Intern Matthew Finn

About the company:
Sentera is a precision agriculture data company that designs and manufactures drones and their cameras. In the last year or so, their geographic information systems (GIS) team has really taken off, in order to keep up with the growth of their ever-evolving mapping software. When Sentera hired their interns last summer through the SciTech Program, almost all of them were assigned to GIS.

This technology is growing so quickly that Sentera’s engineers need to constantly adapt to grow with it. “I’ve learned a lot from the GIS team and now know what we should look for when hiring for GIS,” said Andrew Muehlfeld, a software engineer at Sentera.

The geospatial technician interns that Sentera needed were individuals with knowledge, experience and interest in the fields of geospatial data processing and analysis, able to apply their skills toward analyzing images of farm fields captured by drones.

In the end, the students that met Sentera’s standards, and passed the two-and-a-half-hour-long interview process, were Ethan Larson, Jordan Kiesow, Nick Witthoeft, Matthew Finn, Andrew Brevick and Patrick Norris.

About the interns:
Half of the students, Larson, Norris and Kiesow were studying geography at Minnesota State University -Mankato while the other half, Finn, Witthoeft and Brevick studied aerospace and mechanics, and ecosystem management at the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities.

Each intern dedicated their time to a specific project:

  • Kiesow worked on a tool used to detect the health of trees in orchards.
  • Larson worked on a corn counting tool that can plot the layout of a map and plug the info into a program that then counts the corn for them.
  • Witthoeft saw to a corn and soybean counting tool, that works by gathering imagery and then counting the amount of green in an area.
  • Norris worked on “stitching,” with a software that buckets images and then links the singular picture together.
  • Finn was testing an airplane sensor and he even got the chance to fly it in order to test the data.
  • And Brevick helped repair damaged drones so they could go back to work in the field.

“Our internships are all real work,” Muehlfeld said, designed to give the students hands-on opportunities to learn, grow and contribute to Sentera in meaningful ways. When they do that, he said, “interns bring a bottom-line advantage to our company.”

“I felt we were all wanted,” Norris said. “They appreciate us here and I’ve learned a lot.”

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