Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield, MA
This summer, I interned at the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC), a nonprofit organization that aims to provide resources in a central location for small- to medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, or SMEs (especially in the life sciences and the life sciences supply chain); industry leaders; and educational institutions to interact and innovate. Their eventual objective is to stimulate economic growth and investment in the Berkshire region, providing more opportunities for employment and innovation. In addition to this, the BIC offers educational programs to schools in the area to provide opportunities for youth and help prepare them for high-tech jobs in STEM and advanced manufacturing. Their newly opened facility is a site where students, employers, and industry experts can cooperate and collaborate, creating valuable knowledge spillovers that can fuel tomorrow’s ideas and projects.
I originally thought that I would be helping to develop the BETA program—an intensive experiential learning program for high school juniors and seniors and recent high school graduates with an interest in technology, engineering, or advanced manufacturing—I actually worked with two other interns creating infographics to introduce the BICs 24 member organizations to one another. Their vision was that when people come to visit the BIC, they can pick up these infographics for the companies they’re interested in, and they’ll be able to familiarize themselves with who they are and what they do. Furthermore, this ties in with the BETA program since we designed these infographic posters with high schoolers and younger students in mind; so, they are colorful, immersive, and include relevant sections such as careers and local impacts. Lastly, we designed templates for the BETA students to use to introduce themselves when the program runs again next year.
Working on these infographics provided an opportunity to get to know many industries that I’ve never thought about before, such as advanced manufacturing and defense. Moreover, I gained valuable experience working with nonprofits and engaging with the Berkshire region community. Working at the BIC allowed me to interact with different people who share similar values and it gave me the chance to learn from others who come from different backgrounds and to expand my own mindset. This internship ultimately gave me new experiences and new perspectives to view career fields from, opening my eyes to more options in the future. Although my future courses, majors, and careers are still up in the air, my internship experience has given me more insight into my path.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the Kraft Family for this experience at the Berkshire Innovation Center this summer. It wouldn’t have been possible without your generosity—thank you!