Arthrex Recognizes International Women in Engineering Day
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) recognizes the accomplishments and achievements of women engineers around the world and is observed annually on June 23, which was the date of the Women’s Engineering Society’s founding in the United Kingdom in 1919. INWED’s mission is to raise awareness of the exciting careers and opportunities within the industry and to encourage more young women to pursue educational paths and careers in engineering, which remains a largely male-dominated field.
As a company focused on technology, science and innovation, engineers play a vital role in the success of Arthrex and our products. Our engineers are involved in every step of producing Arthrex products from design conceptualization and prototypes to software design, manufacturing parts and packaging the components for sterile use and safe transport to our customers.
This year, we recognize the day by highlighting some of the incredible women engineers at Arthrex. They all have educations in engineering and many of them work in engineering roles, but some found other ways to use their expertise.
Read what they have to say about engineering and Arthrex:
Why do you love being an engineer at Arthrex?
“I love being an engineer at Arthrex because I get to create products with cutting-edge technology and do it in an environment that is respectful and supportive to women. I’ve worked at other places where female engineers are treated as ‘less than’ and it’s very discouraging. Arthrex is so amazing because everyone is valued and treated equally.”
Zhaleh Lotfi; Test Engineer II at Arthrex California Technology
“I started at Arthrex as a co-op five years ago and even then, I felt that I was heard and my ideas were valued. I love that as a research engineer I get to see the re-iterations of each product from the prototyping phase all the way to verification and FDA approval.”
Sydonia Littlefield; Research Engineer I at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“I love being an engineer at Arthrex because I get to work on so many new and innovative projects. This allows me to be creative and challenged while using my skills to improve our products to help the people who need them. It’s very fulfilling to play a role in our evolving products and watch how they impact the orthopedic world.”
Emily Shook; Manufacturing Suture Engineer II at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. South Carolina
“I love being an engineer at Arthrex because I can help more female engineers find their place at a company that values them. Knowing that I am the first female engineer in the Mexico Service & Repair department fills me with pride and satisfaction, but at the same time I feel extra responsibility to do my absolute best so more female engineers are considered for a job in the Service area.”
Alejandra Vargas; Service and Repair Engineer at Arthrex Mexico
“I enjoy the constant challenges of being a packaging engineer at Arthrex. I am always developing new packaging for our ever increasing product lines and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to work on global projects that support all product lines. I enjoy knowing I’ll never stop learning and being challenged.”
Liz Yeager; Packaging Engineering Manager at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
“The most exciting part about my job is the opportunity to lead research studies with surgeon collaborators on new advancements in the orthopedic world. I find this very rewarding and love that I can contribute to Arthrex in an impactful way.”
Cassie Payne; Orthopedic Research Engineer I at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“It’s exciting because I enjoy problem solving and using my analytical skills as well as creating testing plans and developing strategies for Arthrex products. Each day is a new challenge that requires me to use my engineering skills.”
Harpreet Budhiraja; Validation Manager at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. East
“As a continuous improvement engineer, the most exciting part of my job is interacting with all facets of the organization. Our team helps lead process improvements, the creation of new processes and workshops where we can all collaborate. When we come together, we agree that we can only improve from where we have been.”
Linzey Miller; Continuous Improvement Engineer II at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“It’s very exciting to participate in projects that show how research and innovation become reality. I love being part of such an innovative company.”
Daniela Warnecke; Orthopedic Research Engineer at Arthrex Germany
“It is very exciting to be hands-on in every aspect of product development, improving current processes, staying updated on new procedures and technologies and problem solving to remove roadblocks, bringing products to market quicker. I also really enjoy mentoring and helping younger engineers grow their careers and accomplish their goals.”
Michelle Morar; Engineering Manager at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
What inspires you about engineering?
“The fact that I get to use my love of math and science every day to develop innovative products is very rewarding. I can honestly say my efforts over the last two decades at Arthrex have contributed to new products being developed that have indirectly improved the quality of life of patients is what inspires me.”
Karen Gallen; Senior Director of Engineering at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“The constant discovery of new ideas, thoughts, and challenges drive innovation. Engineers are problem solvers, so it is inspiring to work through new ideas and challenges to solve issues that were once thought of as unsolvable.”
Haley O’Dell; Industrial Engineer I at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. South Carolina
“I love solving problems. Nearly every aspect of my job is putting the puzzle pieces together until you have the big picture finished. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from seeing X-rays or case reports that include implants I designed and developed with my project team.”
