Arthrex and UF Help Lay Foundation for More Diversity in Engineering


Innovation thrives in diverse settings where ideas are welcomed, varied and exploratory.

The University of Florida (UF) created the Successful Transition and Enhanced Preparation for Undergraduates Program (STEPUP) for that reason. The six-week program helps incoming first-year students who are underrepresented in engineering prepare for college. Throughout the curriculum, students participate in team building activities and experiential learning, hear from faculty, industry and student panels and go on corporate tours, which is what brought the group to Arthrex.

On August 2, the class of about 50 STEPUP students in the summer session heard from a variety of Arthrex employees, representing the multiple types of engineering within Arthrex, as well as research and development, product management and medical device representation.

xrayAs incoming college freshmen, many of the STEPUP students know that they’re interested in engineering, but may not know how many unique opportunities there are in the field. During the presentation, DEX Senior Product Development Engineer Stephanie Bare, AMIE Director of Operations Teri Oberbreckling, Packaging Engineering Supervisor Mark Hill and Quality Engineer II Kody Young spoke to the group about design engineering, manufacturing engineering, packaging engineering and quality engineering and the differences and intersections between them.

One student said that before visiting Arthrex, he didn’t even realize some of these areas of expertise within engineering existed. Many STEPUP students are the first of their families to attend college, making the real-world experience and rigorous curriculum offered by the program that much more important in setting the students up for success.

The students were extremely curious and asked Arthrex team members several questions, including: the average length of engineering projects, whether Arthrex considers different patient morphologies when designing products and the role of automation at Arthrex now and looking forward.

“Arthrex is always looking for young, energetic talent to join our team—whether it be through an internship or full-time position—and provide fresh ideas to our cutting edge industry,” said Recruiter Alyssa McCoy, who hopes the students left inspired to look for opportunities at Arthrex in the future.

Arthrex employees have collaborated with the University of Florida in the past through career fairs and student programs similar to STEPUP. The goal being to expose students to the various opportunities Arthrex has to offer.


Several Arthrex employees earned their bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees from the University of Florida, including Orthobiologics Research & Development Supervisor Andrea Matuska, who received her PhD from UF in the biomedical engineering (BME) program.

“One thing that was unique about UF’s BME program was the co-localization with the college of medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and the hospital,” said Andrea. “This allows for a lot of collaboration on both coursework and research based projects. BME is such an interdisciplinary field, so this was extremely useful.”

The university’s approach to collaborative, hands-on learning is the same sort of valuable experience that Teri recommended the students get as soon as possible.

“It’s important to learn everything you can so that you know you’re going into what you love,” said Teri.

STEPUP Program Director Stephen E. Roberts said that the students really enjoyed their time at Arthrex and already asked if he can bring next year’s group onsite.


Category: Arthrex News