On February 11, we celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This important observance, established by the United Nations General Assembly, aims to recognize women's and girls' critical role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and to promote full and equal participation. It is a day to honor their achievements and inspire the next generation of women in STEM.
At Ortho Development, science and technology are fundamental to our products and achievements. We proudly recognize the "Women in Science" on our team, who lead and contribute to impactful solutions in orthopedics.
Today, we highlight three of these remarkable women: Kirstin Widding, Vice President of Marketing; Patty Parish, Quality Systems Manager/Principal Microbiologist; and Susanne Sealy, Director of Knee Product Development.
Read about their passion for their work, why they believe women's involvement in science is important, and their advice for women and girls interested in pursuing careers in science.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT ODEV?
KIRSTIN WIDDING: "Working in orthopedics is more than just my job; it's been my passion for over 25 years. At ODEV, our purpose is to help people do what they love by restoring mobility. As the VP of Marketing at Ortho Development, I have the privilege of playing a lead role on a cross-functional team that brings products to life from conception to commercialization. My engineering background enables me to comprehend and contribute at a technical level and translate opportunities into understandable solutions that help my team, surgeons, medical device distributors and patients. I also enjoy working closely with surgeons and sales distributors whom I hold in the highest regard and learn from every day."
PATTY PARISH: “ODEV has offered me some unique opportunities. I continue to learn daily from working with an amazing group of individuals. The ability to work with everyone from quality to manufacturing and engineering has allowed me to see many different parts of the process required to bring a new product to the market. Each product has unique challenges, and we work together as a team to face those challenges."
SUSANNE SEALY: “I love working to solve problems and make lives better with our teams at Ortho Development. We really do help people do what they love with our products! And it’s a fun challenge to develop high-quality knee replacement systems to get patients back to living life again.”
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IT'S IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN TO BE INVOLVED IN SCIENCE, AND WHAT DOES BEING A WOMAN IN SCIENCE MEAN TO YOU?
KIRSTIN WIDDING: "Gender diversity is important in every field and institution, as it brings a variety of perspectives and experiences, ultimately leading to greater success and innovative solutions."
PATTY PARISH: "It means I was able to choose my career path, unlike my mother, where few of her generation went to college, and much less went into a scientific career. I'm happy I was able to choose a career that would be challenging yet interesting for me. Science is ever-changing, and that's why I enjoy it."
SUSANNE SEALY: "Every person has a different perspective. If everyone is thinking the same, solutions come slower or not at all. And it's not just about being a woman or any other sort of label. Each person on the team has something to offer, and we should proactively work to hear their voices and ideas."
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE OR ENCOURAGEMENT FOR WOMEN OR GIRLS INTERESTED IN PURSUING A CAREER IN SCIENCE?
KIRSTIN WIDDING: “Having a science background can open doors in your career and in life. Having a solid technical background and combining it with something like marketing provides unique opportunities. You can be involved in the full loop: identification of product or service need, development, promotion and then the feedback portion, which can lead to the next innovation. You also have a tremendous opportunity to inspire other women and girls to pursue fulfilling STEM careers. You will be part of an incredibly supportive and empowering community. Women are underrepresented in science - let’s change that!”
PATTY PARISH: “To any young girl or woman who enjoys a challenge and loves to ask questions, science is the perfect career for you. You need to be able to follow many different types of government regulations in the bulk of scientific-related industries. That is something few of us learned in school. You will also need good communication skills. The ability to communicate well with others, especially in writing, will be extremely helpful. There are so many opportunities now available to everyone, no matter their gender. You can be anything you choose to be.”
SUSANNE SEALY: “1) Science careers are fun because there is always a new challenge to solve. Those challenges come in different ways, but if you work to find solutions for whatever problem comes your way, you’ll succeed in any career you choose. 2) Be on the lookout for mentors and sponsors who want to help you succeed. They may be from organizations like the Society of Women Engineers or anywhere else in your network. It doesn’t have to be formal for it to be helpful. And, soon enough, you will be able to encourage others in science and wherever you go as well! 3) As a woman in science (or anyone really), don’t expect a seat at the table just because of what you are; expect it because of what you DO and what you can GIVE towards the end goal.”