Shaping the Future of STEM, Building Equity Through a High School STEM Internship Program
This is the theme of our recent webinar held with Abbott to outline its high school internship playbook Shaping the Future of STEM. Vildan Kehr, Divisional Vice President, Human Resources, Rapid and Molecular Diagnostics, kicked off the webinar talking about Abbott's school high internship program. She noted: The U.S. Census Bureau reports women are “vastly underrepresented” in STEM, making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce but only 27% of STEM workers. It is estimated that less than a third of Fortune 100 companies have high school internships.
Abbott started its program in 2012 to invest in tomorrow’s STEM leaders and offer STEM experience to girls and diverse students. Abbott’s high school internship program gives girls as young as 15 the exposure to working in STEM, while also allowing them to identify great, diverse talent. Kehr calls Abbott's internship program a proven success in developing a diverse talent pipeline from STEM internship to jobs.
Fiona Harley, rising college freshman at UCLA in biology and engineering, and Olivia Muñoz, rising high school senior from Dallas shared their experiences with Abbott's high school internship program.
Olivia says, "At Abbott I see people in STEM who look like me. It’s made an impact and given me a new outlook on what I can accomplish. I want to go into biomedical engineering. My experiences at Abbott have helped me decide that this is the type of engineering I’d like to pursue as a career."
Fiona says her interest in STEM began when she was just four years old and this internship really cemented her career choice. "Last summer I worked on a project involving Abbott’s Percutaneous Heart Pump and this summer I’m in the microbiology department. This internship is showing me what the real STEM world has to offer me."