Things I’ve learned from 10 years in industry

Friday, October 14, 2016 - 1:25pm - 2:25pm
Lind 305
Viktoria Averina (Boston Scientific)
A collage of stories and lessons from working in biomedical research on implantable cardiac devices and why I found it more rewarding than the academic career option.

About the speaker:
I was born in Russia into a family and in fact a whole city of scientists. I remember deciding to be a teacher when I was 7. My life seem to have zigzagged between science and teaching ever since. After graduation with a BS in math and physics education in 2000, a random turn of events landed me in the middle of freakishly cold nowhere, aka University of Alaska Fairbanks. I earned MS in pure mathematics there and moved on to a 9-month stint in Knox College Illinois as a visiting instructor of mathematics. Despite my disappointments with the realities of teaching, I continued my pursuit of the academic career path and entered the Applied Math PhD program at University of Minnesota in 2003. As part of exploring the “applied” side of the program and in search of the problem for the dissertation, I found an industrial internship at Guidant (now Boston Scientific). From day one, I was captivated by how many unsolved mysteries our bodies and diseases hold. The experiences of that three-month internship have shifted my career path from academy to industry. And the decision to accept full-time research scientist position while still in school has transformed my life to rewarding but at many times hellish ride.

Now, 10 years post that decision, I am a principal research scientist at Boston Scientific who authored dozens of patents and, more rewardingly, many features that are enabled in thousands of implantable devices across the world, helping people live better and longer lives. I have also earned my PhD in applied math with cardiovascular physiology minor and, surprisingly, with most of my psyche still intact. Ironically, I am back to teaching again in small doses, when transferring research knowledge to our marketing and sales forces