Santiana Jean-Baptiste

Santiana Jean-Baptiste

Engineering Lead, CQV
Santiana Jean-Baptiste
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
The engineers who take the time to respond to student questions on this forum are often very busy and may not respond to some questions, particularly those that have been answered elsewhere. Please be sure to review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)

Contact Info

Santiana Jean-Baptiste’s unparalleled quest and determination to live the “promised” life was seeded at an early age. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Santiana’s mother sent her and her siblings to live in the United States where she believed was the land of golden opportunity. Unbeknown to her mother, their lives as immigrants were severely impacted by the reality of living in a poverty stricken, high crime, and underserved community in Miami, Florida, where she and her three siblings were raised, after reuniting with their mother. Despite their impoverished upbringing, Santiana displayed a steadfast will to persevere. Upon graduation from high school at the age of 17, she moved to Tampa, Florida to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer. Her dreams came true as she later graduated from the University of South Florida, as a first generation college graduate, with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering, Minor in Biomedical Engineering. Ms. Jean-Baptiste has a total of 8+ years working knowledge in the medical device industry; she is expanding her expertise in the Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical Industry, as she is currently an Engineering Lead Consultant for a Biotech Company in Oregon. Santiana continues to inspire and motivate young adults to succeed despite life’s challenges. She is currently working on her first Creative Nonfiction project, a memoir, based on a 'Haitian woman's journey to become an Engineer in America'.

Answers by Santiana Jean-Baptiste

Congratulations to you Krissi! 

Biomedical and Chemical Engineering are two wonderful fields to pursue a career with longevity and promise.  If you are looking to diversify your expertise, seeking a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering will definitely set you apart.  Additionally, your career path will be limitless as you will be more marketable to prospective employers.  Please note, however, it’s all based on the effort you put in to actually interning/Co-Oping while in College.  You must gain experience so that you have a very good understanding of how industry work life feels to you, not to mention, this will give you more awareness on your overall career vision as you complete your studies.  For example, I received my undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and took Masters level courses in Biomedical Engineering.  I was involved with organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).  By engaging in these organizations I went to conferences which allowed me to network and meet people who were recruiting for Summer Internships and Co-Ops.  Once you begin working in Corporate America you will find a vast majority of options as to how you can apply your expertise to leverage your success.  I was able to leverage the experience that I had accumulated while in College which helped me pinpoint the type of industry I wanted to apply to, in effort to land my first job right out of college.  Thankfully, all the hard work was worth it, as I received a job offer soon after graduating.

Krissi, I can tell, you are already a success.  Your drive and determination exudes as you take initiative to reach out.  Remember to continue to ask these types of questions wherever you go.  I’m so very proud of you, Krissi!  Keep up the outstanding work. I’m rooting for you!

Santiana JB 

Hello Dabeera,
First CONGRATULATIONS on obtaining your degree in Biomedical Engineering, this is a significant milestone.  As a female Biomedical Engineer, your worth is priceless.  During your interview, you will want to focus on your strengths as a problem solver, and describe your approach to solving problems, in your case, make it specific to the Pharma Industry.  
For example, there are different systems that are used in the Pharma/BioPharma industry.  These systems include, but are not limited to Clean In Place Skids, Steam In Place, Fillers, etc.  Many times as an entry Engineer your job can span from being in Research & Development where you are conducting research to establish requirements for new products and/or systems.  On the other hand, there is also Validation Engineering, in this area your job will be to validate an entire manufacturing process to consistently and efficiently produce a product using these systems (previously mentioned) which will in turn render product that are safe and effective for the end user. In essence it is imperative that you become the subject matter expert for this particular process/product(s).  
I strongly suggest you research the different systems that are used to manufacture products in the Pharma industry, especially the company you are interviewing for.  Visit their website and look up their product offering.  Do some research on: how these products are manufactured? What are they used for?  Who are the end users (Doctors, Patients, Nurses, etc)?
Also, be able to communicate your interpersonal skills as it pertains to working in a team, communicating effectively and even strengths in writing.
Not only will this impress the interviewers, it will also demonstrate how smart you are, your eagerness to learn, and that you are motivated/a self-starter, which are all vital attributes to have in any industry, especially Engineering.  
Once again, Congratulations!  Whether you choose to stay and work in Academia or not, I’m excited for you. These are all wonderful accomplishments.   I can tell there is a wonderful future awaiting you in the Engineering Industry, regardless of what you choose.  
All The Best To You, Dabeera!
Santiana Jean-Baptiste


Hello Cathia.  Thank you for your question.  First, to answer your question: No, you are not setting yourself up for failure if you choose Biomedical Eingineering.  However I would caution you to think about how effective you want to be in this field.  Setting yourself up to be more versatile would benefit you greatly and will give you a stronger platform in your career endeavors.  

