The SciTech Internship Program is celebrating 10 years of building Minnesota’s STEM workforce! Throughout the month of February, we’ll be highlighting interviews with some of our program partners and student alumni to commemorate the success they’ve found through SciTech as we usher in the next decade of workforce development and paid opportunities in industry.
To kick things off, we spoke with Randy Gatzke CFO of Clarus Medical, Laser Peripherals LLC and Urologix, three medical device companies that work in tandem with one another in the manufacturing of
- fiber-optic/digital micro-endoscopes
- surgical laser fibers
- and minimally invasive treatments for an enlarged prostate (BPH)
Randy signed up for SciTech in 2012 and used the program to find and hire talented STEM students almost every year since, hosting 15 paid internships in total. So we had to ask…
A look back at Clarus Medical and Laser Peripherals’ Interns
Over the years, we’ve met with Randy and his interns a couple of times during our summer site visits: SciTech’s annual road trip across the state where we attempt to meet and interview as many of our interns and employers as we can.
In 2018 we spoke with then Biomedical Engineering Major Olivia Laux and Computer Engineering Major Md Ali Asif.
“This summer, I’ve actually been applying the information I learned in class,” Laux said. “And it’s kinda crazy to think that I’m working on a product that will be used in the field to help cancer patients and save lives. That’s what I went into this field for.”
“Every part of my internship was memorable,” said Asif. “Everyone here was really nice. When you meet nice people, you remember them all your life. I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”
Connecting Students with Industry
SciTech has always prided itself as being a “connector.” Sometimes that means helping students connect with meaningful people or meaningful experiences. And it all starts, as Gatzke pointed out, by first connecting them with the industry.
Fostering the Next Generation of Women Engineers
We went back to visit Gatzke and his interns in 2021. That year’s cohort included:
- Mechanical Engineering Major Meghan Durre
- Biomedical Engineering Major Haley Oswald
- Neuroscience Major Max Schlotthauer
- and Biomedical Engineering Major Kelsey Skoog
“I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect I’ve gotten in this internship,” Skoog said. “Having my own project was really fun and I like that I’ve gotten a little experience in all aspects of the engineering process. They have trust in all of us to get our jobs done.”
In the 10 years of our program, we’ve often heard students and employers comment on the win-win nature of SciTech. Where students like Skoog receive trust and autonomy to work on their own, employers in turn get the workforce assistance they require. Gatzke touched on this when he spoke with us about how he views SciTech as a reliable pipeline for incoming talent.
The Importance of Internships
On the surface, SciTech is a workforce development program, but at its heart it’s a collection of talented individuals working together to forge professional and personal connections through meaningful experiences that enable everyone within Minnesota’s STEM economy to grow.
When it comes down to it, Gatzke said, ask yourself “how many lives have you touched?”
Join in the Celebration!
In the 10 years since SciTech began, our program helped over 2,250 interns connect with 554 companies in 142 cities state wide. We hope you’ll join us this month as we celebrate the incredible impact SciTech has had by following our daily posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Help us spread the word by leaving likes comments and sharing the videos with your contacts.
Because you never know, your share could be the catalyst to the next life-changing internship.