Asmita Khanolkar: Promoting STEM and Medical Devices

WALTHAM, MA- Asmita Khanolkar works in the medical device industry and her responsibility is to take new products through engineered scale up into high volume commercialization. This involves taking early design medical device concepts through development and manufacturing planning, equipment design, automation, work cell and plant layouts, commissioning and validations to produce millions of devices per year.

“It is a very rewarding job to bring a product from concept to market that will improve life and benefit thousands of patients,” says Khanolkar, who holds a Master’s degree in Material Science & Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic. She has over 20 years of manufacturing experience specializing in the Medical Device Industry.

She has managed device projects starting from concept to volume manufacturing launches. Her product portfolio includes devices in diabetes management, surgical devices, orthopedics, respiratory, cardiovascular, patient safety and health monitoring devices, biomedical and cell regeneration devices, drug delivery, sports regenerative surgery, blood collection, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, needle protection and airway products.

Asmita Khanolkar

INDIA New England News: Please tell our readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?

Asmita Khanolkar– It has been an exciting career track and I have had the opportunity to work on various device launches in the fields of drug delivery devices, surgical devices, orthopedics, respiratory, cardiovascular, patient safety and health monitoring devices, biomedical and cell regeneration devices, drug delivery, sports regenerative surgery, blood collection, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, needle protection and airway products.

My current project at CeQur involves scale up of a wearable insulin delivery device for helping people with type II diabetes. The device delivers both basal and bolus insulin for 3 days freeing people from daily injections and achieving better control of the disease. There are an estimated 11 million patients just in US and Europe that are on insulin injections. Knowing that I am working on a solution that could help so many people live longer and beat this terrible disease is very humbling and also a big responsibility. The launch to market needs to be timely and needs to meet the user requirements for millions of devices working efficiently day in and day out.

INE: To which charitable, community and professional group do you belong and why?

AK: I belong and volunteer for many non-profit and community organizations involving mentoring in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) forums and community cultural events. My STEM volunteering activities include mentoring for First Robotics, STEM events for girls, Women in Engineering, Advisor for Future Healthcare Professionals and Global Outreach STEM initiative for underprivileged kids in various countries.

I am a mentor for FRC team Stormgears 5422, a First Robotics Team based in Middlesex County, MA with over forty five high school students from neighboring towns of Westford, Acton-Boxborough, Chelmsford, Groton and Lexington. We teach the students about design and prototype process, engineering principles, computer aided design and machining and safety. The students get a real life industry experience.

As a part of our “Global Outreach” program, we are working on a unique endeavor to help start and mentor FLL teams in India for underprivileged kids.  We support and promote STEM for kids in India and other countries by conducting robotics workshops, mentoring and providing supplies for activities.

I also volunteer and participate in the community cultural events organized by NEMM, Miss India, Health Expo, Local Music shows and other programs.  It is a wonderful community and I enjoy helping, organizing and participating in various community events. The events encourage kids and adults to participate in cultural shows and performances and help support great causes for charity.  People can do extraordinary things when they come together and the community events are a great example of this.

INE: What are your hobbies and interests?

AK: I love to sing and also pursue dance as my hobby. I have been a part of a dance group “Aangikam” for the past five years. We perform a couple of times a year and participate in competitions. It is an honor to be a part of such an amazing and talented group under the training of a legendary guru. In addition to these my other favorite hobby is Zumba fitness, for the past seven years, not only has it been a great exercise routine but also has vivid music, beats and dance forms from various countries.

INE: In what way do you feel you have positively influenced or served the local community and your company/organization and professional field?

AK: I feel my best work is represented in giving back to the community opening the youth to STEM opportunities and help create the future engineers, scientists and technology leaders of tomorrow. I am dedicated to being a mentor and role model for young women in engineering and technology fields and guiding them through their career goals and achieving success. I am also passionate about helping underprivileged kids for those who cannot afford the education in robotics, giving them the opportunity to compete and showcase their creativity. I am working with the India STEM foundation to identify and sponsor robotics team for underprivileged kids.

INE: Your rare talent?

AK: I come from a family of great musicians and singers and although did not get a chance to devote too much time to music, I have inherited a singing voice. I was a radio star as a kid and have won many music awards in singing competitions.

INE: Your favorite books?

AK: I read the “Bhagavad Gita” every day, a gift from by brother; the book is a miniature version of the original manuscript in English. It has influenced me greatly and it has taught me to focus on actions and good deeds rather than the fruits of the actions.

INE: Your favorite quotes?

AK: “A good deed is never lost, it is a treasure laid up and guarded for the doer’s use” – Edwin Markham.

INE: Who inspires you the most?

AK: My family has been my inspiration all through the years. Starting with my parents, my dad is a retired army colonel and my mom a school teacher. Back when I was in school, it was uncommon to see girls in hard core engineering fields; less than 2% girls students were in mechanical engineering. I chose to pursue my engineering in polymers which was a completely new field at that time. My parents supported me and inspired me to carve my own path in this field. Inspiration can come even from someone younger; my sister is an example of this, a successful doctor and researcher. Over the years I have also had many mentors outside of my family from professors to managers to industry leaders, friends and acquaintances, I am very thankful to all of them.

INE: The one person you would like to meet and why?

AK: I would like to meet Michelle Obama, a lawyer, writer and a charming first lady. She has inspired many girls and young women to pursue education and leadership. She is a great role model for girls and women around the world. In trying times of today, we need leaders like her who can inspire an entire generation.

INE: Your core value you try to live by?

AK: I believe in three core values: education, character and helping those who are less fortunate than you. I truly believe education is the key to success. It is one thing that no one can take away from you. You are a student all your life and you can learn a lot from people around you whether they are younger or older than you if you are humble enough to recognize it.

 

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