At BD, we continually strive to foster a diverse environment and inclusive culture where associates—and by extension, innovation—can thrive. Associates within the BD Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) associate resource group work to attract, and develop, and advance female talent at BD, with the long-term goals of enhancing gender diversity and delivering a competitive advantage to BD.
As part of WIN, WIN+STEM, seeks to ensure that all associates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers at BD find an inclusive environment full of opportunity and support, and to drive change in these historically male-dominated disciplines. This year, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE)—a non-profit organization committed to advancing and honoring the contributions of women at all stages of their engineering careers—recognized BD and our associates with seven total awards. These include a Silver-Professional SWE Mission Award, a Best Practice Award, and Patent Recognition Awards for five women at BD: Jessica Hoye—R&D Program Manager, Janice Pak—Staff Mechanical Engineer, Alyssa Shedlosky—Senior Manager of R&D Engineering, Aishwarya Vaidyanathan—Senior Engineer, and Honghua Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Manager of R&D.
Here's a closer look at each award and recipient:
Silver-Professional SWE Mission Award
The Silver-Professional SWE Mission Award SWE groups that embody the organization’s core values and demonstrate continuous improvement and growth as they work to achieve the Society’s strategic goals of professional excellence, globalization, advocacy, and diversity & inclusion.
Best Practice Award
A Best Practice Award in the category of Leadership Development within Group or SWE recognizes our “Chat with a Purpose” program—initiated by the Chandigarh, India chapter of WIN+STEM. The program facilitates career development through advice and conversation between associates and female leaders. It’s a forum where women can share stories about personal career journeys and overcoming challenges.
Patent Recognition Awards
Five BD associates were recognized for recent patent innovations that are helping to drive healthcare forward. Here’s a closer look at what that impact means to them, how they are each working to impact patients and improve outcomes, and what advice they’d give aspiring patent holders:
Jessica Hoye, R&D Program Manager, has her name on more than 15 patents. She currently focuses on products for restoring blood flow to lower limbs in patients with severe vascular disease to prevent more invasive procedures such as bypass or amputation. Her most recent patent directly impacts this space. She’s been interested in medical device innovation since high school, when she saw a friend’s parent have trouble with an implantable insulin pump.
“I wanted to find a way to improve quality of life for patients like him, and having a career in med-tech enables me to do just that,” said Jessica, who encourages fellow and future inventors to be bold, strategic and tenacious in pursuing patents. “It might take time and effort to innovate and get something through the patent process, but in the end, perseverance will pay off and the satisfaction of achieving this type of reward is completely worth the wait.”
Janice Pak, Staff Mechanical Engineer, holds five patents, and her most recent three patents are for products that improve the safety and efficacy of drug delivery for patients by improving the clinician experience in safely and accurately administering medications. Janice has four main points of advice for new inventors:
“First, start with a user need statement – an industry need that doesn’t yet have a good solution. Second, think outside the box and record your ideas with your name and date. Third, remember that patents can be created from existing technology that is not currently used in the field of medicine or perhaps is repurposed for a different application. Fourth, submit your idea as soon as possible!”
Alyssa Shedlosky, Senior Manager of R&D Engineering, works with diagnostic instruments that detect infectious diseases. She’s worked on projects ranging from large high-volume automated instruments to small rapid point-of-care devices. Her most recent patent is related to advancing high-volume molecular instruments, which minimize the manual pre-processing steps that lab technicians need to complete. Alyssa, whose name is currently on six patents, says that inventing a new product can’t be forced.
“It’s an organic, creative process and the inventor should be excited to create a robust product that meets the requirements,” said Alyssa. “Inventors should have fun exploring new ideas, creating multiple concepts, and learning from their many failures. I’ll explore a wide variety of ideas and eventually there’s one that just clicks into place. An inventor must be bold and persistent.”
Aishwarya Vaidyanathan, Senior Engineer, currently works to develop solutions for vascular access and reducing needlestick injuries in hospitalized patients, though she used to focus on infection prevention in hospital surgical preparation. It’s in this area that she earned her most recent patent for a new methodology she developed for dispensing antiseptic solutions to surgical sites.
Having successfully put her name to three patents, she recommends that aspiring patent holders, “truly partner with their marketing and sales colleagues to deepen their understanding of customer needs and pain points—they can often be transformed into opportunities to innovate.”
Honghua Zhang, Ph.D., Senior Manager of R&D, has been working in the diagnostic industry for more than 20 years and holds an impressive 21 patents. Her most recent patent relates to her work in rapid, point-of-care molecular diagnostics with assays that use nucleic acid amplification and detection technologies that she co-invented. During her career, she’s seen the field evolve in ways that have profoundly benefitted patients, yet she sees so much opportunity for future innovation in diagnostic testing to help optimize clinical care and improve patient outcomes.
Her advice for young inventors is to be passionate about what you do and to do your research: “Know your field and know what to do and what not to do. Pursue the idea with scientific rigor, and always think about how you can improve it a step further."
Each of these achievements will be recognized at WE21, the world’s largest conference for women engineers and technologists, taking place October 21-23. To attend, register at WE21.SWE.org
Already planning to attend WE21? Don’t miss several BD associates taking part in panel sessions about mentorship through graduate school and how engineers can thrive through ambiguous times.