Making a Difference in the World, a Systems Engineer Story

Computer code behind colorful lines
Some engineers find their way into their careers driven by something different than the rest of us. For Bethany Meyer, a star Aerotek contract employee, that something different was also about something important ― making a difference in the lives of others.

Follow a passion

It’s always interesting to learn what makes someone choose engineering, especially when their pathway is very specific ― biomedical systems engineering for medical device manufacturing. “Both my parents were doctors. I was always interested in medicine and medical devices. By the time I got to college I was committed to finding a career in a challenging field where my passion might be rewarded,” recalls Bethany.

Problem solving for society

We asked Bethany what she was currently working on. “I work at a large pharmaceutical company in their medical devices division. My group works on medication delivery systems, mainly syringes. As a systems engineer in R&D, I help develop use cases, design requirements, and risk analyses to ensure the device is as safe and effective as possible.”

Connecting with purpose

Bethany is passionate and gets deep gratification from her job. “My greatest reward is seeing the end-result of the work we do and its effect on real people’s lives. Recently during a companywide meeting, we heard from a cancer survivor who participated in clinical trials using our drugs that helped him fight the disease. This really makes the larger goal of helping people seem very real to me. It is great to get such a sense of purpose from my work.”

Education matters

Once she decided on an engineering career in the biomedical field, choosing the right education path wasn’t easy, but Bethany says it was key. “I did the research and picked University of Michigan because they had an accelerated degree program where you get both your bachelors and masters in five years. When I came into the job market a couple of years ago with my Masters in biomedical engineering, it made a big difference. Having the Master’s degree definitely opened more opportunities for me.”

What’s next?

“One thing I learned from my manager was this: If I don’t feel nervous when I take on a project, then I don’t feel like I’m going to be sufficiently challenged. Right now, I’m in almost a perfect job when it comes to being challenged and feeling like I’m accomplishing something.&rdquo
We asked Bethany what she saw three or five years ahead in her career. “I know wherever my career takes me it will be in biomed. I love that I started out in a large company with so many different types of challenges and as a contract engineer I really enjoy the idea of having access to ongoing career opportunities. Could I see myself at a startup some day? Maybe. Right now I still have so much more to learn from the amazing work we do here.”

Career planning

We wanted Bethany’s advice for young people today, as they think about what career path. “When I was a little kid, I didn’t find myself taking things apart to find out how they worked, as many engineers have experienced. But I did really enjoy the problem solving in math, biology and physics. I chose an engineering career in biomed because it seemed like a job that would really suit me. Any young person thinking about their career should explore their options and find out what subjects they really enjoy. Think about something that you are excited about, and then find out what sorts of jobs might offer a great fit for you.”

If you’re an engineer looking for a great-fitting job like Bethany’s, we invite you to create an Aerotek career account, or explore our current software engineering opportunities.