Medical device product development: An engineering path

In her Mar. 6 college lecture, Dylann Ceriani spoke about her unique path from a two-time All-American volleyball player to a product development engineer in the medical device industry. 

Due to a natural talent in math and science, Ceriani’s mother encouraged her to pursue engineering. Working in a cadaver lab for an anatomy class, Ceriani discovered a love for the medical field and decided to merge her engineering education and love of medicine.  After graduating from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Ceriani went on to receive an MS in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. During her time at Berkeley she worked with a professor in the biomechanics field and found the marriage of engineering and medicine that she was looking for.

While at BYU, Dylann was a two-time All-American volleyball player (1987, 1988) and became the most decorated female athlete in BYU history. Her love of sports helped guide her career path, now she creates braces and other equipment for athletes.

Ceriani works for Symbient, a full service product development company focusing solely on high volume medical products. She has extensive experience in medical device design and has been issued five patents in biomechanical engineering. Ceriani shared several projects she has worked on, including knee braces and safe scalpels, describing how biomedical engineering combines engineering, medicine, diagnosis and therapy.

In conclusion, Ceriani said she wanted to leave the students with the “things that I wish I would have known when I was in your shoes.”

  • “When you are in an interview, you don’t necessarily have to have all the skills, because you have your degree and they know you know how to problem solve.”
  • “Do your research on the company. There is nothing worse than having somebody ask ‘Do you have any questions for me?’ In an interview and the candidate say, ‘What do you do?’”
  • Be professional in the way you present yourself and the way you answer interview questions.
  • “When I interview people, I like to see people who like to build things, people who transfer their work into action.”
  • “Go see what is out there. I knew a little what I wanted to do while in college but I didn’t really know until I got into the field.” The more you explore the more you’ll understand where you want to be.
  • “The people that know the most are usually the people that put the products together all the time.” You will be successful if you listen to the people in production.
  • “Don’t let one class discourage you. If you don’t like it, choose a different class next time.” Ceriani didn’t enjoy studying materials but knew she wasn’t going into a field that would require her to pursue that topic, so she took the class and didn’t let it stop her from becoming an engineer.

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