Medtronic hosted Piner High students to a STEM Awareness day to present projects and
demonstrations of what their engineers and scientists do to create their life saving
biomedical devices. Alarming statistics were given to the students that science and
technical careers comprise 1 in every 5 US professional careers yet many companies
hire outside of the US. Companies like Medtronic are joining others in a national
push to increase student enrollment in Science Technology Engineering or Math careers
and this day of outreach is their way to motivate students to take the challenge
and step up to a STEM career.
A product fair was organized by engineers and scientists to show off the many biomedical
devices Medtronic has developed. Students observed and interacted with coronary stents,
endovascular stent grafts, percutaneous heart valves, renal denervation systems and
various catheter delivery systems. They also poked around the valves of a dissected
pig heart, analyzed the caffeine content of power drinks using a gas/mass spectrophotometer
and were in awe of a 3D printer that makes moving workable prototypes from a computer
Many students found the day to be an exciting preview of the science and technology
they have to look forward to in their future careers. Many of these students already
have a passion for math and science and gained additional insight into the challenges
and rewards that await them should they chose to pursue STEM pathways in their future.
Piner High already has three such career pathways in place for their students:
Geospatial Technology, Health Science and Biotechnology and MAKE classes with a
new MAKE physics program being offered next year. Medtronic is interested in
strengthening these pathways and will be offering such a day to other Sonoma County
high schools in the future.