Participant Stories

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Our Summer Internship and Co-op Programs—Participant Perspectives

We could describe all the virtues of our Summer Internship and Co-op programs, but we would rather you hear from people who have experienced them. Here are two stories.

Keeleana Peck, Manufacturing Engineering Co-op, Sylmar, California

Keeleana’s relationship with St. Jude Medical began at school—California Polytechnic State University. St. Jude Medical partners with Cal Poly in a program that provides engineering students with projects and resources. Keeleana, a biomedical engineering student, welcomed the chance to work on problems facing the medical device industry.

The company jumped to the top of her list when she was looking for opportunities. She landed a six-month manufacturing engineering co-op position at our location in Sylmar, California, where employees make implantable cardiac devices.

“I’m learning a lot about federal regulation, technical writing, CAD drafting, machining, equipment and software used in the industry, and, of course, St. Jude Medical and our products,” she said. 

But the value of her experience is not simply technical: “I’m learning about how to balance multiple projects, host meetings and contact members of the company all over the world. Those are the things you really don’t learn in school.”

Keeleana notes that she is doing meaningful work that utilizes her talents. “I am literally the expert on some things in the company now,” she explained. “It’s pretty awesome.”

She added, “It inspires me to know that the company notices their co-ops and gives us the skills to secure a full-time job.

“After my co-op is over, I am returning to Cal Poly to finish my degree. Being at St. Jude Medical really helped to solidify what I want to do and what I want to focus on.” 


Robert Kretschmar, Summer Intern, Plano, Texas

A class project using one of our heart valves introduced Robert to St. Jude Medical and our mission. He liked what he saw. He spent a summer between his junior and senior years at Georgia Tech learning about post-market surveillance as an intern at our facility in Plano, Texas. In addition, he spent a month working with the supply chain.

“I’ve been pretty lucky so far; I’ve seen firsthand a lot of the processes that go into product development,” he said. 

As part of the internship experience, he also met experts and people who were using our products. He noted, “Even as an intern, I felt like I was part of something huge.”

Robert moved on to our Quality Engineering Rotation Program, continuing his education at our facility in Plymouth, Minnesota. “It’s almost like it’s an extra three years of college training while still being on the job,” he said. Quality engineering is not offered as an undergraduate course, so Robert values the opportunity to get hands-on and learn the whole system. “It’s been fantastic so far,” he said.

His desire to return to St. Jude Medical after graduation was influenced by his internship experience and especially by the young people he met in Plano. “They loved the company so much,” he explained. “I liked the idea of working for a company where the people are really excited about what they do and the company they work for.”