Technical Development Program (TDP) Engineer at Edwards Lifesciences

Jul 09, 2024
Technical Development Program (TDP) Engineer at Edwards Lifesciences

Roma Perez is a Technical Development Program (TDP) Engineer at Edwards Lifesciences. The program consists of four rotations, four to five months each, around various functions and business units of the company. A few high-level concepts from her past rotations include: test method development, product development and design, research and development, clinical trial enrollment and inclusivity, complaint system processes, corporate strategy and organizational change management, and cross-functional communication.

What is the highest degree you have earned and what can you tell us about your academic path?

I graduated in May 2023 from the University of Miami with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (BME) with a concentration in Biomaterials and Tissues. My academic path was primarily focused on academic research, as Miami is well-known as a research institution and is not as well-rooted in industry. My outlook on BME drastically changed when I was first introduced to the medtech industry with an internship at Edwards Lifesciences. Becoming a SMDP Scholar shortly after opened the door to a meaningful networking and learning experience. The program taught me about the expansiveness of the MedTech industry, importance of pitching yourself, and possibilities of innovation. When I returned from my internship at Edwards and SMDP experience, I carried a refreshed mindset with me into my university classes—more expansive, intentional, and action oriented.

Where do you work now and what is your company about?

Edwards Lifesciences is a global leader in structural heart disease innovations and medical device technologies. We have three business units that develop surgical and transcatheter heart valve repairment and replacement therapies, and a fourth business unit that focuses on novel heart disease spaces. Part of our credo, “Helping patients is our life’s work, and life is now,” is a driving statement for our whole company, and a passion that connects us all at work. I think this contributes to our uniqueness in the medtech industry.

How did you first learn about the company?

I had no previous knowledge of Edwards, or even other medical device companies, until I was put in contact with a UMiami Alum, Kimberly Overton, who was in the TDP rotational program. She described her experience at Edwards and what working in industry was like, and it peaked my interest. It was more fitting for me than academic research, and it was evident that Edwards aligned with my morals and could support my aspirations.

What do you like most about the company?

The people. The relationships and connections that I have built with my colleagues makes a significant difference in my work. I feel supported and challenged in my role, and that has been a necessary component to my growth. Working in a diverse space, designing with intention, and bringing attention to historically underrepresented communities is important to me. Fortunately, the MedTech industry has allowed me to do just this, while also being open to further development.

What skills make you successful in your role and why did you choose this role?

I believe that my curiosity, inquisitiveness, tenacity, creativity, hard work, sociableness, and passion to help patients has warranted my success as a TDP. I chose to apply for a TDP position because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to commit to doing in the beginning of my career. I also felt like I didn’t know enough about the product development process to decide where I wanted to be in the MedTech world. This rotational program has allowed me to test various roles and products in Edwards, which has given me a better sense of where I would like to start my career.

How do you define success?

For me, success is 1) ensuring that I’m not compromising my morals, 2) that I’m meeting my aspirations to help uplift those around me, especially those less fortunate, and 3) that I am following my passions while still being challenged and growing. I refrained from noting specific criteria, like money or status measures, because personally, I think they would bind me and make me lose sight of more important objectives.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

This goes back into our motto, “Patients First.” I directly see how I am impacting patients around me, and even how much more work we have to do to completely embody this idea. I am fortunate and grateful to be surrounded by such a strong and supportive community that makes these missions possible.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

1) Don’t be afraid to make a decision that is unconventional or difficult. There are many paths to get you to where you want to go, or to another path that can help you figure out where you want to go. There is no “correct” path, even if that path has worked for someone else. 2) Many doors will open for you. That doesn’t mean you should take all of them, but at least review them. 3) Consider listening to your heart more. It is often loses to the head, but it deserves to be heard.

What book did you read last?

I am about to finish two books now, “How Women Rise,” by Marshall Goldsmith and and Sally Helgesen, and “Why Buddhism Is True,” by Robert Wright. Both are research/science based. The first has provided me with insight into behaviors of women, and how to exceed in the corporate world as a woman. The second has brought more context to the philosophy and origins of Buddhism, and how their practices, like mindfulness and meditation, have been shown scientifically to have impacts on mental, physical, and social health. Both of these books have helped me work towards being a more grounded and confident person, and I’ve really enjoyed my learnings and growth along the way. I know that the educational system often turns people away from reading, but I recommend everyone to give reading another chance. There’s something out there for everyone!