Recruiting first-generation professionals

Nov 2, 2022
A curly-haired, brown-skinned woman in a blue shirt shakes hands with a man across the desk from her, as two people meet at the BEYA STEM recruiting conference.
Participating in conferences like BEYA helps Boston Scientific recruit rising stars from underrepresented backgrounds.

When Jenny walked into her first BEYA recruitment conference in 2017, one company immediately stood out. The Boston Scientific booth was huge,” she remembers. What’s more, it was bustling with people and activity, with long lines of applicants waiting for their shot at an interview. Jenny, clutching her resume, took in the scene – and then beelined away from the booth. 

“I had to get my jitters out!” she recalls with a laugh. “I had learned by then that when you go to a career fair, you don’t talk to your top company first. I needed to warm up by speaking with other companies first.” 

Jenny was a biomedical engineering student at Florida International University and hungry for an internship opportunity. The daughter of Haitian-Canadian immigrants, she was the first in her family to graduate high school or attend college – and as such, had largely been forging her own path. Thus she was excited to be one of 70 students sponsored by her college to fly to Washington, D.C. to attend the Becoming Everything You Are (BEYA) STEM conference, which supports, develops and celebrates multicultural talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. For more than three decades, BEYA’s annual conference has helped rising stars from underrepresented backgrounds connect with organizations searching for STEM skills. It represents a crucial career pipeline for people for whom the path isn’t always straightforward, including first-generation professionals like Jenny. 

Discovering diverse talent 

Boston Scientific began participating in the BEYA STEM conference in 2014 as a means of connecting with diverse talent. Its enthusiastic presence, year after year, reflects the company’s commitment to seeking out the best and brightest employees, as well as its commitment to combatting opportunity bias.  

“Not everyone grows up with the advantages that would naturally lead them to the career path that optimizes their potential,” says Matt Lavelle, vice president of operations at Boston Scientific and a member of the BEYA Board of Directors. “For us to find those talented people and invite them on board, it requires us to use more intentional, thoughtful recruiting strategies, like attending BEYA.” 

The authenticity of that Boston Scientific commitment struck Jenny right away. When she finally mustered up the courage to approach the booth, she found herself in an interview with a recruiter who studied her resume – and then mused aloud that, despite Jenny’s stated interest in manufacturing, her experience suggested that Research & Development could be an excellent fit. Jenny was touched by the level of personal interest. “I hadn’t been thinking about R&D. I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it,’” says Jenny. “And it turned out to be the right place for me. It set me up for success.” 

Paying it forward 

Boston Scientific offered Jenny an internship right there at the conference. Upon her graduation a few months later, she was offered a full-time job. 

Today, five years after encountering the company at BEYA, Jenny is a Boston Scientific R&D engineer in Marlborough, Massachusetts. She has flourished in her career, working on a wide range of projects and earning a promotion. And her enthusiasm for her work has translated into an equal enthusiasm to pay her experience forward: Jenny now is a leader in intern recruitment at Boston Scientific’s Marlborough site and staffs the Boston Scientific booth at the BEYA conference each year, intent on lifting others.  

“My personal passion is going back to BEYA to give students like me the same opportunity that I had,” Jenny says. “If you see someone in a booth that looks like you, it makes the process that much easier for them. I can tell them my story and why we’re a great company to come work for. I’m more than happy to represent Boston Scientific,” she adds. “It’s that simple.”


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