WINONA LAKE — Grace College senior engineering student Natalie Gerber has a job lined up at WishBone Medical Inc., a leader in pediatric orthopedic medical devices.
Gerber is one of several engineering graduates at Grace with a job lined up for May. The program’s hands-on model connects students with local experts in the orthopedic industry as early as their freshman year.
“Located in the ‘Orthopedic Capital of the World,’ our students are weekly rubbing shoulders with individuals who just might be their future employers,” said Dr. Fred Wentorf, chair of the Department of Engineering. “We saw those connections pay off for last year’s graduates and the same is true for the 2022 graduates like Natalie. That is not something you get at all of the other engineering colleges in Indiana.”
Gerber knew she wanted to go into mechanical engineering from a young age.
“Growing up, I remember looking around our house and trying to find things with screws in them so that I could take them apart,” Gerber said.
It was at a Women in STEM career day at her school in sixth grade that she realized engineering merged all of her interests.
With dreams of one day becoming an engineer, Gerber began going on college visits.
“When I visited Grace, I fell in love with the campus right away,” said Gerber. “I knew I could see myself here, but at the time, they didn’t have an engineering degree.”
On Gerber’s second visit, she was thrilled to find out that the school was launching a mechanical engineering degree the following fall. At that very moment, she knew that she was headed to Grace.
“With the program being smaller, every student can have personal attention from the professors,” she said. “Our professors all have a lot of experience. They know what’s required in the industry, and they have a lot of connections. There’s no question this is a good education.”
Gerber was first introduced to WishBone Medical when she worked with the company on a project in one of her classes. She had met Mary Wentorf, a mechanical engineer at WishBone and wife of Fred Wentorf, at a “Day in the Life of an Engineer” event put on by the Engineering Department. Through that connection, Gerber worked as a co-op at WishBone over the summer of 2020 and enjoyed making an impact on children’s lives.
After an internship at the Medicines Innovation Hub with Eli Lilly the following summer, Gerber knew that orthopedics, and specifically WishBone, had a special place in her heart.
That September, she talked to Mary Wentorf and secured a job at WishBone for after graduation.
Gerber is most excited about the chance to help pediatric orthopedic patients. “I’ve always had an open and willing heart for God to show me what He wants me to do,” Gerber said. “Knowing that there is a real impact and that I can help kids with physical differences have normal lives is really rewarding.”
To learn more about the mechanical engineering degree at Grace, visit https://www.grace.edu/programs/mechanical-engineering/.