M4 Lab experience equips graduate for industry
Maggie Lashutka, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering, spent her undergraduate career learning as much as possible in numerous research labs at The Ohio State University. After working in five different labs over four and a half years, she graduated and recently started a position at Ricoh USA, a multinational imaging and electronics company.
When coming to Ohio State, Lashutka chose to study biological engineering because she was able to learn about both biomedical engineering and environmental engineering, with a specific interest in prosthetic development and sustainability.
Lashutka joined the Medical Modeling, Materials, and Manufacturing Lab (M4 Lab) within the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) in 2021. In the M4 Lab, she worked on creating surgical models. The M4 Lab works with surgeons to create 3D prints of a patient’s anatomy for better visualization, presurgical planning and intrasurgical support. Patient imaging and MRI scans undergo a process of segmentation where the patient's anatomy is created in a 3D file. The file then is 3D printed, processed and sterilized for handling during surgery.
The M4 Lab works closely with surgeons in the Department of Otolaryngology, with most of their models being used in complex head and neck procedures. Lashutka worked hands-on in the creation of the files and running of the 3D printer to ensure that a quality product was provided to clinicians to prepare for complex procedures. She received professional guidance collaborating with the other innovators working in the M4 Lab, which made her feel very encouraged to eventually pursue a PhD.
“Student employees in the M4 Lab get hands-on experience creating devices at the point-of-care for actual patients and clinicians here at Ohio State,” said Megan Malara, director of the M4 Lab. "Maggie has developed the skills and comfortability to make a progressive transition to the workforce post-graduation by using the same software and hardware she will find out in industry.”
Lashutka said working at the M4 Lab and utilizing her connection with Malara was one of the main reasons she was ready for her career at Ricoh.
Last summer, Lashutka received a research fellowship at Harvard University. There, she designed and developed a nozzle for a 3D bioprinter that would enable the user to print multiple types of living cells at the same time. Through this experience, she gained leadership skills and learned how to independently work in research. Working in the Lewis Lab at Harvard allowed her to design her own experiments, giving her an idea of what obtaining a PhD would be like.
As Lashutka begins her career at Ricoh, she encourages students at Ohio State to reach out to her if they have any questions regarding career advice, a resume review or any other questions.
“I would advise college students to always apply for a job you want, even if you don't necessarily meet the qualifications,” said Lashutka. “If you're interviewing for a job and they ask you about a skill or topic you don't know about, it's okay to say that you aren't familiar with it but would be interested in learning about it. It shows that you're always willing to learn how to do new things, which will inevitably come up in the engineering field.”
Ways to connect with Maggie Lashutka:
By: Evahanna Cruz, CDME Marketing and Communications Student Assistant