Twenty Four students from the Woonsocket High School Biotech program
toured C.R. Bard's Davol facility in Warwick last Wednesday, December 5,
2012. The students suited-up in cleanroom gear and protective eyewear to
garner firsthand looks and insight into various aspects of the medical
Beginning in 1874 as a rubber company producing products including
catheters, hot water bottles, and blood transfusion tubes, Davol is one
of the oldest companies still manufacturing medical supplies and
devices. Students on the tour began their day with an overview of
Davol's rich history and its current product lines focusing on soft
tissue reconstruction. Davol is a wholly-owned subsidiary of C.R. Bard,
Inc., one of the top 10 medical device companies nationwide.
As students prepared to explore the company's computer-aided product
design process, product prototype development, R&D testing labs,
advanced quality engineering labs, and manufacturing operations, Davol's
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Tom Hutchinson, encouraged the
students to be engaged, ask questions, and to think about their own
Students did just that - asking questions ranging from pre-clinical and
clinical testing; to the size and design of the "tacks" used to hold
hernia mesh patches in place on the muscle wall; to various career
opportunities within the industry.
"Today was a great day for Davol," said Hutchinson after the tour. "Our
employees were eager to educate and encourage the students, providing a
bridge between their classroom today and their careers in the future."
Hutchinson continued: "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
"A day like today gives students tangible information and experiences
about an industry which oftentimes is new not only to the student, but
their family as well," said JoAnn Johnson, manager of youth and
education programs with Tech Collective. "Raising awareness and
providing students with these exciting, hands-on opportunities is a
turning point in their decision to pursue a bioscience career. It is
exactly what our industry needs. Tech Collective is so appreciative of
Davol's contribution of its facility, time, and expertise today."
The day ended with lunch being provided by Davol and allowing the
students an opportunity to talk further with representatives of the
Egaging Students in STEM
The Davol-Woonsocket High School visit marks the 23rd
industry tour or classroom speaker opportunity Tech Collective has
arranged in 2012 within the Bioscience and Information Technology
industries. These experiences have connected a total of 507 Rhode Island
high school students with organizations including: Cisco, Alexion
Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, GTECH, EpiVax, AAA Southern New England, Atrion
Networking Corp., OSHEAN, New England Institute of Technology, Bryant
University, and the University of Rhode Island.
In addition to tours and speakers, Tech Collective's Youth and Workforce
Pipeline initiatives also include its GRRL Tech and STEM in the Middle
interactive technology expos, job shadows, internships, and fellowships,
mock interviews, and its Youth Speakers Bureau.
These opportunities are one avenue in which Tech Collective Members and
the Rhode Island Bioscience and IT industries are recognizing
out-of-the-box approaches of STEM awareness and education.
"Davol, like so many of our Tech Collective Members, expressed the need
to develop the talent they require in Rhode Island, and the company is
transforming its need into action," said Johnson. "Of course, youth
engagement in STEM is not an overnight "fix," but with the leadership of
industry and education, it is a critical, proven component to a
multifaceted approach within a dynamic industry. The students here today
Student Feedback from the Tour
Bonirath C.: "Going to Davol inspired me to do some type of
research in the future and to somehow use science to solve problems.
This is exactly what my Biotechnology class compels us to do. Listening
to all the scientists, engineers, and managers showed me how important
creative thinking is and how we should always be thinking of new ideas
to promote progress."
Derek B.: "Davol was the best field trip I've ever been on during
my high school career. Everyone there was very forthcoming in answering
any questions and showed us the technology/equipment that was used on a
regular basis. It was interesting to see some of the equipment we use in
the classroom being used at Davol."
Clayton M.: "The experience at Davol was really cool. Each of the
staff members we talked to was informative and friendly. This field trip
was the best one I've been on in a long time. It was fun and
Jaidan P.: "Davol was a wonderful experience. It connected with
many of the things that we talk about in my Biotechnology classroom. The
presenters reached out to me in a way that I could understand. It was a
fun and interactive tour."
Edgardo O.: "I thought the tour was a one in a life time
experience. We got to see how they make everything in the company. I
learned how important it is to keep a great laboratory notebook."
Alondra P.: "This tour was a great experience for me. I learned
so much about the techniques and machinery that Davol uses. This tour
helped me to think about some of the careers that I could do in the
Kenneth D.: "The Davol tour was an excellent opportunity for our
students to see classroom skills utilized in an actual world of work
setting. The students learned and were able to see the importance of
accurate note taking, attention to detail, checking and double checking
results, etc. These are skills that are promoted in our Biotechnology
class every day. Also, all the presenters were able to provide highly
technical information to our students and still keep their attention.
The Davol tour is one that they will remember for a very long time."
About Tech Collective
Tech Collective is Rhode Island's Information Technology and Bioscience
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 $6M in federal, state and private
grant funding to foster industry collaboration, awareness and
development through events 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,
(TechCollectiveRI), and on Twitter
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