John Konicek Helps Local Students Make Strides in STEM Education

Supervisor of Research and Development John Konicek is instinctively curious and equally accommodating.

“Since day one, John has always approached his Arthrex career with a, ‘How can I help?’ attitude. It’s infectious and fosters both a productive and positive working environment,” said John’s manager, Josh Karnes, senior director of research and Vet Systems/orthobiologics engineering.

John doesn’t only take this approach with his coworkers. He’s also dedicated to helping and sharing his knowledge, developing unique learning opportunities for students and other community groups that visit Arthrex throughout the year.

For the second year in a row, John hosted eighth grade students from Immokalee Middle School’s chapter of the SSTRIDE© program. SSTRIDE, Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence, identifies students interested in science, engineering, math, health and medicine and offers them educational opportunities to assist them in selecting a career path.

The 14 students visited Arthrex on Friday, November 16, and John and the Research and Development team were excited to lead them in hands-on activities in the lab.

“When I was their age, I had no idea that anything like this existed,” said John, who taught the students how to perform two different ACL repairs using the TightRope® fixation system and the GraftLink® technique with compressed foam blocks to represent bone.

While he was a student at the University of Akron, John worked with the biomechanics lab associated with Akron General Hospital.

He said, “It was there that I first got a taste of the research side of engineering and knew that it was the direction I wanted my career to take. Now I love sharing the knowledge that I’ve gained during my career with others.”

Educating students about the various career paths they’re capable of choosing is important to John, his wife Dyan, who teaches civics at Immokalee Middle School, and many Arthrex employees who volunteer their time with local schools.

“The job market is competitive and the choices students make regarding educational and training opportunities have a very high likelihood of shaping their future. John’s involvement with the SSTRIDE program gives students invaluable opportunities to make better informed decisions about future career paths. We’re fortunate to work for Arthrex, and the opportunity only exists due to the skillsets, experience and education that we acquired. John’s efforts give students a head start,” said Josh.

In the research and development lab, the students split into small groups. While John taught his group how to repair an ACL, the other groups of students got a peek into orthobiologics. They saw the Angel® system at work, learned to tie and test different knots with suture and screwed knotless anchors into place after threading suture through.

The students were eager to try their hands at tying surgical knots and attaching buttons to fixate the ACL repair. John said, “They were completely engaged and asked great questions. Plus, a large number of folks on the R&D team love taking part in this event and enjoy sharing their expertise with the SSTRIDE students.”

John was recently promoted to his supervisory role and is extremely happy to be a part of the R&D team. He added, “I can honestly say that many of my best friends work with me each and every day.”

Category: Company Culture