Becky Miller has traveled the world for her job in robotics.
Last November, she visited India to test her company’s products with knee replacement surgeons who want to upgrade their equipment. The robotic drill produced by her company will help surgeons navigate the knee to ensure they plan the location of implants in the best possible spot, which will enable them to cut the femur and tibia with greater precision.
Becky is a Requirements and Test Engineer for Smith and Nephew. She is the “middle ground” between surgeons and her team of software developers for a months-long process that includes working directly with each side, observing cadaver trials and live surgeries, getting feedback and developing upgrades.
“I work to ensure what the surgeons want and what the marketing team wants in our software is feasible for our software engineers to develop,” Becky said. “And it’s challenging to be sure that what is developed from a technical standpoint truly satisfies what the surgeons want from a clinical standpoint.”
Her career and journey around the globe can be traced back to A.W. Beattie’s Robotics Engineering Technology program. She graduated from Shaler Area in 2011 and majored in bioengineering at Pitt.
Becky always wanted to be a doctor until her father, A.W. Beattie Director of Technology Joe Miller, introduced her to the robotics program, which she saw as an opportunity to combine her passion for the medical field with engineering.
“Beattie kicked off an awesome future for me,” Becky said. “If I hadn’t gone to Beattie, I think my interests in robotics would have died out not knowing the possibilities. Looking back, I’m so thankful for that opportunity to start my career in medical robotics.”
The career center built her foundation in electronic and mechanical engineering, which translated into an “easier” college experience, because the curriculum introduced her to what she studied in engineering school.
She also began to learn problem solving skills and innovative techniques at the career center, which she uses in her career.
“Robotics in surgery is an exponentially growing field, especially in orthopedics,” Becky said. “There’s hope to expand our technology for hip replacement surgery, sports medicine and other applications. All robotics surgical companies are in the same race to expand robotics to be better and more desirable for surgeons, so we have to continuously innovate.”
Becky’s fondest memories of the Robotics program was building giant robots with friends.
“I think one of the best things was being able to work with the same people every day, because you learn how to succeed when you have a team,” Becky said. “Being there for half a day, being given a problem and challenging each other is such a great environment for learning. It’s worth exploring programs at Beattie, because of how that unique learning environment prepares you for college and a career.”