Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield, MA
This summer, I was a Digital Media Intern at the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) creating promotional content for the newly-launched company that serves as an incubator for STEM businesses looking to catapult themselves in Berkshire County. In March, an era that seems a lifetime ago, Governor Charlie Baker was cutting the ribbon alongside Steve Boyd, Chairman of the Berkshire Innovation Center and Founder of Boyd Technologies.
The Berkshires has long been a hub for talent, with the greater ‘metro’ Pittsfield area serving as the informal capital of the county, bridging the gap between north and south county. Berkshire County is situated equidistantly between Boston and New York City, leading to it being a pit stop for many, but not often a place to establish a business. In Pittsfield, the empty, decrepit carcass of the long-abandoned General Electric (GE) building towers over communities, encompassing several city blocks, its paint chipping from the walls—evidence of its neglect. Although the vibrant humming in that factory ceased more than thirty years ago, the pain of its abandonment is felt in the community. The Berkshire Innovation Center seeks to change the narrative of the Berkshires from ‘community devastated by job loss’ to ‘thriving metropolis attractive for start-ups.’ But soon after the official ‘opening,’ BIC was forced to close its doors to not only the public, but private investors and companies.
One step forward, two steps back: it just so happens that this is the way life unfolds. Just as BIC was off on its feet, Covid-19 forced the inertia to a screeching halt. The current global situation has thrust us into a new age of not only communication, but innovation. Inherently, most internships are designed to be in-person and collaborative to allow students to experience day-to-day life in the workplace of a certain industry/profession. This summer, almost all internships were remote, forcing students to forge a fast friendship with Zoom and utilize all their computers had to offer. Personally, I found the increased use of technology to be a struggle due to my innate fumbling with anything I don’t initially understand. However, I learned that it is O.K. to ask for help, it is O.K. to not know how to do everything, and it is O.K. to ask someone to repeat something more than once. My favorite professor at Williams would say “Well, if you’ve only read it once, then you haven’t read it at all, have you?” Why should the workplace be different when it comes to doing the job right?
This internship and global life-pause has given me much food for thought with respect to my plans post-graduation. I thrive in collaborative environments with daily personal interaction, so the remote nature of this internship put a strain on my talents, but forced me to adapt to the current climate. I know I am best-suited for a more people-facing career that lies at the intersection of business and the arts. I am very grateful for the Kraft Family, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and the Berkshire Innovation Center for the opportunity to pursue a different path and help me discover valuable career wisdom.