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She’s Trailblazing In Bioengineering And Defying Gender Odds 

By Ericka Link, Marketing & Communications Intern

Alex Simmons, Design Engineer

According to the Harvard Business Review, engineering is the most male-dominated profession in the U.S. In fact, in 2022 only 16% of women self-reported as working in science and engineering as compared to their male counterparts who were two and half times more likely to work as engineers. While studies show that many women who study engineering leave the male-dominated field, Alexandra “Alex” Simmons, 24, says she’s found opportunity and ample room to grow at Andersen Sterilizers.  

“When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a doctor,” shared Alex, who excelled at math and science in school. “However, I didn’t want to invest the many years required to become a doctor. Engineering appealed to me and when I learned I could pursue bioengineering, I thought it would make good use of my creativity and love of science.” 

 A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Alex’s upbringing and love for art and design helped shape her dreams. Alex said she owes her work ethic to her mom, who worked long hours as a stylist to support Alex and her aspirations. 

“My mom supported everything I ever wanted to do and helped me get to where I am today,” Alex said. “No matter what it is I wanted to do, my mom never showed any doubt in my abilities to get there and did what she could to help me pursue those interests. I think having that kind of support allowed me to excel.” 

Alex enrolled at Clemson University, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as number 77 in the Best Engineering Schools in the country. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in bioengineering.  

“After graduation, I was looking for a job in the medical device field,” Alex shared. I accepted a contract position as a validation engineer

Alex poses with her mom, Pam, at her high school graduation party. Alex’s mom has been instrumental in her success, consistently encouraging and supporting her academic and professional pursuits without hesitation.

with Merck.” 

Merck, a global pharmaceutical company with more than 74,000 employees, Alex wasn’t sure her work was making an indelible mark. 

“I felt like a number, just one among thousands who could easily be replaced,” Alex shared. “But at Andersen, I feel like I have value and purpose. My contributions make a difference.” 

Andersen Sterilizers is a family-owned company employing roughly 130 employees. Alex works with three other engineers, all of whom are males.  

“It’s fulfilling to work with my colleagues and alongside every department at Andersen,” Alex noted. “Contributing to the production of safe and efficient sterilizers has been exceptionally rewarding.” 

Alex went on to say that she feels like her ideas are heard. She expressed that she hoped that more women would recognize the opportunities and rewards found in STEM occupations.  

At Andersen, Alex’s dedication has earned her high praise.   

“Alex is so smart and has such a good mind for detail; something absolutely required of an engineer in any medical-related industry,” said Ryan Russell, Director of Engineering. “But I think what I like most of all is her stubborn-like determination, something we saw firsthand as she, within her first year, learned our QMS, Design Control systems, and the ins and outs of Andersen to complete the long-awaited Stainless Steel EOGas 4.  We are lucky to have Alex.”