Benjamin Paquette – Contributor
As STEM careers continue to grow, demand for job-ready college graduates increased 17%, according to UC Davis. Bridging the gap in education and experience is the STEM Innovation and Leadership Lab located in Jennings Hall.
The Lab has prepared students for their careers in the STEM field through research and internship opportunities. Within the STEM Innovation and Leadership office is Biopath, a program created in 2015 to help create more opportunities for students to engage directly in the STEM fields.
“A student who walks away with just a degree, but no additional experiences, will have a hard time getting a job in the field. A really hard time,” said Peter Dimoulas, grant program coordinator since January 2020.
Dimoulas, who works at the Office of STEM Innovation and Leadership addressed just how vital practical, on-the-job skills training and experience are when looking for a job in the STEM field. Through Biopath, students gain experience in subjects like data analytics, technical writing, how to conduct and perform grant research, and even chemical and lab safety.
Its website states’ Biopath “helps sustain the Greater New Haven region as a leader in bioscience by delivering specialized education, applied research, and promotional events to generate a pipeline of highly-skilled, well-educated citizens and workers.”
“We have to unpack the labor market needs,” said Dimoulas, “most companies not only want a degree, but they want a couple of years of experience.”
As companies continue to evolve and change, they demand more knowledge and skills from graduating students, according to Dimoulas. The focus of the Office is not just placing students in an internship. Their focus underlines one key tenant- individualization.
“It really is personalized,” said environmental systems and sustainability major and Business Management minor Leana Mauricette.
After being recruited into the program as a marketing associate, Mauricette later joined Biopath. “They take the time to reach out to you and to check in throughout the semester just to make sure you’re on track,” she said.
Mauricette, who joined the Biopath program in Spring 2020, secured an internship with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals over the summer 2021. Mauricette highlighted how unique support from the program staff had put her at an advantage for her career.
“The Biopath has set me on the path to success. It’s helped to clarify what field I want to go into,” Mauricette said, attributing the involvement of the biopath program as a launching point for her internship with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. “Biopath is here to help you.”
Chemistry and Biology major Alyssa Rolls, a senior, started her Biopath journey in the summer 2020. Although her experience was not in-person due to campus COVID restrictions, Rolls appreciated the expertise she gained from the biopath research program.
“They have definitely helped my ability to find internships,” Rolls said of the STEM Innovation and Leadership Office, “which is helpful because it does give me a wide variety of areas that I could look into for research versus looking it up on Google.”
While Mauricette and Rolls found their place in the Biopath program, there are still plenty of opportunities for those interested in joining the STEM Innovation and Leadership office.
“If you want to work with us, we want to work with you,” Dimoulas said, “We are here to help you get the skills and experience you need to get the job you want.”