The Role of Innovation in an Engineering Career

Alyssa Sanders, Associate Director of R&D Engineering at Baxter

Love the episode? Leave a review on your favorite podcast platform!


Ever wondered how a seventh-grade engineering camp can ignite a lifelong passion for STEM? Alyssa Sanders, Associate Director of Research and Development Engineering at Baxter, is living proof of just that.

This week's episode is a fascinating discussion about the role of innovation in an engineering career. Managing a diverse, global team of engineers, Alyssa is an expert on innovation, product development and manufacturing, and highlights the importance of understanding market needs, meticulous research, and considering manufacturing capabilities in the R&D process.

We also hear a new perspective on the very definition of innovation. Learn how engineers can do so much more than design the next big product to go to market, and discover the value of continuous improvement and never accepting things just as they are.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Engineering skills are highly transferrable and can lead to a multitude of career experiences in vastly different industries: Students: your first job out of college isn't a life sentence. Especially for engineers, there's potential for you to apply those foundational skills to any number of careers and fields you may not even know about yet. As an example, Alyssa shares how her first job after earning a biomedical engineering degree was in the automotive industry. Keep learning, keep working with cross-collaborative teams and you can build a career of unlimited experiences.
  2. Innovation isn't just about creating the next big product on the market; innovation is about new ways to improve processes, systems, and products: While an R&D Engineering team does spend time designing new products, they also work to improve current product designs, improve manufacturing processes, and create more efficient systems - all with the goal of making a better experience for the end user. Innovation is about continuous improvement, looking at things with a fresh perspective and never accepting things as-is just because it's how they've always been.
  3. Engineering on a global scale is a fascinating challenge that crosses multiple disciplines of engineering, different cultures and different ways to think about product design: Working on a global team developing products for many different geographies and markets, Alyssa has learned the value of having a diverse R&D Engineering team. Hear interesting anecdotes from Alyssa and Matt about designing products for different cultures and how thinking through challenges like these are important for today's engineering students.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

To learn more about Baxter, visit their website:

Connect with Baxter online:

LinkedIn  |  X (Twitter)  |  Facebook  |  YouTube

What our listeners are saying

The #1 podcast in TechEd

This podcast is a great resource to keep up with all the exciting changes in the world of manufacturing and technology. Get key insight from industry leaders from the Midwest and around the globe that you won’t find anywhere else. A must listen for anyone interested in how technology is changing the way businesses operate.

The pulse of Industry 4.0

This podcast has its fingers on the pulse of Industry 4.0, and Matt K. is a phenomenal guide, traversing the complexities of manufacturing and education in one forum. A+ work all around!


I find Matt's approach to be very compelling. He brings both perspectives, industry AND education. He doesn't hold back on what he thinks is important...

New and Exciting Content With Every Episode

I really enjoy listening to this podcast when I'm driving or have a free moment. Each episode brings a new guest with a fresh and exciting perspective of both education and the workforce!

I needed this podcast back when I was in High School!

Such great content that deserves more attention at all level of education. I wish I heard some of these episodes when I was navigating my own career path. Incredible guests, with incredible messages to share. Keep up the great work!

Inspiring topics featuring inspiring leaders

I’ve listened to most of your weekly podcasts and enjoy listening to the stories and conversations that feature business and education leaders from Wisconsin. Kudos to you for creating a platform that presents ideas and success stories that are important to Career and Technical Education teachers and leaders.

Best Career and TechEd Podcast

There are a lot of education podcasts out there. This is the only one that really focuses on bringing together voices from inside AND outside education and focuses specifically on STEM and Career/Tech Ed. This is a great podcast for anyone in education and also for anyone who employs STEM or skilled-trades talent in their workforce.

Filling in Gaps

This show spotlights a large and growing aspect of education that doesn’t get enough attention. Practical and technical education is a field growing exponentially. This podcast Highlights many of the facets of this diverse field.

Fantastic Topics on the Future of Industry

These podcasts are the best for learning about current and future technology. The stories are great. We need more of these interviews.

Become a Subscriber

Subscribe & leave a review on your favorite podcast platform