They’ve all had the ability to go the extra mile. It’s really amazing a local university is producing such high-caliber people.
When James White is hiring for his medical diagnostics company, he is always pleased to see a Bridgewater State University degree on an applicant’s résumé.
“They’ve all had the ability to go the extra mile,” he said of the approximately 10 BSU graduates who have worked for KBMO Diagnostics over the past seven years. “It’s really amazing a local university is producing such high-caliber people.”
Those employees may have never found their way to KBMO if not for Bridgewater Biological Sciences Staff Associate Liz Chappuis. She strives to connect talented students with employment opportunities, thereby helping companies like White’s meet their workforce needs.
Based in Hopedale, KBMO Diagnostics employs about 30 people and conducts food sensitivity and COVID-19 testing. The BSU-to-KBMO pipeline started by chance because White shops at a bakery owned by Chappuis’ brother.
“It’s wonderful,” she said. “They have their foot in the door in a reputable, good lab.”
BSU graduates stand out for entering the workforce with the laboratory skills needed to succeed, White and Chappuis said.
“They have the hands-on experience using the tools of the trade,” Chappuis said. “It’s everyday job skills they’re learning not from a book but from actually doing it.”
During their time as biology majors and chemistry minors, KBMO lab technicians Austin Gouveia, ’18, and Rachel Toews, ’15, became adept at transferring liquids, a process called pipetting. They also worked with PCR testing long before it became the gold standard for diagnosing COVID-19.
“All the experience I had at Bridgewater got me to where I am today,” Gouveia said. “It’s such a good springboard.”
As a BSU student, Toews traveled to Cambodia to build water filtration systems, an eye-opening and gratifying trip. Now, she’s serving others by conducting COVID-19 testing.
“I feel great that I can do anything I can to help out with COVID,” Toews said. “We get to see some patients that come by to get swabbed. It’s great to know we’re helping in some way.”
Gouveia added: “We’re doing our part to make the country and our local community a lot safer.”
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