Stephanie Bare; Engineering Manager – Distal Extremities & Trauma, Hand/Wrist at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“I love how small design changes in products and non-pharmaceutical interventions can drastically help patients. It makes me happy to say that I was behind this product design and I cherish the opportunities I have to work on upcoming projects.”
Supriya Jagtap; Senior Product Improvement Engineer I at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“I have always felt engaged in my career because of the continuous opportunities to learn, especially at Arthrex where the pace of innovation is so rapid. There is never a shortage of new things to learn to contribute to the development and improvement of our devices and processes.”
Maya Erickson; Suture Manufacturing Engineering Manager at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. South Carolina
What are your hopes for the future of engineering?
“I hope the engineering field succeeds in crossing borders, genders, cultures, beliefs and all obstacles so we can all contribute to improving our planet and all the living beings that inhabit it. Above all, I hope women sustain a stronger footprint in this profession.”
Gabriela Salinas; Sales and Product Consultant at Arthrex Mexico
“I hope engineering teams grow and continue to work together. I have seen women engineers take on more leadership roles, and I am fortunate Arthrex has encouraged my growth as a manager. My hope is the engineering profession sees no gender. As a mother of two young daughters, I encourage their involvement in STEM programs so they can pursue a promising career to change the world in science and technology and can be seen as opening new areas for engineering, regardless of being a woman.”
Tara Swanlaw; Engineering Manager – Suture Development at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
“My hope for engineering is equal access to education for everyone, without being intimidated by prejudice and clichés. Hopefully in a few years, there will be a shift from extraordinary to ordinary for women in engineering.”
Anna Heinz; Orthopedic Research Engineer at Arthrex Germany
“I hope in the near future every engineering meeting will represent the same diversity that is mirrored in the population. Diversity brings new perspectives and generates more noble ideas which inherently benefits the entire team. Being a young Latina engineer, I was afraid that I would not be taken seriously. Thanks to the support of my managers and the confidence that was instilled in me by other women in the organization, that was never the case.”
Natalia Nunez Paz; Manufacturing Engineer I at Arthrex Manufacturing Inc. East.
“My hope of hopes is for engineering solutions that will fully restore the function and quality of life for people living with a spinal cord injury. Watching sci-fi movies growing up, I would always see these crazy advancements in technology and medicine and wonder how they got to that point. In the past 20 years, there have been so many engineering milestones that bring us closer to realizing these advancements. It’s exciting to be on this cusp and help make science fiction a reality.”
Stephenie Liebler; Biomaterials Testing Manager at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters
What challenges do women typically face in the engineering profession and what has your experience been like at Arthrex?
“I faced a lot of misogyny during my time at university, being one of only 10% of female mechanical engineering students. I feel like we need to prove ourselves and our knowledge more than male colleagues. Other peoples' prejudices sometimes limit what we think we can accomplish; therefore, role models and mentors are so important. At Arthrex, I was lucky to have found an excellent mentor in my director, [Orthopedic Research Director] Coen Wijdicks. This is a legacy that I now strive to follow with my team and especially with our internship program.”
Martina Roth; Biomechanical Research Manager at Arthrex Germany
“Women engineers still have a long way to go in terms of equal pay, positive work environments, access to leadership roles and recognition for their contributions. Fortunately, Arthrex is a great company for women engineers and recognizes gender equality. We are encouraged to propose ideas, raise our hand, participate and collaborate with equal opportunities for all.”
Verónica Arroyo; Sales & Product Consultant at Arthrex Mexico
“Women engineers are often not taken seriously or treated as equals to our male counterparts. I have been in the engineering profession for many decades and have seen some improvement, but there is more room to grow. Arthrex is ahead of most companies, with its push to hire more women engineers. I think women have a lot to contribute and can provide a fresh perspective on the engineering approach and thought processes.”
Elizabeth Rinehold; Senior Mechanical Engineer I at Arthrex California Technology
“These days in the larger world of software engineering, women often run into a ‘Bro’ experience that emphasizes a male-oriented culture and either implicitly or explicitly devalues women. Fortunately this attitude is much less common in medical device software. My experience at Arthrex has been stellar, because the Arthrex community is firmly oriented towards collaboration and treating colleagues with respect, regardless of gender.”
Dana Good; Principal Software Engineer at Arthrex Inc. Global Headquarters