Our Summer 2024 NextGen Cohort starts June 3rd.

Summer 2023 NextGen Cohort

This was Hardware Park's inaugural NextGen Cohort. The students created medical device prototypes over a two week period with help from Push Product Design.
Cohort Size
8 Students
Cohort Date
July 2023
Cohort Project
Various Medical Devices
Duration
2 Weeks, 8am - 5pm

Reflecting on the first NextGen cohort at Hardware Park

In 2023, Hardware Park in Birmingham launched the MedTech Device Experience to introduce local high school students to medical engineering. The two-week program provided hands-on training in designing and prototyping medical devices. Eight students from Birmingham metro high schools were selected to be in the cohort.

  • Jeremy Harper (Ramsay)
  • Enoch Booher (Vestavia)
  • Brooks Denson (Homewood)
  • Caren Smith (Woodlawn)
  • Joseph Drake (Carver)
  • Matthew Eligwe (Hoover)
  • Molly Elmore (Vestavia)
  • Isaiah Williams-Scott (Restoration Academy)

Program Highlights

Guided by experienced leaders like Mark Conner, the former director of engineering at Hoover High School, and Lloyd Cooper of Push Product Design, students were exposed to real-world challenges in medical engineering. A standout lesson of the program was to focus on creating designs with empathy and innovation. One touching project involved redesigning an IV pole to resemble a tree, making medical devices less intimidating and more comforting for young patients. This idea, envisioned by a student, transforms the sterile image of medical equipment into something warm and inviting.

The first NextGen cohort not only taught technical skills but also fostered an environment where students from various backgrounds collaborated, bringing diverse perspectives to their designs.

The success of the program highlighted Birmingham’s role as a burgeoning hub for medical research and innovation. As NextGen students develop prototypes that could revolutionize patient care, Hardware Park is setting a new standard for educational excellence in engineering.

Quote

The instructors taught us that if we change one variable or one thought process and critically think about your goals, you’ll see how monumentally different the final product can turn out.” - Caren Smith

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