The AEMB Mentoring for INnovative Design Solutions (MINDS) Scholar
Program is an innovative approach that provides
students with the opportunity to collaborate and network with peers and
mentors across the country, while building necessary engineering design skills, including 3 key
considerations that are not usually stressed in coursework projects.
The 3 key considerations are
(1) market considerations for
commercialization (unmet need, size of market, reimbursement potential,
(2) regulatory strategy
prospects for intellectual property protection.
MINDS Scholars enhance
their knowledge of product design, and
learn how to effectively communicate with teammates and mentors who are
from other schools and organizations using collaborative online
tools, which are becoming an increasingly important skill in today’s work environment. Participation in the MINDS
Scholar Program is through a competitive application process that takes
place annually July- September
(click here for application). Students need not be AEMB members to
participate. Ideally, you should apply
when you are a sophomore or a junior so that you get the most out of
How does the MINDS Scholar Program work if I am selected to participate? What will I have to do?
annual MINDS Scholar Program starts with a 2-hour workshop at the
BMES conference, where students meet their groups and mentors, and
create an action plan for their participation in the
program with a central design idea. Each group will be
of approximately 3-4 students and one primary mentor. AEMB provides
travel stipends to all MINDS scholars to
attend the initial workshop (up to $600), funded by the National
Science Foundation. After the initial in-person meeting,
teams and mentors continue to communicate and work
together remotely over the span of five months, refining their idea
and acquiring new knowledge about key design
considerations. Scholars will have access to hand-picked subject matter
mentors with specialized knowledge in areas
such as market evaluation, patenting devices, protecting intellectual
property, determining regulatory requirements, preclinical trial
establishing quality controls. AEMB will support Scholars during
the program with additional online resources on the five design
considerations, as well as sharing potential outside opportunities
including design contests,
investment opportunities and grant programs. At the end of the program,
each team will have a refined product
design (virtual or real), and will create a written or video
promotion for their product. What are the benefits of participating in the MINDS Scholar Program?
As a MINDS Scholar, you will be able to network with peers and experts,
and learn valuable engineering design skills and
abilities that are attractive to future employers. AEMB will
provide a $600 stipend for MINDS Scholars to attend the initial
workshop. At the end of the MINDS Scholar Program, you will
receive an official certificate of completion, and your name will be
added to our MINDS Scholar list on the AEMB webpage. And who knows,
maybe you will end up sharing your promotion
materials with potential investors and marketing your product!!
Additionally, if you are interested in giving back, you will be able to
participate in future MINDS program activities by mentoring new
Scholars. What did past Scholars get out of this program?
You can read more about past MINDS Scholars, mentors, and their projects at our MINDS Scholars Recognition Page
previous cohorts of the MINDS Scholar program, team members
communicated with industry experts and entrepreneurs from start-up companies,
technology transfer offices, and established medical device companies.
These MINDS Scholars indicated that they gained experience working with
different universities and using different collaboration and communication tools. They also
felt they acquired important insight into the value of intellectual
property management and its challenges, FDA & ethics approval and
market considerations, and their understanding of the thought process
from invention to market. A majority of students in past cohorts agreed
or highly agreed that the MINDS program had improved their ability to
be part of collaborative projects
between institutions and provided them with tools to collaborate more
successfully, as well as improved their teamwork skills.Many also indicated that it had impacted
their career goals, making them more likely to engage in careers that
involved actual product
development and entrepreneurship. Scholars reported being more aware of
practical barriers in design, and how to handle
collaborative projects. Here are some sample comments from past MINDS
“All of the talks we were a
part of can be devolved into three questions every engineer should ask
they make a commitment to a product’s development: Can it be done? Can it be sold? Can it get approval?
If any of these questions give you pause you should assess your current position and rethink the path you will take.
This program has given me enough tools to plan on attacking these questions before I ask them.”
“The MINDS program has been an amazing experience. The new experiences and lessons learned outside the classroom
setting have included how to work with someone across a state line, learning how to match up each other schedules, and
hearing professionals talk about the importance of the design process in their jobs and career paths.
Particularly insightful was hearing how the professionals come up with ideas and brainstorm.”
“I enjoyed the freedom associated with the project and the knowledge I was able to gain by doing research on my own.
If I was not involved in this project, I would have not pushed myself to read as many scientific papers or explore the
development process as in depth as I did. Further, I was able to apply concepts from my current classes to our
project and thus was able to practice out-of-class applications, solidifying my knowledge of material I needed
for courses integral to my major.”
“I enjoyed the aspect of having a mentor and the whole concept of working remotely. I think it is important we had
someone to discuss our ideas with, as well as it has the potential to create a meaningful and lasting relationship.
Also, the strictly online meetings were good exposure and experience to working remotely with a
team on technical projects.”
“I'd like to thank the committee members and coordinators of the program for providing me the opportunity
to meet and work with people from all across the country. It has widened my perspective and given me
insight on the challenges I have to overcome in order to become a better engineer.”
Are you the next MINDS Scholar? We sure hope so and we hope to review your application soon!Click here to apply!