Lauren Kauppila ’24

Berkshire Innovation Center, Pittsfield, MA

The Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) is an organization in Pittsfield that aims to grow local STEM companies, ultimately spurring economic expansion of the Berkshire region. The BIC works towards this goal by partnering with local companies and academic institutions. The diverse selection of member organizations includes biotech, advanced manufacturing, and innovative companies who all have offices in the region and contribute to the region’s economy. The BIC’s educational program is also vital to accomplishing their goal. Both partnering with local high schools as well as holding STEM programs at the facility, the BIC works to inspire interests and future STEM career paths for teenage students.

Me and my computer!

This summer, two other interns and I completed a project that will aid the BIC’s effort to promote local STEM companies and their local impacts. Our task was to create infographics for each of the 24 member organizations, highlighting their mission, what they do, local impacts, careers, and some financial numbers. This project centered on effective research and collaboration within my team. With the BIC only opening in 2020, they are continually trying to bring awareness by offering tours of the facility to show off their expansive offices, lab space, and conference rooms; our infographics will now add to that experience. Whether they choose to hang them on the walls or hand them out to visitors, there is now an easy way to promote their member organizations.

Our project will also be used to aid the education program at the BIC. Providing students with short summaries of local interesting STEM companies will help bridge the disconnect between educational interest and the professional world. Speaking from experience, I never knew about the number of industries involved in the STEM field besides healthcare and lab work. Showing the expansive and diverse career opportunities available in a student’s hometown will benefit the students, the companies, and the region.

This internship was an amazing first experience working in a professional environment. I have come away with many improved skills including those of research, communication, collaboration, and writing; all of which will help me in jobs to come. My time management skills were elevated when we were able to create and manage our own work schedules by working remotely. The interns were certified in Agile workflow, which focuses on impactful and efficient work. This training provided a new and improved way to approach work, both in professional settings and in school. This certification will also have benefits long term, as many Fortune 500 companies are rapidly training employees in this way of thinking, making us stronger candidates in the future. The infographic project we completed not only benefitted my practical working skills, but it also opened my eyes to the different STEM industries I could potentially work in. Being a prospective biology and psychology double major with no intention of going to medical school, this internship exposed me to exciting industries and companies I never knew existed.

Thank you so much to the Kraft Family for their generous support as well as to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for making this amazing summer experience possible!