Stories & Features

Meet the Experts: Elizabeth Bernhardt

Feb 23, 2024 by IDEX Health & Science

meet the experts elizabeth bernhardt

Meet one of the experts behind our innovations and technologies: Elizabeth Bernhardt, Ph.D.. Elizabeth joined the IDEX Health & Science team three years ago as an Application Scientist. “I’m the technical bridge between the customer and all of the internal resources here at IDEX. I work with OEMs to design optical filters tailored to the needs of their instruments."

Q: What inspired you to get into this field of work?

The customers I work with are changing the world in meaningful ways, and I am part of that process. Perhaps the most exciting aspect is the personal ways I see my work being implemented. My sister had fluorescence guided surgery, and optical filters made that happen! I am inspired every day by what our customers are doing and how I get to play a small but meaningful role in making that happen.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

Every day is different, and I am solving new problems. Constantly learning and growing in my career means I can best serve my customers as I develop relationships and more fully understand their filter needs in a holistic way.

Q: What made you choose IDEX Health & Science?

The people at IDEX are so supportive and welcoming. I interviewed for this position literally the week after my father died, and Liam Casey, Vice President, Business Line Leader – Filters, said, “I wish I knew you better so I could offer meaningful words of comfort.” I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of hollow words of comfort out there, and something so meaningful from someone I just met made me know I had found my home.

Q: What do you love best about working here?

For me, it isn’t just about what I do, but how I am able to do it. IDEX supports me working fully remote so I can live with my husband here in Chelsea, MI where his job could never be remote. Everyone is respectful that I need time to unplug after work, so I maintain work-life balance without any guilt.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone thinking about entering this line of work?

Scientists must be well-rounded to succeed in this role. You cannot just be a stellar scientist and rest on your academic laurels; you need to write and talk to people. Focus on building soft skills such as communication. Work to simplify technical discussions to meet your audience at their level so that everyone can participate in the conversation.

Q: What are some challenges you face in your position, and how do you work to solve them?

Interference filters are, unfortunately, bound by the laws of physics, so balancing what is possible with what the customer wants can be quite the challenge. I have so many tools to make sure the customer gets the optimized performance within the limits of physics, such as design tools (SearchLight™), ways to look through all our coating recipes to find a match, etc. Being creative and truly understanding each specification and why it is needed for the system ensures the customer receives the right filter with the right specifications. Whenever I have a question, I can reach out to my colleagues and find the expert here at IDEX [Health & Science] to help me.

Q: What do you do for fun? Hobbies?

I am quite crafty! Like Schrodinger of quantum mechanics fame, I make model furniture; I am restoring my childhood dollhouse. I also cross stitch, and I am working on a huge piece I started about 8 years ago in grad school. Playing dungeons and dragons is my favorite hobby I share with my husband and friends from grad school – I’m a fire cleric in our current campaign who ran away and joined the circus. My nerd cred also extends to working for Critical Role doing quality assurance on closed captions.

Recently I started geocaching, which has sparked a love of exploring the state parks around my home – there are thousands of trails I would not have known about if not for geocaching.

I’m passionate about my little family of my husband (Viktor) and German Shepherd dog (Freya). Viktor is also a physicist, and Freya is just full of judgment and opinions.

I [also] share my passion for science and the arts with the free Skype a Scientist program where I talk to classrooms about my job at IDEX and answer any questions the students can think of.

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