals to my engineering side. The company has a history of producing innovative treatment options and delivering these specialized products to a wide range of customers, something I value highly.
How did you find out about Aerotek and what were your initial impressions?
It was during a college career fair; my first impressions were that the recruiters I met were very knowledgeable and could provide a lot of opportunities.
Who do you work with at Aerotek?
Feven is my recruiter. She checks in regularly to see how things are going and keeps me updated on important matters.
How do you feel your recruiter treated you?
Feven asked a lot of questions to make sure she understood exactly what I was looking for and she produced exactly that.
Want to learn more about careers in STEM? Check out these blog posts: