Amazon SURE program hosts three Amazon Days
Students had a chance to gain industry exposure and interact with Amazon researchers.
Over the summer, the Amazon Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), a program focused on increasing diversity in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) fields by providing a university-based summer research experience to undergraduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, held a series of three Amazon Days.
The Amazon Days, designed to help students gain industry experience as a complement to their research-based summer experience, were held at Amazon offices in Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles.
“Amazon Day is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about how industry works, and it is an important element of the Amazon SURE program,” said Prem Natarajan, Alexa AI vice president. “By providing students a timely and up-close look into industry, Amazon Day complements their academic training at a critical time and helps them make more informed decisions about their careers.”
The Amazon Days included Amazon-centric leadership activities where participants worked in groups; an introduction to Amazon fulfillment center operations; and networking sessions and presentations from Amazon Student Programs to provide insight into internship and job opportunities across Amazon.
Students heard from Gérard Medioni, Amazon Web Services vice president and distinguished scientist; Leila Rouhi, vice president of trust and privacy with Alexa Privacy; Natarajan; and several other Amazon technical leaders.
“Amazon is committed to putting diversity, equity, and inclusion at the front and center of everything we do,” said Medioni, who spoke to students at the Amazon Day in Los Angeles. “SURE is one of the mechanisms, together with partner universities, to engage early with students from historically underrepresented communities and prepare them with skills to succeed in engineering disciplines.”
The Amazon executive panels, speakers, and leadership content received an overwhelmingly positive response from the 110 students from 75 different universities — including 20 minority-serving institutions.
“I was energized to meet the students on Amazon Day,” Medioni continued. “It was gratifying to see their high interest in the technology changing physical shopping experiences and engage with their insightful questions.”
At the program’s conclusion, each host university held a poster session, where students presented their summer research projects across a variety of topics, including computer science, engineering, and aerospace. Students were able to share and review each other’s research findings while networking with faculty and Amazon employees.
“I came into this program with pretty extensive research experience,” said Victoria Tung, a SURE participant enrolled at Vanderbilt University. “However, I’ve always been unsure about going into research or industry. It was cool to conduct research while also learning about industry.”
For more information on the SURE program, including participating schools, please visit the Amazon SURE page.