At Tandem, the internship program isn't about coffee runs or paper pushing. It's a hands-on experience working with some of the brightest minds in type 1 diabetes management. Just ask Amy Turnlund and Peter Briggs, who both interned last summer and have since become full-time employees.
SDSU’S SPRING 2022 OUTSTANDING GRADUATE JOINS TANDEM
Systems Engineer Amy Turnlund was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4. She’s had to use different types of medical devices to manage her T1D, including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensors.
Her personal experience became a professional passion. Amy pursued mechanical engineering with an emphasis in bioengineering at San Diego State University (SDSU) to help develop new technologies that would help change people’s lives.
“I wanted to make a difference,” Amy said. “For people with diabetes like me, I wanted to do something about it and not sit by and do nothing.”
She did so much that she received the school’s Spring 2022 Outstanding Graduate Award. Among her many accomplishments, she:
- Was the aerodynamics and composites lead for a collegiate competition
- Aided graduate students in campus research on breast cancer epithelial cell signaling pathways
- Served as a project manager on her senior design team to develop a reusable tray for Dexcom CGMs to increase sustainability
“I've done a lot at school,” Amy said. “I can really look back and appreciate that I put a lot of hard work into my degree and I'm very proud of it.”
As someone living with type 1 diabetes, Amy appreciates how much time and effort all the employees at Tandem put into the products. Her internship experience included a group project across multiple teams, where she was able to bring prototypes to life using 3D printing.
“This is why I went into engineering,” Amy said. “I wanted to make an impact in the diabetes world.”
Amy now works on the integration and verification of the t:connect mobile app with the t:slim X2 insulin pump.
Both Amy and Peter live with type 1 diabetes and are excited to make a difference at Tandem.
A MOVE FROM KENTUCKY TO CALIFORNIA FOR TANDEM
Peter Briggs graduated from the University of Kentucky in May with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also lives with T1D, and playfully referred to Amy as the “chief intern” during their time together.
“I had to use pumps pretty much all my life,” Peter said. “So, I was looking for the next step and I wanted to make an impact with the skills I had built up in school.”
Tandem was high on his list of places he wanted to work. Peter was persistent and found a University of Kentucky alumnus who helped to connect him with the internship program.
Peter knew it was a big step moving to California from Kentucky, but he also recognized that if Tandem was the right fit, his internship could grow into a full-time opportunity.
During his internship, he had an opportunity to interact with employees from the mechanical, electrical, embedded software, algorithm development, quality, and regulatory departments. He appreciates that Tandem encourages people to ask questions and that the team members are kind and responsive.
“Systems engineering is very broad and you interact with all different pieces of the research and development process,” he said. “... I definitely felt like I wasn’t treated like a typical intern. Some of the tropes of an intern are that you get the coffee and you do the worst tasks. But I was doing work that was going to be really important for making sure our product was reliable and safe. There was an inherent trust from my boss that I think led me to perform.”
Peter is passionate about how the software algorithms interact with the pump and the user. He now works as a full-time Systems Engineer with Tandem.
Thank you, Amy and Peter, for sharing your stories and for your work in helping people better manage their diabetes.
Our summer intern job openings will be posted to our Careers page in early 2023. If you're interested in joining the Tandem internship program, please visit tandemdiabetes.com/internship.