Nolan Michaelson is one of hundreds of students who utilized Scitechsperience internship opportunities effectively. Nolan was introduced to Magnum Research in 2013, where he was able to secure a mechanical engineering internship. Magnum Research is a small fire arms company in Pillager, Minnesota with 23 employees. They design fire arms for the sporting market. The company is mainly known for its Desert Eagle product.


Nolan was the company’s first intern. “Before I had started with Magnum Research, there hadn’t been an  internship program,” says Nolan. After completing a successful internship, Nolan continued working remotely on different projects as a part-time employee while he was still in college, and was brought on board as a fulltime employee after graduation.


Nolan’s success story is a typical example of how hands-on experience gained during an internship enhances skills that employers are looking for in college graduates. Nolan has now opened doors for other interns at Magnum Research and returned SciTech – this time as an employer – to bring in Jared Buchholz this summer. Nolan believes that the company should continue hiring interns because it provides opportunities for growth for both the company and the students.


Developing Key Skills through Hands-on Role


For Jared, a junior Mechanical Engineering student at North Dakota State University, learning must take place beyond the confines of a class room. He believes that in order to have a comprehensive understanding of school material, one must be able to apply class room knowledge to real life work situations. “In school, they try to prepare us as much as possible but they never really teach us to think about how things are going to be machined,” says Jared.


Jared previously interned with an energy cooperative. While he found both internships to be helpful, he has profoundly enjoyed his work with Magnum Research. “Here, there are many things – a broad range of tasks – that give you an opportunity to explore what you really want. Previous internships involved a lot of electrical work. It made me realize I didn’t want to do electrical,” says Jared.


As Jared expressed, it’s challenging for many college students to determine which career path suits them best, and even more challenging to find experience and skills needed to be successful on the market. For STEM students however, SciTeschsperience provides a good platform to land great internships within their fields of interest.


Working alongside Nolan has helped Jared narrow down his career interests, to focus on what he likes the most and build the skills necessary to succeed. “I like it here because I don’t spend my whole day sitting behind the desk.” His experience with different projects this summer has not only enriched his professional skills, but has also played a significant role in his strengthening his passion for Mechanical Engineering.


Opportunity for Growth through Fun-Filled Projects


Jared has deepened his engineering skills since the start of this internship. “When I first got here, they gave me a barrel to a Desert Eagle and asked me try to design it. I didn’t even know where to start. I was completely lost. But last week I designed a barrel in a few hours.” His proficiency was made possible in part through seeing the assembly of the Desert Eagle. This helped him to get familiar with all the smaller mechanics of the gun, which made creating the design using CAD software much easier. He believes that these transferrable skills will be essential as he works towards being a professional mechanical engineer.


Wage Match Provides Incentive for Employers


With many projects in the works, Nolan believes that hiring interns is essential as it saves time for the company and brings in different talent to achieve goals. Nolan says he values SciTech because it helps companies connect to STEM talent, adding that the wage match provided by the program is an incentive that makes it easier to justify having interns over the summer. “SciTech provides a good stage for companies to hire interns. You have good ground to stand on because it’s not a huge investment for the company,” Nolan says.


Companies that meet SciTech eligibility criteria receive a dollar-for-dollar wage reimbursement that covers 50% of a STEM intern’s wages (up to $2,500). The 2018 Program Year begins on September 1, 2017.