Spring 2022 Outstanding Graduate: Amy Turnland
She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age. Ever since, she has dealt with many different types of medical devices to manage this disease. Devices, like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), have significantly improved quality of life for diabetics, like her, around the world. However, having lived with diabetes for 18 years, she knows that there is more that can be done to ease the common burdens of integrating various medical devices in a diabetic’s lifestyle. She chose to study mechanical engineering with an emphasis in bioengineering at San Diego State University (SDSU) to help develop new technologies to help others manage their chronic disease, which will further ease the cognitive burden the chronic disease may hold.At SDSU, she participates in clubs, student research, and internships to gain a well-rounded view of the work it takes to create and improve medical devices. She is an aerodynamics and composites lead in the Formula SAE collegiate competition club, Aztec Racing, where she leads composite layups and simulates airflow through the proposed car design. She is further involved in campus research which focuses on breast cancer epithelial cell signaling pathways, aiding graduate students with wet lab work, writing, and presenting findings at student research symposiums. She carried her biological lab experience to her current internship position at Tandem Diabetes Care as a systems engineer. Tandem is a leading diabetes company working to create closed-loop automated insulin delivery systems that integrate insulin pumps with CGMs. She has the unique experience of using Tandem’s product while offering design input to better help diabetes management. In her last semester, she has been able to apply her design experience in a manufacturing setting as a project manager for her senior design team. Her team is partnered with Dexcom, a leading biomedical device company that designs, manufactures, and supplies CGMs. Her team created a new reusable tray made of recyclable plastic to replace their single-use cardboard tray and increase their product’s sustainability. After she graduates, she will continue to work as a full-time systems engineer at Tandem working on developing new insulin pumps and features. As she continues her career, she hopes to leverage personal and professional experience to lead a team to develop innovative solutions to help others living with diabetes and redefine what it means to have diabetes.