UMass Lowell’s collaboration with industry partners is mutually beneficial. It allows companies to tap the research expertise, facilities and student talent of the top-ranked public university in Massachusetts, while at the same time providing students with internships, co-ops and critical financial support.
The university recently recognized nearly three dozen of its top corporate collaborators at the Celebration of Industry Partnerships, held at University Crossing.
Chancellor Julie Chen thanked industry partners “for everything you do that makes it possible for all of us to succeed together.” Their contributions to student success, she noted, are a big reason why UML was recently named the commonwealth’s No. 1 public school by the Wall Street Journal.
“You are providing experiences that help our students understand why they're learning what they're learning and where they want to go,” Chen said. “And there's nothing better than a motivated student who understands where they want to go.”
While UML has a long tradition of collaborating with businesses, “We've definitely seen an increase in recent years,” said Arlene Parquette, associate vice chancellor for industry partnerships and economic development.
RTX (formerly Raytheon) and Teradyne were recognized as Premier Partners, the top tier of the university’s Preferred Partner Program.
RTX’s chief technology officer, electrical engineering alum Mark Russell ’83, said the aerospace and defense giant is finalizing a new master agreement with the university that will deepen their ties. They are also renewing the contract for the Raytheon UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI), a joint research facility focused on the advancement of innovative technologies that opened on campus in 2014.
“Lowell punches above its weight, and I'm proud to continue working with UMass Lowell students,” said Russell, who noted that RTX employs more UML alumni than any other company (close to 1,000, according to LinkedIn).
A first-generation college student who grew up near Syracuse, N.Y., Russell said his engineering education at UML prepared him to take on difficult problems during his four decades at RTX.
“You’ve got to make good bets in life, and I’m betting on UMass Lowell,” he said. “It’s a world-class university, and I’m happy you’re growing.”
As a Ph.D. student, Kajenski is a graduate research assistant with RURI’s Printed Electronics Research Collaborative (PERC). While some graduate students have to scramble for funding over the summer and between semesters, Kajenski said the support from RTX means “we can seamlessly continue our research and develop as students” throughout the year.
“It's easy to take the networking, equipment and resources for granted,” she said. “But when we take a step back, we can see that this is truly a one-of-a-kind place that sets us apart from other graduate students.”
Nearly 100 UML alumni work at Teradyne, a multibillion-dollar test and automation company based in North Reading, Massachusetts.
Steven Conte, director of application engineering, said the company hires engineers from UML “because they can adapt to a fast-paced environment with ever-changing requirements.”
Teradyne has ramped up its co-op program with UML in recent years, Conte said. It also supports the River Hawk Scholars Academy for first-generation students, the societies for Black, Hispanic and women engineers, and programs for veterans.
“We are delighted to be a part of this great university and look forward to expanding that relationship,” said Conte, who received a certificate in Unix and systems administration from UML in 1996 and serves on the Industry Advisory Board of the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Seven companies – Abiomed, Amazon, Analog Devices, DCU, Enterprise Bank, National Grid and Pfizer – were recognized as Select Partners, and another 20 companies were named Advantage Partners.
Baxter, who is in her final year in the Francis College of Engineering, recently completed a six-month product development co-op at Abiomed, a medical device technology subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Working on a miniature heart pump called the Impella 5.5 “solidified my decision in choosing biomedical engineering and made me excited to follow my passion in helping others,” said Baxter, who has a full-time job waiting for her at Abiomed following graduation.
“I look forward to my future at Abiomed, applying my knowledge and values that I've learned, to continue making a positive impact on the world,” she said.