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URI Biotech Student Uses His Connections to Give Back to Community

Thursday, February 13, 2014

 

For one student looking to make a difference, the Biotechnology Manufacturing Program at URI’s Providence Campus led to many opportunities in the field. And now, he is giving back.

Kevin Waterman began his career track entering the Bachelor of Science degree program in Biotechnology back in 2009. Flash forward 5 years, and Kevin is on a Master's degree path in Medical Lab Science, while working a full time job as a Manufacturing Associate at SeraCare Life Sciences, an in-vitro diagnostic/medical device company.

Learning the necessary skills

His experience at URI Providence taught him more than the technical skills needed for a career in the biotechnology industry. It taught him perseverance and gave him the pieces needed to build the relationships with fellow students and faculty that he would later use to help others acquire work. It is because of this supportive mentality, that Waterman was able pay it forward by helping two classmates secure manufacturing jobs at SeraCare. "Getting jobs in the industry is a challenging and competitive process, and I was happy to be able to help other students attain employment," said Waterman.

Having been through the Biotechnology program at URI Providence no doubt played a key role in preparing these students for work in the field. Waterman is proud and prepared thanks to the Biotech program. "This degree provides students with an active academic learning environment with many opportunities to gain industry experience," he added.

The drive to succeed

The path took persistence. Before SeraCare, Waterman succeeded by finding low-paying labor employment with the intent purpose to put himself in the position to become a skilled worker. Holding down two jobs, and commuting to Providence to earn his degree, Waterman has shown that dedication and passion can lead to a successful future. He has since hit the ground running with SeraCare, participating in Research and Development Projects, performing high-level biomanufacturing reactions with disease-state serological/plasma products, and successfully running lab operations with his team members.

Waterman will be the first to admit that the relationships he's forged with people at URI Providence carry over to the work place. "Not only are you gaining scientific and technical knowledge, but you are learning how to network," said Waterman.

The Biotech Program

The Biotechnology program at URI Providence is not only popular, but it is very successful as well. The program has been recognized by Tech Collective for its “efforts and commitment to attract, develop and retain skilled technology workers in Rhode Island through providing and supporting education and training,” and it recently received a $174,000 grant from the Amgen Foundation to engage students in scientific discovery. Waterman's experience at URI Providence's Biotech Program has been positive and he credits a lot of his success to the people involved with the program. "Anyone who has an avid interest in science and is looking to break into a cutting-edge industry with definite job growth should look into the URI Biotech Program. The faculty and staff are in the business they are in because they like to see people succeed and do well."

Waterman has succeeded. And because of him, others will too.

For more information on the Biotechnology Program at URI Providence, click here or call 401-277-5212.

This article was written By Michael Gravison; Graduate Student in Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus. This column is part of an ongoing sponsored content series with The University of Rhode Island Feinstein Providence Campus.

 

Related Slideshow: RI Experts on the Biggest Issues Facing Public Education

On Friday November 22, the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University, the Latino Policy Institute of Roger Williams University, the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, the Providence Student Union, and RI-CAN: Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now will host Rhode Island leaders in the public and nonprofit sectors for a symposium on "the civil rights issue of the 21st century, adequacy and equity and the State of Education in Rhode Island."

Weighing in on the the "three biggest factors" facing education in the state today are symposium participatnts Gary Sasse, Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute for Leadership; Christine Lopes Metcalfe, Executive Director of RI-CAN; Anna Cano-Morales, Chairwoman of the Board of Trustees, Central Falls Public Schools and Director, Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University; Tim Duffy, Executive Director, RI Association of School Committees; and Deborah Cylke, Superintendent of Pawtucket Public Schools.  

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Sasse

"Provide a state constitutional guarantee that all children will have access to  an education that will prepare them to meet high performance standards and be successful adults.

Bridge the gap between the educational achievement of majority and minority students.  This will require the implementation of a comprehensive agenda for quality education in Rhode Island’s inner cities."

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Sasse

"Revisit school governance and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the state, school districts , neighborhood schools, and school teachers and school administrators.  Develop and implement a system to hold schools responsible for student outcomes."

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Sasse

"Build a consensus and buy in of all stakeholders around  the education reform initiatives being advanced by the Board of Education."

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Metcalfe

"Set high expectations and raise our standards across the state for anyone that contributes to the success of our students. From adopting the Common Core to discussing rigorous teacher evaluations, conversations around creating a culture of high expectations have to be at the center of the work."

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Metcalfe

"Expand opportunities and start earlier - we must ensure that all kids have access to a high performing public school of their choice, which includes full-day kindergarten."

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Metcalfe

"School facilities - with an aging infrastructure, underutilized buildings and the need to provide fair funding for school facilities for all public school students regardless of the public school they attend, this needs to be a top issue tackled by the RI General Assembly in 2014."

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Cano-Morales

"Meet the academic potential of all students but especially with regards to urban schools students -- 3 out of 4 are Latinos in Providence, Central Falls, and Pawtucket." 

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Cano-Morales

"Connect through specific best practices the academic successes of our students to careers jobs. Investing in schools is economic development as a whole for Rhode Island. " 

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Cano-Morales

"Increase the access to -- and completion of -- higher education and post- secondary opportunities.  Poverty? Struggling families? Education and access to careers and competitive wages is the best antidote."

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Duffy

"Providing adequate funding is critical -- and there are going to be pressures on the state budget, which mean stresses to meet the education funding formula.  With the predictions of the state's projected loss of revenue with the casinos in MA, education funding could be on the cutting board, and we need to ensure that it's not.  Do we need to look at strengthening the language of the constitution to guarantee funding?"

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Duffy

"Implementing the common core standards will provide continuity -- and comparison -- between states now.  With over 40 states involved, we're embarking a new set of standards here."

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Duffy

"Accountability and assessing student performance -- how that it's driven by the common core, we'll be able to compare the best districts in RI against the best districts in say MA.  That's the intent of the Common Core is a standardization of how we hold the system accountable."

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Cylke

"Issue one is quality.  Your quality of education should not be dependent on your zip code.  And the reality is, certain cities are distressed, or whose property values are not as high, I know each town has a different capacity to fund education. There's an absolute, clear relationship between the quality of public schools, and economic development of states. There's irrefutable evidence that quality public schools can make states more competitive."

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Cylke

"Issue two is equality.  In West Warwick and Providence, the per pupil spending is around $16K.  In Pawtucket it's $12.9.  What's wrong with that picture? If I'm in charge of overseeing that my students are college ready, they need to be adequate funding.  A difference of $3000 per pupil?  We're talking in the tens of millions of dollars -- more like $25 million in this case.  An exemplary school district is Montgomery County, MD -- they have roughly the same number of students, around 145,000 -- there's one funding figure per pupil. There's equitable funding for all kids."

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Cylke

"Issue three is Infrastructure.  A critical issue is whether the state is going to lift its moratorium in 2014 for renovations for older schools, ore new construction.  If that moratorium is not lifted, and those funds are not available, it is critical to us here in Pawtucket. The average of my schools is 66 years, I've got 3 that celebrate 100 years this year. These old schools have good bones, but they need to be maintained.  These are assets -- and this is all interrelated with the funding formula."

 
 

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