Nov 8, 2023
The problem-solvers of tomorrow: nurturing young and diverse talent in STEM innovation fields

How much talent and innovation are unrealized due to lack of opportunity? As one research paper examining inventorship put it, “there are many ‘lost Einsteins’—individuals who would have had highly impactful inventions had they been exposed to innovation in childhood—especially among women, minorities, and children from low-income familiesi.”

According to a Korn Ferry report, by 2030, more than 85 million jobs and 8.5 trillion dollars could be left on the table due to a skilled talent shortage in the labor market. In the U.S. tech landscape alone, $162 billion in revenues could be forfeited annually due to this shortage of high-tech workers and, as the report notes, much of the responsibility to train talent and support educational reform is falling to companies.

The numbers are compelling, but the opportunity to support broader exposure to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to people from all backgrounds and circumstances is so much bigger than the economics.

At BD, we view our role as a global MedTech leader as not only developing innovation that enables care breakthroughs today, but also nurturing the next generation of leaders and innovators who will help BD continue to increase and accelerate innovation and impact in the years to come.

Here are a few of many ways that we’re helping raise STEM awareness and fostering exposure to different tech fields and skills in the communities in which we operate and serve:

Applying STEM skills to real-world health challenges through BD STEM Stars Awards - Limerick, Ireland

BD hosts an annual competition focused on second level students out of our Research Centre Ireland (RCI) R&D Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art facility adjacent to the University of Limerick campus. The BD STEM Stars initiative asks students from secondary schools in the Mid-West region to apply their skills and creativity toward real health issues.

Supported by the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB), this is the biggest such awards program in the region. In 2023, BD welcomed schools from three counties to the finals and winning teams took home trophies and cash awards, which will go towards STEM-related facilities at their school. 2024 sees the initiative expand to a regional audience with an additional 3 counties qualifying for entry.

Donncha Ó Treasaigh, Director of Schools at Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board said: “It’s a superb initiative by BD as it not only promotes STEM subjects but, by participating, students get an insight into the incredibly exciting career that they can have in STEM; a career in which they can make a real impact on people’s lives and work in cutting-edge environments like BD’s RCI Centre here in Limerick.”

Applications for the 2024 cycle are open - To find out more about the BD STEM Stars Awards program and participants, visit

Exploring bioethics and clear communication through debate – Franklin Lakes, NJ (BD Headquarters) 

BD invited students from Passaic County Technical Vocational School (PCTVS) and Diana C Lobosco STEM Academy (DCL-STEM) to come to our headquarters campus for an inaugural Diversity STEM Debate—A challenge that encouraged students to explore difficult real-world bioethical considerations.

“The program is designed to engage a diverse range of students early, fostering a vigorous debate about tough ethical issues that are prevalent in healthcare and underscoring the importance of communicating your ideas,” said Kim Lehmann, senior legal counsel at BD, who got the idea for the program after taking her son to various STEM challenges and noticing the lack of focus on soft skills and ethics.

The winning debate team of all-female 11th grade biomed students from the DCL-STEM Academy, and runners-up returned to BD for a day of job shadowing, with the opportunity to participate in hands-on lab experiments, product demos and activities with BD associates. Given the success and impact on students, we are expanding the program across multiple sites.

Advancing wearable robotics and bioelectronic devices through diversity-minded research accelerator awards - Santa Barbara, California

BD awarded BD Biosciences Research Accelerator Awards to two graduate students of UC Santa Barbara (UCSB), supporting the next generation of scientists by funding their critical research and assisting with education expenses so that they may complete their graduate degrees. The fellowship focused on students from a diverse range of backgrounds, including underrepresented groups in STEM.

Neeli Tummala is a Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UCSB, and her research focuses on haptics and neuroengineering. Hiba Wakidi, a Ph.D. student in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, specializes in materials chemistry and her research  ties to the broader field of organic bioelectronics; a quickly growing field for the development of biocompatible electronic devices.

Specialties like these will play an important role in advancing healthcare and creating the smart, connected future for MedTech that we envision at BD.

Empowering middle and high school students to pursue STEM careers, through the UMB CURE Scholars Program - West Baltimore, Maryland

Whether through the work we do on our campus to help advance the world of health or the work we do in the Baltimore region to build and support STEM research and education, BD is a proud and engaged member of the Maryland life sciences community.

This summer was the third year we welcomed students to experience hands-on lab work and mentorship. The mission of the UMB CURE Scholars Program is to educate and empower West Baltimore students to pursue careers in STEM, research, and healthcare.

At BD, scholars are paired up with mentors for a six-week experience where they learn about a career in the biomedical industry and the many roles it takes to continue advancing the world of health™.

For twelfth grade student Jazire Faw from the UMB CURE Scholars program, that meant teaming up with BD Staff Systems Engineer Rohini Rao, on a project to improve the usability of a molecular testing device.

“Our generation wants to be hands-on,” said Jazire. “I was able to network, ask questions, and learn about the industry behind medicine.”

Learn more about the program and get involved

i Alex Bell, Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel, Neviana Petkova, John Van Reenen, Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Volume 134, Issue 2, May 2019, Pages 647–713,


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