The co-op program is six to eight months of paid, full-time work at an Abbott facility in California, Texas or Minneapolis in either the cardiovascular and neuromodulation business. The program will soon expand to other businesses and locations.
Keith High, a research and development engineer responsible for prosthetic heart valves, said his team typically employs two to five biomedical or mechanical engineering students. In his team, co-op students start by becoming familiar with the business unit and performing product testing. Once they are comfortable with the work, they can then select and become more involved in an area of interest.
"The second half of the experience transitions to developing new test methods, working on design improvements and writing technical reports,” he says. "Reports completed by students have been directly used in regulatory submissions."
Chelsey Wildenborg, who's earning a master's degree in computer science, is a co-op participant in the neuromodulation business. She's working on a machine learning project within the software team.
"I'm interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence and their application to healthcare," she said. "This program couldn't be a more perfect fit. I'm working with real-world data, which I'm not able to do at school."
Co-op students are directly assigned to work alongside researchers, scientists and engineers to solve problems within these businesses and help develop solutions that will have an impact on people around the world. Abbott also gains from the experience and insight of co-op students, who bring new ideas and technology application expertise.
Cora Buckner, senior manager of strategic alliances and manager of the co-op program, says the students also bring a fresh perspective and teach their co-workers. They also directly impact operations and outcomes. One former participant developed a patient-focused app during their time within the cardiovascular business that Abbott continues to implement and support.
Who is Eligible?
Abbott seeks highly motivated students with an interest in STEM and potentially working for Abbott full-time after graduation. The program mostly recruits rising juniors or master's candidates who are able to take a year off from study to complete the program. The competitive program is paid, and the participant relocates to the Abbott facility for the six- to eight-month duration before returning to school to complete their degree.
Students must meet certain requirements to be considered:
- Have a GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Be enrolled in a STEM program at an accredited, partnering university
- Be enrolled in a related discipline in an undergraduate, master's or Ph.D. program
- Be eligible to accept a full-time position after graduation
- Be able to work in the United States without Abbott sponsorship
Upon completion of the co-op program, students return to their school to complete their degree. After graduation, they may be eligible for full-time employment.