Andrea Naranjo, a UConn Health Center student in Dr. Kumbar’s lab, receives the Fox Scholarship

‘Next Generation’ Internships Work for Connecticut Businesses

CBIA and member companies help connect the classroom to careers

By Dave Conrad

Remember when being a high school intern usually meant making coffee, shuffling papers, and running errands?

Forget about it—today’s internships through National Academy Foundation (NAF) academies like Hartford’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology (AEGT) are far more demanding for students—and productive both for them and their sponsoring employers.

They should be demanding, because Connecticut employers need a steady supply of talent that’s ready, prepared, and motivated to contribute.

Just ask United Technologies Aerospace Systems, GEI Consulting Engineers and Scientists, and the UConn Health Center’s Institute for Regenerative Engineering what they think about their AEGT student interns from this past summer.

AEGT is one of five Hartford schools that have adopted NAF’s model of instruction that emphasizes hands-on, project-based learning—the kind that connects classrooms to workplaces.

Working with CBIA’s Education Foundation and business volunteers from several CBIA member companies, AEGT has consistently prepared students to quickly fit in with Connecticut businesses.

In fact, over the past five years, nearly 200 AEGT students have applied what they’ve learned to help local engineering and law firms, communications companies, utilities, architectural and construction companies, and others.

Because preparing a skilled workforce is so important to Connecticut businesses, CBIA’s Education Foundation will continue to prepare and train AEGT students and coordinate internships in Hartford-area firms involved in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

From the Internship Dossier

United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) | Student: Geovanni Roberts. Says UTAS’s Steve Schady, “Geovanni learned the principles of 5S Visual Factory and implemented these in a cell that produced aerospace components for large commercial aircraft. His primary responsibility was to work with engineering and operations to design an information display system for small detail parts in order to mistake-proof our inventory and picking system. He was self-motivated, enthusiastic for learning, and had a passion for his job.”

United Technologies Aerospace Systems (UTAS) | Student: Geovanni Roberts. Says UTAS’s Steve Schady, “Geovanni learned the principles of 5S Visual Factory and implemented these in a cell that produced aerospace components for large commercial aircraft. His primary responsibility was to work with engineering and operations to design an information display system for small detail parts in order to mistake-proof our inventory and picking system. He was self-motivated, enthusiastic for learning, and had a passion for his job.”


GEI Consulting Engineers and Scientists | Student: Sita Nyame.
GEI is the largest geoenvironmental firm headquartered in New England. Says GEI Senior Vice President Fred Johnson, among many other duties, Sita worked on-site, participated in meetings, reviewed proposals, calibrated field equipment, and worked on computer assisted design (CAD). “It was truly a joy to have Sita. She was self-motivated, an independent thinker, and had a wonderful personality and attitude. It was telling that after several weeks of working here, several people came up to me thinking that she was a college student.”


Institute for Regenerative Engineering, UConn Health Center | Student: Andrea Naranjo Soledad.
According to the institute’s Sangamesh Kumbar, Ph.D., the laboratory is “focused on developing new therapeutic strategies involving novel factor delivery, and nanotechnology using novel biomaterials to accelerate musculoskeletal tissue regeneration and repair.” Andrea “experienced first-hand how lessons from the classroom are translated to real world applications.” She observed and assisted in basic laboratory techniques such as polymer melting, pipetting, cell culture, and other investigative procedures. Prof. Kumbar said Andrea was “genuinely interested, engaged, and eager to assist in all tasks,” exceeding expectations in every workplace-readiness category in the Institute’s evaluation of her internship.

 

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