Current MEng student, Daniel Campo, had the opportunity to attend the Scientist Mentorship and Diversity Program. Read more about the event from Daniel Campo’s perspective below.
When I had first arrived at San Diego I knew relatively little about the Scientist Mentorship and Diversity Program. I knew that this program had an emphasis on diversity, and all I expected from SMDP Med Tech was to learn about the industry and to improve my chances of getting hired through “networking,” whatever I thought that meant. What this five-day conference turned out to be was one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve had, and one that profoundly changed my understanding of my role in the industry. As an SMDP scholar, I was able to attend the AdvaMed conference and, in it, I got a chance to witness the heart of the Med Tech world. From CEO talks and plenary speeches, to showrooms and private company dinners, I was given an in-depth scope of the entire industry. Throughout the conference, the SMDP emphasized the importance of diversity in innovation. We were given a responsibility, as women or as members of underrepresented minorities, to make the Med Tech field more welcoming to people like us. Innovation is what Med Tech needs to continue evolving, and it is our unique background and unique ideas that catalyze this innovation.
SMDP Med Tech, however, did not just focus on diversity and industry. Another important component was mentorship and personal development. We were given useful career search advice, methods to improve our personal brand and social media presence, and skills for developing our leadership presence. However, what this conference showed me most of all was the importance of mentorship. From the very beginning I was exposed to Med Tech professionals, who not only wanted to meet me, but who actively want to help me succeed. Even though I was directly assigned one mentor to help me for the rest of the year, I felt as though I walked away from the event with multiple mentors and friends, all of which would gladly share their wisdom and help if I asked. This was real networking, a chance to develop real connections where both sides want to help the other. Thanks to this conference I am now also part of a network, a community that I will continue to learn from and will continue to help me succeed.