The inspiration for a career in engineering came to Alyssa Dias when she was a child, even though she didn’t know it at the time.
She remembers watching as her mother worked with therapists to assist her older brother, Luke, who has severe autism and cannot speak.
"I liked seeing them help him build skills,” Dias says. “I was always waiting for my time when I could join in on something he was doing."
Those experiences instilled in her the motivation to be in a profession that would let her help others. But it wasn’t until Dias took Introduction to Engineering Design in high school that she found the path that would lead her to what she really wanted to pursue: a career in medical device engineering.
"I thought that was the perfect medium,” she says. "A profession that helps those who can’t help themselves but also folds in the creativity and innovation of engineering."
BUILDING A LIFE'S WORK IN STEM
Dias spent two years as an Abbott high school STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, program intern before choosing to earn a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
She continued to work with Abbott during college, completing internships for three summers in the vascular, nutrition and diabetes care divisions.
Now that Dias has her Bachelor of Science degree, she has returned to Abbott for a third time as a member of our Professional Development Program. A recent assignment puts her on the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, helping train workers who make COVID-19 tests.