SciTechsperience visits SCSU and ISELF

2014SCSU_CampusVisit

MHTA – Saint Cloud State University’s impressive new Integrated Science & Engineering Laboratory Facility – or ISELF – provided the backdrop for an SCSU campus visit last Wednesday by SciTechsperience Program Director, Becky Siekmeier. Siekmeier was in town to meet with SCSU science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) faculty and students about MHTA’s SciTechsperience Internship Program.

The $45 million, 100,000 square foot ISELF building is billed by SCSU as “the crowning jewel in St. Cloud State’s three-part Science Initiative.” According to SCSU’s website, this initiative includes ISELF and the $14.5-million addition to the Robert H. Wick Science Building and the $13.6-million renovation of Brown Hall, both completed in 2009. SCSU calls ISELF “the game changer that will transform St. Cloud State into the Minnesota leader in science education and science business collaboration.” A St. Cloud Times article says ISELF is designed to “take students beyond traditional instruction and book-learning and provide real problems to solve and projects to work on with students from multiple disciplines.”

The visit was arranged by Stephen Janasie, SCSU’s new Experiential Learning and Outreach Coordinator. Janasie says a significant portion of his duties relate to the enhancement and expansion of internship opportunities for SCSU’s STEM students.

About two dozen College of Science and Engineering (COSE) students, mostly juniors and seniors who are thinking about summer internships, enjoyed free pizza and a presentation about SciTechsperience. MHTA’s internship program is designed to provide students with hands-on learning opportunities that address actual challenges for small businesses.

Siekmeier shared information about SCSU students who’ve found meaningful internships through SciTechsperience, like Garret Brennan, who was hired by riteSOFT in St. Cloud after his internship with the company. Examples of their peers’ success helped to convey how SciTechsperience helps students bridge the gap between classroom and career.

“The ‘Lunch and Learn’ went very well,” Siekmeier said. “The students asked great questions, and nine of them have enrolled in SciTechsperience over the last few days.”
SciTechsperience connects college students in STEM degrees with paid internship opportunities in small to mid-sized Minnesota companies. Eligible companies receive a dollar for dollar matching stipend to help cover 50% of the intern’s wages. The match is capped at $2,500. Companies and students should apply now. Questions about the program should be directed to SciTechsperience Program Director, Becky Siekmeier at beckys@mhta.org.

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