Merideth Bell

Mechanical Engineering, B.S. (2007)
Biomedical Engineering, M.S. (2009 U of M Twin Cities)

Quality Improvement Advisor - Sanford Health

Hometown: Park River, ND

Now lives in: West Fargo, ND

Career path: Currently, I work at Sanford Health as a Quality Improvement Advisor. I have had an interesting journey filled with many rewarding career opportunities. I have worked as a graduate assistant, a research engineer, a design engineer, a process improvement advisor and a safety coordinator. My husband and I also owned and operated a horse boarding business for four years, which we really enjoyed. 

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

When I was preparing for college, my goal was to become a medical doctor. I didn’t know a lot about engineering, but I knew that I wanted to go to NDSU. While researching the school, I learned about the incredible programs offered by the College of Engineering. A degree in engineering was very appealing to me and aligned with my strengths - I enjoyed puzzles, working with numbers, discipline, and understanding how and why things work. Armed with a degree in engineering, I knew that I would graduate from NDSU with tools that would allow me to test my critical thinking skills and be creative while helping me to solve real-world problems. 

What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated field? 

Some periods of time during school and a few projects that I have worked on have been more difficult due the fact that I am a female. Generally speaking, I would say that women bring a different approach to problem solving and typically possess strong organizational and communication skills. Fortunately, I have been blessed to work with teams that have encouraged fresh eyes, new ways of thinking and personal and professional growth. Everyone - male or female, young or old - brings a special skill set. And, when we come together, the work that we do as engineers directly impacts people’s lives and makes the world a better place to live. 

What advice would you give to young girls interested in engineering?

Go for it! The possibilities are endless with a degree in engineering. Don’t put yourself in a lane and be scared to step out. Be yourself. Work hard. Keep an open mind. And, jump at any opportunity that allows you to push the boundaries and learn something new!

What’s your best memory from NDSU?

No memory comes to mind that stands out as the “best”. I absolutely loved my time at NDSU! I learned and grew so much during my time there. I also met some incredible people and made lifelong friends. I wouldn’t change a thing!

How did your NDSU education prepare you for your career?

My education at NDSU successfully prepared me for my career professionally and personally. The challenging and interactive coursework gave me the confidence to explore new opportunities and to work collaboratively with a diverse population of team members. The NDSU programs and activities that I was involved with outside of the classroom helped me to find a work-life blend and strengthened my interest in and my connection to the amazing F-M community.

What’s the biggest misconception about your job? 

I currently do not work in the typical engineering setting or perform the stereotypical engineering tasks. I’m not working in a research lab, in a manufacturing setting, or on a construction site. My days are not spent behind a computer modeling equipment, testing engines or designing roads and bridges. I do, however, use core engineering principles every day while analyzing quality and safety data, developing new processes and procedures, implementing new technology, and coaching others to optimize the time they spend completing healthcare tasks. While my hands will never heal a patient directly, I am blessed to work alongside amazing patient care teams as we focus on improving the human condition at every stage of life and delivering a flawless experience that inspires. 

What advice would you give to female college students just getting started in the NDSU engineering program?

  1. Push yourself in and out of class to be the best version of yourself. Get involved, grow your network and get engaged!
  2. Do not let anyone tear your confidence down (especially yourself), and do not be afraid to fail. Failure often makes your successes so much sweeter! Try and try again!
  3. Ask questions and learn the “why”.
  4. Relax! It isn’t necessary to be a master of all. Try to master what you love but remain open to new opportunities available to learn more and develop new skills.
  5. Enjoy every moment – time goes so fast!
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