The Microsoft Garage Extends Internship Program to Fifteen Bunker Hill Community College Students
Monday, March 27, 2017
Opening its doors to community college students for the first time, the Microsoft Garage offered internships to fifteen Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) students this semester.
Working closely with full-time engineers at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in the heart of the Kendall Square innovation hub, the students are designing and delivering fresh Garage programs, including a revamped employee maker space and community technology initiatives.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that these motivated students have earned incredibly competitive internships at the Microsoft Garage,” said Pam Eddinger, President of BHCC. “These internships, the contacts they’ll make and the experiences they’ll have, are a great first step towards a high-demand career in the technology industry.”
The Microsoft Garage is a resource to employees that supports and encourages problem solving in new and innovative ways. Garage programs attract the relentlessly curious - those who like to dig in and make something. In addition to the internship and maker spaces, the Garage produces the largest private hackathon on the planet and is the official outlet for experimental projects from teams across the company. The Garage is expanding to more community outreach this year, and BHCC interns are helping build the program.
BHCC’s students were divided into three teams:
- Team 1 is designing the hardware and software for a smart device that will manage equipment in the Garage team’s work space. Students will get hands-on with Microsoft platforms, single-board computers and microcontrollers, and custom hardware sensors, and will look to open source their work in late spring.
- Team 2 is creating hands-on maker workshops that use simple tools like Kodu and the micro:bit. The students are piloting these workshops with underserved youth, minority, and female groups in the greater Boston areas. The workshop content that the students create will become a permanent part of the Garage team’s catalog of community technology programming.
- Team 3 is outfitting the all new maker space with expanded capabilities, including 3D printing, laser cutting, milling, microelectronics, and textile working. These additions will extend the set of technologies that employees can use for experimentation and prototyping. The students are also building introductory programs that demonstrate the use of the new tools. One of the first projects the group is working on is the creation of 3D-printed prosthetic hands that will then be donated to a Microsoft charitable partner.
Modeling this spirit of innovation and push to expand its reach for diverse, qualified talent, Microsoft expanded its internship program this year to include students from two-year colleges.
“When the team and I came out to BHCC to conduct interviews, we were impressed with the skills and entrepreneurship that the students demonstrated,” said Microsoft Garage Chief Intern Officer Ben Fersenheim. “I’m thrilled that we were able to find as many strong candidates as we did, as this means we have the potential to deliver on so many more fun and impactful projects this spring.”
More than 150 students from BHCC attended an information session in January to learn more about the internship program. “We were excited to hear Ben Fersenheim talk about what goes on in the Garage; how curiosity is pursued and how creative freedom is encouraged,” said Computer Science major Mussie Demisse, “But what excited me most was how inquisitive he was about the ideas we are passionate about.”
The interns from BHCC include eight female and seven male students, representing eight different majors: Computer Science (6), Computer Support Specialist (1), Early Childhood Development (1), Engineering (3), Graphic Design Option (1), Health Information Technology (1), Network Technology (1) and Object Oriented Design (1). The students will work 15-20 hours per week through May, with the internship culminating in a showcase of their projects to corporate headquarters in Redmond, WA.
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts. The College enrolls more than 14,000 students on two campuses and at three satellite locations. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-four percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 1000 international students who come from 107 countries and speak more than 75 languages.
About Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolling approximately 18,000 students annually. BHCC has two campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, and a number of other locations throughout the Greater Boston area. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 600 international students who come from 94 countries and speak more than 75 languages.