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Christine Emery '16

Christine Emery '16

I graduated from Swarthmore College in 2016 with a B.S. in Engineering and a minor in Music. After my junior year, I realized my passion for medical devices while completing a summer internship with ZSX Medical, a startup developing laparoscopic surgical instruments. I then set a goal to land an engineering role at a medical device company after graduating from Swarthmore.

As a stepping stone to reach that goal, I completed a Master’s of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University, a program designed to introduce students to the medical device industry. This program provided a great bridge from the theoretical engineering I learned at Swarthmore to its practical applications in industry.

My first job after graduating was as a Mechanical Engineer at HD LifeSciences, a startup developing solutions for spinal disease. My role involved designing spinal implants and surgical instruments from 3D-printed titanium and stainless steel. Day-to-day highlights included building prototypes, testing devices in cadavers, and shadowing surgeons to gather ideas for product improvements that promote easier surgeries and better patient outcomes.

While I loved my engineering role at HD LifeSciences, after three years I decided to try something completely different. In October 2020, I began a Project Management position at Portal Instruments, a startup developing a needle-free injection device. My responsibilities include creating project plans, leading design efforts, generating documentation to support development activities, and collaborating with our engineering team to troubleshoot device issues and implement solutions. Even as a project manager at a startup, I find myself wearing many hats — engineer still being one of them!

I am especially grateful for the multidisciplinary engineering education I received at Swarthmore because I can understand (to some degree, that is) the mechanical, electrical, and software components of Portal's injector device. This broad engineering exposure will continue enabling me to work on a wide variety of medical devices in the future.