STEM Internship Program: Education, Exposure, Experience
At Waters, it’s no surprise STEM education is close to our hearts; it’s what we do and a core part of who we are as a company. We are committed to investing in future talent by supporting STEM education for elementary, middle, and high school students with a special focus on supporting minorities and women.
Our ultimate goal at Waters is to ensure our company is a diverse representation of the society we live in. This will take time, investment, and a commitment to bringing opportunities to those who may not even know they exist. One of the ways we do this, is by increasing access to STEM education in a way that gives students exposure and experience throughout their educational journey.
Partnering with the community to bring STEM opportunities to an underserved population
This summer, we invited students from Boston’s Jeremiah Burke High School and Team New England, a youth development program that serves students in the Boston area, to participate in a new pilot program. We saw a big opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind program combining mentoring, education, business, and science all aimed at one goal: to spark students’ interest so they see all the possibilities the future holds.
Six weeks of STEM: A mix of science, business, and hard and soft skills
The program ran three days a week during a period of six weeks in July and August. This was enough time for the interns to get a view into all aspects of Waters’ business, explore a wide range of scientific and business topics, and develop a variety of hard and soft skills.
Each week focused on different parts of the business. By the end of the program, the interns were exposed to ten different departments, including Scientific Operations, Manufacturing, Communications, and Service.
As the program’s focus areas rotated weekly from department to department, the curriculum ranged from purely science-focused—introduction to mass spectrometry, pathology, machine operations, and much more—to “soft” skills, such as career planning and presentation skills. Regardless of the topic at hand, each day’s classroom education was balanced with a mixture of activities, including office and lab tours, hands-on experiments, scavenger hunts, group discussions, ideation sessions, and more. There were a few opportunities to step out of the classroom, too, as the students were given a science-based historical tour of Cambridge and even challenged some of their new Waters colleagues to a basketball game.
According to junior Joshua Jean Charles, one of the highlights was “meeting a robot named Andrew.” Sean Whyne-Grant, a senior, said, “Most important for me was to step outside my comfort zone, connect and network with people I would have never had an opportunity [to meet] if it was not for this internship.”
Underscoring Waters leadership’s commitment to creating opportunities and supporting the next generation of STEM professionals, our CEO, Dr. Udit Batra, was involved at multiple stages of the program. During the first week, Udit hosted a “Meet the CEO” session to get to know the students, answer their questions, and share his own perspective on STEM careers, life, and leadership. His presence and passion were felt by each of the students from beginning to end as each student met individually with Udit to share their experience.
Culminating a STEM curriculum
As the program culminated, the interns delivered capstone presentations to the Waters executive team, leaders from Team New England, the Burke School in Boston, and Dr. Lindsa McIntyre, Boston Public Schools Secondary School Superintendent. Many Waters mentors and educators from their school also had the opportunity to tune in virtually.
The power of their presentations captured the impact of their experience, brought tears to many eyes, and elicited spontaneous hugs. Those moments were exactly why we do this. Hearing their personal stories and learnings centers each of us in our purpose and commitment to STEM education and investing early in the talent we need for the future.
A BIG thank you to Mark McAuliffe, Laura Monaghan, Brittney Chabot, Isaiah Davis, Greg Hill, and the team of 70+ Waters participants. Without each of you, none of this would have been possible. We have started something pretty special together. I can’t wait to see where we go next. And to our first class of students, each of you will always have a special place in our hearts as we build this program for years to come. And always remember, there is nothing you can’t do. We are rooting for every one of you and look forward to seeing you all again soon.