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Biocom California Newsletter Article

Illumina 2021 Interns Give Back While Developing Their Skills

Illumina 2021 Interns Give Back While Developing Their Skills

  • 2021-10-12T19:00:00.000+0000
  • San Diego
  • Author: Sharon Vidal, Illumina

We know top talent expect companies to be good corporate citizens. At Illumina, they engage employees to offer connections to a purpose-driven mission and culture of giving back. This summer, we saw that culture in action during thei iAspire intern program.

With a shift to entirely virtual internships the last two summers due to COVID-19, Illumina's iAspire program was no longer able to incorporate traditional in-person volunteering that was part of the internship programming. Their Corporate Social Responsibility Team and Human Resources Team partnered to embed their culture of giving back to the community virtually and provide an innovative opportunity for professional development.

Prior to COVID-19, all intern programs included a volunteer activity, such as serving meals to patient families at the hospital or doing a beach cleanup. Shifting to a virtual platform gave them the opportunity to create a more impactful application of the talent in the intern cohort, make a meaningful contribution to nonprofit partners, and pilot a more skills-based volunteer program aimed for company-wide use.

This initiative provided an opportunity to not only give back, but also introduced a unique professional development opportunity beyond just a technical focus. All 70 interns were assigned to a nonprofit project that matched intern capabilities. The initiative was managed by Mission Edge and projects included creating new marketing materials for a rare disease foundation to bring awareness to individuals living with Malan Syndrome, helping Girls Code compile coding curriculum, and helping Goodie Nation interview students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and compile quantitative data that will be used for a White House HBCU report on entrepreneurship.

Illumina's interns donated over 800 hours of support this summer, creating a huge impact for nonprofit partners. The feedback received from both the interns and the nonprofits highlighted that this approach was not only helping community partners, but was also providing valuable skills development for interns.

Two interns shared, “This opportunity to help SD2 out was super rewarding learned things I never expected to get out of this internship.

We were grateful for the valuable, actionable contribution from the interns while hopefully also inspiring them towards our cause by meeting some of our kid leaders,” said Scientella Director Ricardo dos Santos.