GMI Student Perspectives | Eddie Yao: Coffee In The Workplace And In The Mountains

Reflections from Global Medical Innovation MBE students.

View of Boston Scientific.

Week four of the internship is in the books! Since my previous blog post, I started my internship at Boston Scientific. The focus of my project is looking at the technical feasibility of insourcing a component of a major product family at the Boston Scientific Coyol Site. Working in the Manufacturing Engineering Department GBF team, I collaborate with many people from different parts of the company. For my project, the product family has production lines in both Costa Rica and the United States, which requires me to attend weekly meetings with the team in the US to update them on our progress in Costa Rica and plan our course of action. In addition to meetings and creating documentation, I work with colleagues on the production floor and I’m currently testing units on the production floor and the engineering lab to collect data for my technical report.

Upon arriving, I noticed that at a large and established company like Boston Scientific, I had lots of meetings every week and lots of people to meet. I made some new Tico friends; Carlos, Fernando, Mauro, Jose and Carolina are the other interns that helped me get settled in and adapt to the workplace. Having breakfast, lunch and my 3pm coffee break with them has allowed me to learn more about the whole company and Costa Rica from a Tico’s perspective.

From weekly two-hour production unit team meetings to the smaller Skype meetings with United States colleagues in Maple Grove and Boston, keeping a schedule is of utmost importance. Attending these meetings are essential in keeping up to date with the production unit weekly focus points and important current events in the company. Also, I attended two company-wide conferences; Gender Equality in the Workplace and Women in STEM and BSC-X. At the former, Luis Javier Serrano, VP of Operations in Coyol and Alice Harding Shackelford, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Costa Rica spoke about important issues about equality in the workplace and in Costa Rican society. At the latter event, there were many speakers invited to speak about a variety of topics. Sherman Guity, a Costa Rican Paralympic Sprinter and the recent winner of the 100m and 200m at the Grand Prix in Switzerland, shared his life story, his journey from losing his leg in a motorcycle accident to becoming one of the fastest Paralympic athletes today. Diego Vargas, a magician shared his experience with Magicians Without Borders and his passion in spreading change and joy around with world with magic.

Every Friday, we have our clinical observations at Hospital Nacional de Niños in San José. Working with Dr. Cortez, the director of surgery, and Dr. Luis Diego Aguilar, we observed several different types of surgeries, including laparoscopic surgery and catheter replacement. Through these observations, we identify possible needs and provide insight for solutions.

After all the work during the week, we took weekend trips to explore other areas in Costa Rica. We visited our friend, Fernando’s bar in Orotina and played fútbol on their artificial turf pitch. I played with his parents’ three dogs, a parrot and a German Shepherd puppy. We spent the night at the bar, experiencing a slice of nightlife in Costa Rica. Unexpectedly, I woke up the next morning to a huge German shepherd guard dogs licking my face. The next day, we got breakfast, went to Jaco Beach to enjoy a morning on the beach and some of the best fish tacos. On other weekends, we took a day trip to the Irazú Volcano in Cartago and explored the Monteverde Cloud Forest. In Monteverde, all of us ziplined through the forest in Selvatura Adventure Park and walk along the hanging bridges. We stayed in the quaint nearby town of Santa Elena for a night, eating some of the best Costa Rican food at Sabor Tico and trying lots of coffee from local coffee shops. The coffee shops in Santa Elena, like Cafe Monteverde have amazing coffee and chocolate and I wish I could bring it back for my daily 3pm coffee breaks at work.

It’s halfway through our stay in Costa Rica and I’m looking forward to finishing my project at Boston Scientific and exploring more of Costa Rica. There are more beaches to visit, gallo pinto to eat for breakfast, and 3pm coffee breaks to come!

Eddie Yao, 2019-20 Cohort, MBE in Global Medical Innovation