#UDreamitDoit: Part-time athlete/engineer interns at The Perry Initiative

Amira Idris, a University of Delaware senior, majors in biomedical engineering and double minors in bioelectrical and biomechanical engineering. Idris runs Track and Field at UD and this summer, she had the opportunity to intern with The Perriy Initiative at UD.

We were interested to learn more about Amira’s experience and sat down with her to ask a few questions. Read our interview below:


Sport you play at the University of Delaware: Track and Field

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Minors: Bioelectrical Engineering and Biomechanical Engineering

Where did you intern? The Perry Initiative at the University of Delaware

How did you hear about your internship? Briefly explain the interview process, as well.

Michele Schwander, an adviser in the Biomedical Engineering Department, sent out an email about a paid internship opportunity with The Perry Initiative, and was funded by the UD Office of Service Learning. Interested students were told to send a cover letter and resume to Dr. Jenni Buckley, a professor in the mechanical engineering department, and the co-founder of The Perry Initiative.

I sent in my cover letter and resume and interviewed with Dr. Buckley.  During the interview, I learned about The Perry Initiative and its goal to encourage young girls to purse a career in engineering and orthopedic medicine. The interview consisted of questions about my interest in the position, what the job entailed, my strengths and weaknesses, and what I hoped to learn.

What were a few of your responsibilities as an intern?perry-initiative-logo

As interns, Manuela Restrepo, the other intern, and I, were tasked with creating an inexpensive Knee Arthroscopic Surgery Simulator, which was a continuation of our biomedical engineering junior design project that was sponsored by The Perry Initiative. We spent the months of June and July designing the prototype and assisting with other jobs such as holding one day Perry workshops, holding a three day educational teacher workshop, holding a power tools workshop for an engineering camp, filling spreadsheets, attending meetings and learning how a nonprofit organization worked.

What was your favorite thing (or something unexpected) that happened during your internship?

 Apart from building the simulator, which was fun and allowed me to used the skills I had gained as a engineering student; I have to say my favorite part of the internship was traveling with Dr. Buckley and Manuela to Washington State and California to hold Perry Initiative workshops!

The longest trip was 18 days in California where we launch the pilot program for the simulator. This was a great experience because I had never been to California before, and this internship gave me the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Sacramento.  During these trips I was able to meet and network with top women and men surgeons, engineers, and mangers of renowned medical device companies like Stryker and Acumend. This trip also gave me the opportunity to shadow the other co-founder, Dr. Lisa Lattanza, an orthopedic surgeon, in the operating room at Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento, CA.

As a student athlete, what is one thing you can take away from your internship and apply to your classes and/or in your sport here at the University of Delaware?

One thing I took away from my internship that I am able to apply in my classes, my sport, and even in my life, is to not be afraid to take risks and try new things or challenge myself. I have learned from my internship that I am capable of overcoming new challenges when I am opened to new experiences.

Any words of wisdom for other students who may be interested in pursuing this or a similar internship?

If you are currently seeking an internship and don’t really know where to start, I suggest frequently checking emails, especially emails from career services and other departments. Also make sure you keep in contact with the people that makeup your network, you will need their assistance someday.

Any additional words of career wisdom that you would like to share?

Be patient. If at first you don’t succeed, and you know you love what you do, keep trying and eventually you will be give the chance to do what you love to do.


Keri Betters

Social Media Marketing Intern

University of Delaware Career Services

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