The Catholic University of America

Wes Conn, Bachelar of Biomedical Engineering, 2010

Q: Current company name and title?

I current work in the Division of Surgical Devices at the The Food and Drug Administration as a biomedical engineer.

Q: What is your job like and what do you like about it?

For the most part, I am responsible for the pre-market review review of general surgery devices. This includes simple things like laparoscopic graspers, bone biopsy needles, and more complex devices like microwave and radio frequency cutting and coagulation equipment. My branch ( ~12 people) also reviews robotically assisted surgical devices, which includes devices like Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci surgical system. I have attended medical conferences, visited medical manufacturing facilities. In addition, I was able to participate in internal panels discussing hot button issues like the infection control of dueodenoscopes,

Q: What has been your most interesting project at the FDA?

I helped organize the recent FDA workshop on Robotically-Assisted Surgical Devices. The planning for the workshop, which was held this past July, began in September of 2014.  I worked with several colleagues to interview over forty leading researchers in the field. These interviews heavily influenced the planning of the workshop, and many of those interviewed were invited to speak. During the workshop, I organized the presentations and provided all the technical support to the speakers. With the knowledge gained from the preliminary research and interviews, finally meeting and talking to these great minds was an experience akin to meeting a group of hall of fame baseball players. The workshop was a great success, and was praised by many of those in attendance.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

I recently got married, so I am excited to being a family with my new wife, Sarah. I was accepted to the University of Tennessee Medical School (UTHSC) in Memphis and will start medical school in the fall of 2016. I will also be joining the Air Force through the Health Professions Scholarship Program.  They will pay for medical school and provide me with a living stipend. My hope is to make a career of military medicine. Regardless of the specialty I choose, I plan to use my education and experience as a biomedical engineer to provide better care for my patients and, if possible, continue to be active in medical device development.

Q: Any final thoughts?

I am extraordinarily proud to be a CUA alumni. I believe the ethos, location, and size of the school are what make it so unique. I want to thank the school as a whole, especially my professors, for providing me with the support and encouragement that I needed to get to this point. My only regret is that I didn't get to take more philosophy courses!

To all current and future students at CUA, be proud of your alma mater and Ora et Labora!