After being at Georgia Tech for 10 years (a masters and a PhD were achieved during this time), Ken came out with his degrees in mechanical engineering rather than biomedical engineering. During his time in school he worked in a lab at the IBB and in Bob Goldberg’s lab, where his work was related to bioengineering. When Ken finished his undergraduate degree he graduated at a time when the BME industry was still getting on its feet. “I think it’s much better now for BME students just because the industry has grown a lot in the last 10 years,” Ken says, as he explains his decision to go on to graduate school directly after undergraduate school.
Ken currently works at a startup called Medshape, which is an orthopedics company that focuses on sports medicine products and foot ankle products. He describes that a biomedical engineer’s role at his startup might be involved with topics more associated with biology, and when that expertise is combined with other topics it gives them the opportunity to be involved with more than one project. A drawback to BME is that it can be frustrating putting out a medical device meant to help other people while facing many restrictions and obstacles due to regulation by the drug administration and other governing bodies. However the best thing is that you get to directly impact human health and there is a physical outcome due to your work. “…I guess the [biggest] risk [I have taken] is being an active participant in a startup. I have seen many smaller companies fail, but I think I had a successful team,” Ken remarks. He realized that by being involved in a smaller company he has had to opportunity to be exposed to all different aspects of business due to something that started out just as an idea. He enjoys being able to learn about all of the different parts that worked together to put an idea into the market.
On advice he can give to BME students, Ken recommends networking and getting to know as many people as you can in the field. With so much collaboration growing within the BME field, the number of contacts, co-ops, and internships is increasing; going into a broad field can help you since there are so many things you can be involved with, giving you a greater skill set to market yourself to potential employers.