Alicia Smith Reina ’22

Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield, MA

The Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) is a non-profit organization with the goal of economically developing Berkshire County by improving local STEM education and supporting local small- to medium-sized businesses in the life sciences and advanced manufacturing and engineering sectors. Their main facility is a state-of-the-art innovation center that includes conference rooms, high-tech classrooms, auditoriums, labs, and spaces for rapid prototyping and simulation that are available for all partner companies to use. BIC also organizes and hosts educational programs that provide marginalized and underrepresented members of Berkshire County with access and training in the technology and advanced manufacturing sector. One of these programs, which was the main focus of my internship, is the Berkshire E-Talent Accelerator (BETA) Program which is scheduled to begin this fall. The BETA Program will be an intensive experiential program where students will receive training and instruction in fields related to technology and advanced manufacturing, followed by an opportunity to develop a final project under the guidance of a mentor in the field.

At the beginning of the summer, the BETA Program was nothing more than an idea and a rough draft. Thus, I was given the initial task of ‘fleshing out’ the details and major components. The main aspects of the program I worked on included: determining the application process, creating the application and recommender forms, creating a company support survey, writing the job posting for the to-be BETA Program Director, determining the design and components of the BIC website section dedicated to educational opportunities, writing the press release for the program, and finding potential funding opportunities.

I already know that I would like to go into education, and I have some experience with teaching—I have been a TA at Williams. However, there’s a lot of ‘behind-the-scenes’ work in education that I had not experienced yet. This internship showed me all of the planning that goes into educational programs and helped me realize that it is something I enjoy doing. This has given me more confidence in my future career prospects as an educator. This realization has made me consider going to grad school in education or initially getting a job as a high school teacher.

This was an incredibly fulfilling and eye-opening experience that I would not have had if it weren’t for the generous support of the Kraft Family. 
Thank you!