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Baxter: Fostering Tomorrow's Innovation

Across our Northwestern partnerships, we value the diverse perspectives and new ways of thinking the students bring. In return, we hope students gain insight into how to apply what they’ve learned at Northwestern in a corporation.”

Jeanne Gatto
Baxter Director of Pharmaceuticals Strategy and MMM '13 Grad

Northwestern and Baxter International, Inc. have partnered on multidisciplinary research and innovation efforts for more than a decade, working on projects to address the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges. Since initiating a Master Research Agreement in 2006, the company has partnered with Northwestern on more than 75 collaborative projects, leading to new discoveries across therapeutics, access to care, and medical devices.

In addition to research, Baxter, which is headquartered just 16 miles from Northwestern’s Evanston campus, is committed to making a meaningful difference worldwide through its corporate responsibility efforts. This has led to a number of Baxter-Northwestern initiatives in the Chicago area focused on fostering tomorrow's innovation. Together, the organizations are equipping future scientists, business leaders, and engineers with the education and resources they need to discover tomorrow’s healthcare breakthroughs.

Three researchers in lab.
Baxter Center for Science Education (Photo Credit: Steve Drey)

For example, the Baxter Center for Science Education is a collaborative partnership between Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Round Lake High School, the Office of Community Education Partnerships (OCEP) at Northwestern University, and the Baxter International Foundation. The Baxter Center creates impactful student experiences and offers professional development programs for teachers that promote success for students in STEM, in the classroom and beyond. Since its inception in 2009, the Baxter Center has reached an estimated 150,000 Chicago-area students through authentic and engaging science experiences, and more than 1,500 teachers have participated in groundbreaking professional learning, working with Northwestern and Baxter scientists.

One researcher in lab
(Photo Credit: Valentin Torres)

Another way the Baxter-Northwestern partnership prepares young people to become innovators in their fields is through experiential learning at the university level. Northwestern students collaborate with Baxter employees to address complex issues in the healthcare ecosystem as part of the Healthcare Strategy Lab at the Kellogg School of Management, or to solve complex challenges in business, design, and technology through the Multidisciplinary MBA and MS in Design Innovation Program’s (MMM) Business Innovation Lab.

Jeanne Gatto (MMM '13), Baxter’s director of pharmaceuticals strategy, stays involved with her alma mater as a mentor for the MMM program and as a classroom guest speaker. According to Gatto, the MMM has helped shift the way her team and colleagues think about their markets by providing “the needs-led innovation mindset many healthcare corporations are trying to foster, without the bias that sometimes comes with working within the same space for an extended period of time.” 

The Northwestern graduate says she is eager to support the Baxter-Northwestern partnership because it gives her the opportunity to reconnect with her professors and advisors while growing a new network of students in the spirit of sharing innovation experiences and best practices. 

“Across our Northwestern partnerships, we value the diverse perspectives and new ways of thinking the students bring. In return, we hope students gain insight into how to apply what they’ve learned at Northwestern in a corporation,” Gatto said. 

Gatto also hopes the experiential learning opportunities give students an inside view into what it’s like to work for Baxter.

Baxter currently employs more than 500 Northwestern alumni from engineering, biotech, design, and business degree programs, many of whom remain involved in their alma mater by participating in Northwestern committees and advisory boards.

More information about Baxter can be found on the company website.


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