Erica Parker shared her story with us this summer as a Cisco Intern before going back to class this fall. We hope your semester is awesome, Erica!
During the summer of 2015, my perfectly healthy father woke up one morning and suffered from a cryptogenic stroke – or a stroke without a cause. It was a scary time for us all, but thanks to technology my dad was paired with a small implantable cardiac device called a loop recorder.
This device uses wireless technology to transmit every single one of his heartbeats to my dad’s doctors – all while he is able to stay in the comfort of his own home, making the monitoring and diagnostic processes entirely remote for the patient. (Now tell me that isn’t cool!)
Yes, life changed for my dad and our family after this event – but it wasn’t until a couple nights after the device was implanted that this moment would really alter my future.
Just two nights after my father had the loop recorder implanted there was an awful thunderstorm that took the power out on our entire street. This caused his device to malfunction – none of his readings were being sent to the hospital! He was terrified.
Seeing how scared my dad was made me want to do whatever I could to make it better. He has always supported every decision I’ve ever made. However, I don’t think either of us would’ve expected that this life-threatening medical emergency would point me in the direction of my future career path.
I spent hours that night researching the wireless technology behind his device and even came up with a solution that fixed the issue. Immediately, I knew that I wanted to take what I knew in computer networking and use it to improve the lives of other people around the world requiring these medical devices, just like my dad, through development for improvement.
It was then that I started working towards becoming a developer in computer networking for biomedical technology.
Shortly after, I landed my co-op at Cisco and joined the Virtualization and Infrastructure team. My team let me take the reins and truly get a taste of what it is like to be a developer, and I absolutely fell in love with it! Everyone at Cisco really encouraged me to become heavily involved and they were all interested in helping me find more ways to grow and learn the skills I needed in broadening my horizons.
One of my team members even informed me about the Cisco Telehealth System, a system that allows for doctors and patients to connect remotely. This is a service that’s very similar to what my dad is using!
I got to see the Telehealth System in action during my internship at Cisco’s Raleigh, North Carolina campus during a tour of the brand new health facility. The receptionist explained that the devices allow patients to speak with and send their vitals remotely to doctors stationed all around the world. It was incredible to see first-hand how this technology and computer networking is aiding biomedical devices and patients.
Being able to experience this during my internship only motivated me further. I want to improve the efficiency, security, and quality of service in these networks that connect patients with their doctors in remote locations. This technology was profoundly helpful for my father – and I know it can allow other patients to lead more “normal lives” without the hassle of physical trips to the doctor’s office or giving their doctors access to a patient’s vitals in order to make quick medical diagnoses. Through research and development of better solutions I hope to one day improve the quality of life for these patients and their families – just like my father – by making this process as seamless as possible for all parties involved.
We hear it quite a bit – that Cisco is dedicated to empowering its employees to change the world. Maybe that sounds cliché to some, but speaking from experience – they’re not kidding. I’m living proof of someone who has been encouraged to change the world through my Cisco Internship.
Want to change the world? We’re hiring. Join us!