School of Engineering News


February 18, 2021


Autocam Medical was founded by John Kennedy, past Chairperson of the Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Board of Trustees, and has been a long-time supporter of the GVSU Seymour & Esther Padnos College of Engineering & Computing (PCEC). This year, two outstanding engineering students, Jenna Doyle and Patrick Schwab, were selected by Autocam Medical as scholarship recipients and given the opportunity to complete their industry-sponsored co-op placements with the medical device manufacturing company. Below, Jenna and Patrick share their paths to GVSU and plans for the future.

Jenna Doyle is a Biomedical Engineering student from Troy, Michigan. Jenna was always drawn to, and excelled in, math and science classes, and enjoyed problem solving. “When I first began to look into what I might possibly want to pursue as a career, I explored the medical field,” said Jenna. “However, when I would read articles about technological advances in the medical world, I found I was drawn more to the development of the technologies and the jobs of biomedical engineers.” Jenna is also a high jumper on the GVSU Division II Track and Field team.

Patrick Schwab is a Product Design and Manufacturing student with a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Following high school, Patrick attended the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, where he lived for 8 years. Currently, Patrick works as a Lab Engineer at the GVSU applied Medical Device Institute (aMDI). “When I was growing up, I had an interest in gadgets and wanted to be an inventor,” shared Patrick.  “The term ‘engineer’ can be used to describe such a wide array of professions, that I did not really understand the fields of engineering or how they might align with my interests. When I attended the University of Montana, I wasn’t ready to commit to a bachelor’s program, so I chose a 2-year program in computer-aided design because I knew computer drafting was a tool used by inventors. The certificate led me to a job as a drafter, where I learned that engineering was a field that I wanted to be involved in.”

Jenna and Patrick were both drawn to GVSU by the unique program offerings. “Grand Valley had everything I was looking for in a university,” explained Jenna. “First and foremost, GVSU has a biomedical engineering program, which is the major I was looking to pursue. Grand Valley also has an amazing Track and Field program that I had the opportunity to join. I also felt that Grand Valley was the best of both worlds in the sense that it is a large university but has small classes, so it is possible to get to know and receive 1-on-1 attention from professors.” When Patrick decided to return to school for a bachelor’s degree, he sought out universities that offered degrees in product development. He was surprised to find how few universities offered the degree and discovered that GVSU’s Product Design and Manufacturing Engineering program was near the top of the list. “When I began to take a deeper look into GVSU, some of the things that stood out were the projects, co-op rotations, and student-focused approach. I was also excited to see that GVSU offered a minor in Biomedical Engineering,” said Patrick. “I also saw West Michigan as an awesome location to enjoy the outdoors and have ample opportunity for a successful career following graduation.”

“I have had a great experience with the PCEC Engineering program,” shared Jenna. “I come from a family of engineers, so I knew that engineering classes were going to be difficult, but I have really enjoyed and excelled in my engineering prerequisites so far in my academic career.” Patrick has also been pleased with his experience in the GVSU engineering program so far. “I have been really happy with the education I am part of and I think it is great that all participants in the engineering program gain a foundational education in core engineering principles,” he said. “An engineer must be versatile and able to leverage science or technology to create solutions. I have most enjoyed collaborating with my peers working on projects and labs.” Patrick has also grown as a professional through his employment at GVSU. “Before my first semester even started, I went to the GVSU machine shop and asked for a job. I worked in the machine shop for the entire year and was able to improve my fabrication skills by assisting students and faculty with projects,” shared Patrick. “I used the lean manufacturing principles I had learned previously to make improvements in the workshop. It was great to have the freedom to experiment without the constraints of deadlines and budgets.” Now, as a Lab Engineer at aMDI, Patrick manufacturers medical device parts using the Carbon Additive Manufacturing System. “Working at aMDI has been a very great and unique opportunity,” Patrick said. “Additive manufacturing is a rapidly growing industry that is disrupting the way manufacturers operate. It has been really interesting to work with state-of-the-art equipment in this field. I have been very pleased with the amount of trust the aMDI leadership team has in their student workers and the ability to participate in and lead impactful projects.” Both Patrick and Jenna plan to pursue a master’s degree in the future.

The Autocam Medical Scholarship has made a significant positive impact on both students. “When I found out I had received the scholarship, I was ecstatic,” explained Jenna. “This scholarship would significantly relieve the financial burden of getting my undergraduate degree. I am very grateful to my professors for encouraging me to apply for the scholarship and also grateful that Autocam Medical believes in the power of educating the next generation of engineers and helps students by offering this scholarship.” Patrick was also ecstatic when he received the good news about his scholarship. “I was finishing a challenging summer course and was losing steam when I got the news,” he said. “It provided me with a spark that I still carry today.”

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Page last modified February 18, 2021