20 Davies Career and Technical High School Students Attend Biotech Job Shadow Day at C.R. Bard’s Davol Inc. Facility

WARWICK, RI – Twenty students from the Davies Career and Technical High School Biotech program attended the state’s first Bioscience Job Shadow Day on December 9, 2013. The job shadow was hosted at C.R. Bard’s Davol facility in Warwick and held in partnership with Tech Collective and Junior Achievement of Rhode Island.

The students began their day with an overview of the bioscience industry and of Davol’s rich history. Starting as a rubber company, Davol is one of the oldest companies still manufacturing medical supplies and devices. Today, Davol’s current innovative product lines focus on soft tissue reconstruction. Davol is a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.R. Bard, Inc., one of the top 10 medical device companies nationwide.

Engaging members of the Davol staff, the students garnered hands-on insights into various aspects of the medical device field. In Davol’s product design and product prototype development departments, students learned about the company’s 3D printer and prototype creation. A 3D-printed enlarged scale model of Davol’s mesh fixation fastener was passed along to the students. In the R&D testing and advanced quality engineering labs, students used Davol’s fixation devices to ‘fasten’ the company’s various styles of mesh products to synthetic muscle walls. Closing out the day, the students suited-up and donned protective eyewear to enter Davol’s environmental control room.

The job shadow was led by Davol’s Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Tom Hutchinson, who encouraged the students to be engaged, ask questions, and to think about their own futures. They did – asking Hutchinson how and where Davol’s hernia mesh patches were placed in the body and how long the healing process took; how the company designed and tested new product ideas; what the future of the company and its products might hold; and various career opportunities within the industry.

“Today was a great day for Davol,” said Hutchinson. “Our employees were eager to educate and encourage the students, providing a bridge between their classroom today and their careers in the future. Industry interest in supporting education programs, such as those conducted by Tech Collective, is not only a critical means to developing our future scientists, engineers, medical workers, and technicians, but also in advancing Rhode Island economically to become more competitive in the current and future marketplace.”

Davies student, Andrea S., said of her experience: “The part that I enjoyed about this trip was to experience each part of the business.  It’s a big eye-opener on what is out there.”

Andrea’s thought was echoed by classmate, Jasmine A.: “I enjoyed seeing what the machines do and the fact that we were able to use some of them. I also liked gowning up and going into the clean room. The Q.C. room was very interesting because now I have a good idea of what actually happens when you work in Q.C. Overall, it was a great experience.”

Job shadows and other experiential learning opportunities have been an educational focus in recent years, identified as turning point for students. For the past five years, Junior Achievement and Tech Collective have partnered to connect students to job shadow opportunities in the Information Technology field. This is the first year they have hosted a bioscience opportunity; and it is the first Bioscience Job Shadow Day held in Rhode Island.

“Experiential career exploration can provide important eye-opening opportunities and relevant skills to prepare young people for the workforce,” said Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement.

Lewis cites recent reports identifying real-world experiences as a key to improving U.S. high school graduation rates. Currently, more than one million students each year – one in every four – do not graduate on time with their class. (Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, Annual Update 2012; March 2012.)

“Engaging students at the middle and high school levels is critical to not only raising students’ industry awareness and interest, but also building their self-confidence that they can pursue careers in these fields,” said JoAnn Johnson, manager of education programs at Tech Collective. “With Junior Achievement as our partner over the years, we’ve been able to connect hundreds of students to IT learning opportunities. Today, we are proud to be able to offer those opportunities in the biosciences. It is an important step for our students and for our industry as we continue to foster our upcoming generation in the bioscience and STEM fields.”

Continued Johnson: “On behalf of Tech Collective, Junior Achievement, and Davies CTHS, we’d also like to thank Davol. With its history, industry leadership, innovation, and commitment to students, the Davol facility and staff provided a perfect setting to host today’s job shadow.”

About Junior Achievement of Rhode Island (JA)
Junior Achievement is the state’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 7 percent of the Rhode Island student population per year in more than 26 communities across Rhode Island. For more information, visit our website at http://jarhodeisland.org, connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/juniorachievementri, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JARhodeIsland.

About Tech Collective
Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Bioscience and Information Technology Industry Association. Uniting industry, government and academic stakeholders, our mission is to inspire, engage, educate and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $8M in federal, state and private grant funding to foster industry and workforce awareness, collaboration, and development through forums and initiatives including: Tech10, GRRL Tech, Women in Technology, Bio-Ed, and STEM-based education and training programs for K-16 students as well as incumbent and transitioning workers. Get connected to Tech Collective at www.tech-collective.org, on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI), Twitter (@Tech_Collective), and on Linkedin (Tech Collective).

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