Woonsocket High School Biotech Students Tour Bard’s Davol Facility

  Woonsocket High School Biotech Students Tour Bard’s Davol Facility

  24 students garner insight and hands-on exploration of concept and design,
   testing, advanced quality engineering, and manufacturing aspects of the
                           medical device industry.

Business Wire

WARWICK, R.I. -- December 14, 2012

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 device field.

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 futures.

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 marketplace.”

“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 company.

Engaging Students in STEM

The Davol-Woonsocket High School visit marks the 23^rd 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 are proof.”

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 informative."

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 future."

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, on Facebook
(TechCollectiveRI), and on Twitter (@Tech_Collective).

Contact:

Tech Collective
Giselle Mahoney, 401-829-8321
Manager of Communications and Media Relations
gmahoney@tech-collective.org
 
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