School’s In for Summer: How Booz Allen Empowers Interns to Change the World

Jul 14, 2017 2:25 PM ET
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Did you know that Alexander Graham Bell was only 19 years old when he invented the telephone? Or, that George Westinghouse was the exact same age when he invented the rotary steam engine? This summer across offices around the country, students between the ages of 18 and 21 are participating in internships hoping to acquire marketable skills in the workplace. But how are companies tapping into the creativity and ingenuity of our youth in a way that is purpose-driven and impactful to clients? In the fourth installment of the six-part video series, “The Spark of Innovation,” Alexé Weymouth, an intelligence and counter-terrorism expert, discusses how she pivoted her skillset to focus on talent strategies to reimagine Booz Allen Hamilton’s internship program.

Understanding that innovation is not bound by experience level, Booz Allen set out to redefine its summer internship program. Tasked with the challenge to transform the firm’s apprentice-style internship, Alexé created an initiative called the Summer Games to tap into millennials’ desire to change the world and developed a structured 10-week program to empower them to do so. “One of the things we hear from interns frequently is they’ve never been given the chance to just create. When someone believes that your idea has value, it instills confidence,” she said.  “Using drones to track a heat-based disease like Ebola, or putting an end to human trafficking. Those are big, ugly problems and when students know that they can get a chance to impact those, they are super drawn to that.”

Through this altruistic internship model, students are offered a true consulting experience – from performing high-stakes client work to creating innovative solutions to real world problems. To date, Summer Games interns have developed products with life-changing impact such as a sensor that can detect a human heartbeat in cargo containers, a game-changing tool to fight human trafficking, and a product to combat drowsy driving.

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