STEAM Career Exploration Program Offers Hands-On Experience, Career Insight to Cambridge Teens

9/1/20233 months ago

STEAM Careers Program Teen Internship

This summer, 6 Cambridge teens explored STEAM career paths through hands-on experience and behind-the-scenes access at several Cambridge-based STEM companies. The teens were participants in the STEAM Career Exploration Program, offered through the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP).

The STEAM Careers Exploration Program is a supported experience for teens who are unsure about what a STEM career can look like. The Program Coordinator identified teens who applied to MSYEP, expressed interest in a STEM placement, and came from communities historically excluded from STEM fields. The goal of the STEAM Careers Exploration Program is to demystify STEM workplaces for local teens, with the hope that their experience will encourage them to pursue higher-level STEM classes in high school, decide to major in STEM fields in college, or otherwise follow a training path that leads to a well-paying career at a local company.

The teens started the summer by building their networking skills, which were crucial to possess as they interacted with professionals at STEM companies – many who hadn’t engaged with a high school student since their own teenage years. Participants also met with Parris Chandler, founder of Black Tech Pipeline and a former MSYEP youth intern. Chandler emphasized how valuable the teens’ experiences and insight are in impacting their community.

As the summer progressed, the teens practiced their informational interview skills with professionals from Sanofi, who were impressed with their abilities and gave them good career advice. The teens also spent time at companies including Google, CarGurus, AFFOA, and BioMed Realty. They shadowed staff at each site and saw first-hand that there are a variety of professional roles in the STEM field. When reflecting on their experience, the teens expressed surprise that tech companies also need people with strong interpersonal skills, like marketers, trainers, or salespeople.

The STEAM Career Exploration Program culminated in a week at the City’s Community Development Department, where teens learned about the many ways that the City manages new developments and updates existing resources to match the changing needs of the community. 
At the end-of-program celebration, the teens presented their experiences to an audience of professionals, program staff, and their families. They unanimously said that every teen should participate in this program because it was a great way to understand the options open to them within their own city.  
For more information about STEAM Internships, contact Nina Nolan at