If you drove by LasX Industries in White Bear Lake, you may never know that the company you’re passing is known around the globe for its laser processing solutions.
Since 1998, LasX has served industries that span the gamut, from packaging, aerospace, automotive, medical, electronic, textiles and graphic arts. Their lasers have the ability to create everything from intricate cutouts on a pair of jeans to etchings on plastic, wood and granite.
Since LasX has been growing at a rapid pace, they’ve turned to SciTech over the last four years to hire interns.
“SciTech is a good way for us to afford to do this,” said Sheila Stejskal, the company’s Human Resources Manager. Turning to her 2019 crop of interns, she continued, “it’s beneficial to you and it’s beneficial to us. We get to build our pipeline and you get some great experience.”
Stejskal hired four mechanical engineering interns this summer:
- Vanessa Bird (center right), a native of Little Canada entering her junior year at the Colorado School of Mines, is working on the production floor where laser modules are being built. She’s had exposure to schematics, electrical wiring, safety and risk considerations, and is learning a great deal about how to design products for easier assembly;
- Leah Arnt (right), from North St. Paul, is finishing up her degree at Michigan Tech next year. She is working in LasX’s MicroMed Solutions division, which makes products that go into medical devices. Her role includes researching how to optimize production quality, improving efficiencies, and updating procedures.
- Leo Flentje (center left) hails from St. Paul and is a senior at the University St. Thomas. He is testing software used in the lasers.
- And William Nickoloff (left), a senior from North Oaks at Iowa State University, who is returning for his second internship at LasX Industries. Thanks to the knowledge he gained last summer, he’s been able to work on a variety of projects in the mechanical design department, improving and simplifying existing design assemblies.
Smart tip: Track your progress
Arnt brought along a best practice from her previous internship: documenting what she’s learning. In an Excel spreadsheet, Arnt keeps track of tasks completed each day and action items for the next week.
“In my last week, I want to give a little presentation to my team, saying ‘this is what I did, and here are some improvements I can suggest for the next interns’,” Arnt said. “It’s a really nice way to wrap up your internship without just picking up your desk and leaving.”
Arnt found the journal to be really helpful when updating her resume, too. “I still have my presentation from last year – it’s a nice way to look back and recruiters like that stuff.”
Stejskal also suggested that the interns should keep their job descriptions for future reference as well.
The benefits of experience
All the interns agreed that having experience under your belt makes going to future career fairs so much easier.
“I want to go into mechanical design,” Nickoloff said. “Now that I have that experience working with mechanical designers, it’s going to be huge. It will definitely be at the top of my resume and the first thing I talk about.”
Arnt added, “Recruiters ask ‘what do you want to do? Where do you see yourself’? It’s so hard to answer that without any experience.” But after her internships, Arnt says “I can say ‘I did this for 3 months and loved designing and I succeeded at it.’ Boom – that’s way more important to them than ‘I have a degree.’”
“It increases your confidence in what you want to do and how you present yourself to the company, and what you think you deserve,” said Bird.
The new SciTech program year begins on September 1, so now is a great time for students to register or reactivate their accounts or for employers to post fall internships opportunities.