Watching a robotic-assisted surgery live on their computer screens was clearly not a typical day in class for these approximately 150 New Jersey middle school students. As they followed the surgeon’s skillful removal of a tumor, some covered their faces, occasionally peeking through their fingers. Others stared in astonishment. All of them furiously typed in the chat during this virtual event — their comments went something like this:
“That is so amazing!” “I think I’ve lost my appetite.” “I didn’t know robots could do that!” “How can I become a scientist?”
The event was part of a two-day workshop hosted by two of the Bristol Myers Squibb’s People and Business Resource Groups (PBRGs) – B-NOW (Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women) and BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership and Development) – in partnership with New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center. After wowing (or grossing out) the students with the live surgery, company volunteers showed them some of the ways in which robotics and automation are used at to make medicines at Bristol Myers Squibb, remotely conduct lab experiments, and be the “eyes and ears” for the company’s scientists, chemists and engineers.
“Seeing the kids’ expressions, it was absolutely priceless,” said Maria Olu Ogunyankin, a Business Insights and Analytics (BIA) R&D scientist and B-NOW member. “For many of them, this is something they may have only ever seen in the movies.”
Bristol Myers Squibb supports a wide range of activities that target students from elementary school through graduate school, paving the way for young professionals to pursue careers in STEM and find answers to the next set of complex medical challenges. The workshop in New Jersey was one of hundreds of activities that happen throughout the year as part of the company’s commitment to STEM education and awareness. The company’s STEM program is made possible by individual volunteers, the PBRGs at different company sites, and through the company’s Community Giving and the BMS for Community initiatives.