For example, I too wanted to pursue a Biomedical Engineering undergraduate degree.  I was given similar advice to yours, since the school that I attended did not offer Biomedical Engineering as an undergraduate degree.  At the time, the degrees offered for Biomedical Engineering was on the Masters and/or PhD level.

I decided to Major in Chemical Engineering and Minor in Biomedical Engineering instead.  Now that it is going on 7 years since I've graduated and have been working in the Biomedical/Biotechnical Engineering Industries (which encompasses Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and most recently Diagnostic Assays) I have realized that my choice was the best for me. 

My recommendation to you is to make the best out of your first two years in college, finding the right balance between studying to keep those grades up and doing extracurricular activities is key.

If you have some time to spare, participate and/or join different Engineering organizations.  Connect with people that are doing what you are planning to accomplish.  This will help lead you to decide on a definite major and/or minor if you choose to do so.

Also, get involved with internship and/or co-op opportunities.  I did this mostly during the summers where I would actually work part time/full time for a medical device/pharmaceutical company.  You will be surprised on how much you can learn and accomplish even if you can only dedicate 10-20 hours a week.  Additionally, this will do wonders to boost your resume as well. 

Once I started school, I realized that the 1st two years were all about taking the core competency courses such as Engineering Calculus, Differential Equations, Physics, Chemistry for Engineers, Organic Chemistry, and of course Biology.  

I learned early on that I really enjoyed Chemistry and realized that coupling both Chemical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering would give me a stronger platform in the Engineering Field, especially since I was interested in working in the Medical/Pharmaceutical Industries.  I realized this because I had internships and co-ops that helped support my decision.  Having worked in those industries really helped me choose; it was empowering as it also helped me excel once I graduated.

Currently, I work to improve and/or optimize the manufacturing processes for Biomedical/Pharmaceutical industries, by validating their system/processes so that they can effectively meet FDA standards on a consistent basis.  

I love what I do, and have found a niche that works well for me.  I believe you are on the RIGHT track and I commend you for reaching out through this wonderful website (such as EngineerGirl).   

You have a fantastic opportunity to be versatile while developing your expertise in one of the main Engineering disciplines (such as Mechanical, Chemical, Electrical, Industrial, and/or Civil).  I would suggest that you identify a passion from one of these main Engineering fields, and use it to couple your desire to pursue a Biomedical Engineering degree.  If you only want to focus on Biomedical Engineering, then start looking for internships and co-op opportunities so that you can gain EXPERIENCE in this field and/or find your own niche, like I did.

Remember, if you choose to be more diverse/versatile then you can always pursue a Major/Minor combination; you can decide which discipline you would like to Major/Minor in…depending on what your school offers.  

Check with your advisors and/or professors, you may have the option to do a 5-6 year program where you can obtain you Masters in Biomedical Engineering while obtaining your Bachelor of Science degree in one of the main Engineering disciplines.   

Either way, Cathia, you will be successful.   I could tell by your heartfelt candor and zeal, which emanated through your inquiry.   I sincerely hope my response is helpful to you.  Keep me posted.  Feel free to keep in touch as well.  Keep up the OUTSTANDING work!

Best Regards,

Santiana Jean-Baptiste

Hello and thank you for your question.  

When I was 13 years old, I too was interested in reading books relating to science and engineering.  At that age, what helped sustain my interest on these topics was participating in "hands on"  projects.  I would recommend that you visit this site: showbooklist .cfm?catid=6&list=STEM_sciencefair

I like the fact that this site have many different books on scientific projects; ones that you can work on at home.  This will help your daughter be engaged, while expanding her knowledge on scientific principals.  Also, this site have fun books on a multitude of science subjects (i.e Anatomy, Chemistry, Biology, etc).

I've also included a link for you, as a parent ( preuniver sity-education/online-magazine-to-spark- engineering -interest-in-teens).  This is an Online Magazine to Spark Engineering Interests in Teens.  The site is a great tool to help you help her,  on her journey to become an Engineer.

I hope this helps.  

Kind Regards,

Santiana Jean-Baptiste