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Get to Know a Biomedical Engineer
Nicole Lewis is a BME Alum who graduated in the Class of 2009 and received an MS in MAE. She is currently working at Becton Dickinson as a CAE Engineer.
“Although I have a biomedical and mechanical engineering degree, I love all types of engineering. Being an engineer is powerful because you learn how to solve all sorts of problems in many challenging situations.”
What did you major in college, and what college did you attend?
I majored in Biomedical Engineering at NC State University. I then entered graduate school at NC State for Mechanical Engineering. I also spent 2 years working on a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, Germany.
What is your work day like?
I spend the majority of my day working on the computer with finite element analysis software. I attend several meetings for the various medical device projects I'm working on. I also have the opportunity to travel all over the world; I'm currently working with a group in California, Utah, the UK, and Singapore.
What is the starting salary for your position?
The starting salary for my position in North Carolina is around $70,000. This is dependent on location. My same position might pay close to $100,000 in California, but you must account for the cost of living.
If you could change your job what would you change it to?
I would love to add on a laboratory position to my current job. That way, I could test the medical devices in the lab and simulate them on the computer at the same time.
What made you want to be in engineering and this particular field of engineering?
I'm lucky that both of my parents have good jobs. My dad is an engineer and my mom works in healthcare. I knew since middle school that I wanted to solve problems in a healthcare setting, which led me to biomedical engineering. I chose finite element analysis because I can work on several different projects at the same time and see things in the results that sometimes cannot be seen by the team designing the product.
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue a career in Bio medical engineering?
Go for it! Try to immerse yourself in engineering as much as possible. There are several engineering summer camps that are so much fun, and you make lifelong friends! I was a counselor at the NC State summer engineering camps for two years, and I also attended an engineering camp for girls at the University of Maryland in high school.
What's the hardest part about your job?
The hardest part about my job is the drive home from work. There's so much traffic! The second hardest part about my job is working with others that are not as familiar with engineering as I am. I have to remember to take a step back and explain things from the beginning.