Just an hour south of the Canadian border in Angora, Minnesota there is a small tech company in a heavily wooded haven called Art Unlimited. This woman-owned business specializes in marketing and web design but recently they’ve begun to broaden their services, branching into software development and integration.

For several years, Art Unlimited has relied on the SciTech Internship Program to help strengthen their workforce with talented interns who can help take their new projects to the next level. This summer they identified 60-some qualified candidates and in the end welcomed three students to their team, Denisa Lalikova, Tanveer Virdi and Munti Mehtaz.

“What a blessing it’s been to be connected with SciTech,” said Art Unlimited’s Software Project Manager Mike Poaletti.“I was stunned by the caliber of applicants that we received, and we chose the cream of the crop! It’s a testament to [SciTech’s] talent pool.”

Working with colleges and universities across the state, SciTech helps STEM students connect with innovative small companies and unique internship experiences that they might otherwise miss. The program also supports small employers, reimbursing them for half the interns’ wages (up to $2,500 each) so they can afford to find and hire the talent they need while providing competitive pay.

With great interns comes great opportunity
The students that Art Unlimited found came to this opportunity with experience and ambition. Prior to this internship, Lalikova already knew several coding languages including JavaScript and C#. So she was given a client-facing project not long after she started.

“My first week, they gave me a website to work on, the Bear website. It was exciting,” Lalikova said. “It was a great feeling that I could start working on a project right away, like wow, this is awesome.”

“Bear Roofing is a client and they were elated with the work she did on their webpage. We assigned that project to her and she just knocked it out of the park,” Poaletti confirmed.

Virdi and Mehtaz saw to internal, back-end programming tasks. Their primary project is essentially a play on telehealth that Poaletti came up with, only instead of patients connecting remotely with their doctor, it’s an app that enables pet owners to connect with their vet.

While collaborating with Art Unlimited’s engineers, Mehtaz was able to refine his C# skills and took a lot of pleasure from the first-hand experiences he acquired.

“Working on a real project everyday excites me,” he said. “The app has come pretty far and I’m stoked by that. Not only can this go on my resume but now I have the skills to show for it.”

Encouraging growth through community
Despite working remote due to COVID-19, all three interns emphasized how welcoming and helpful Art Unlimited’s company culture was, and that added immensely to the impact of their internship experience.

“Here, in a different country and a different culture, it’s been a completely new and refreshing experience for me,” Virdi said. “Given the current situation with the pandemic and working remotely, you have the comfort of working from home but at the same time you’re getting to meet new people. Coming from India to the U.S and getting exposed to a new work culture, that has been a great learning experience for me as well.”

Elizabeth Chapman is one of Art Unlimited’s founders, and at the end of the site visit she expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to welcome Lalikova, Virdi and Mehtaz to their company and offer them support on their professional journeys.

“I’m thankful for a team that is flexible and works around challenges and obstacles,” Chapman said proudly. “The culture and the ongoing sense of family has helped all of us, specifically our interns. There are people here that want to help, want to see them succeed and want to invest in them and care about them. I’m thankful we were able to do that this summer and bring a small sense of normalcy to everything that’s been happening. I think the main thing we can give is to let them know that we’ll always be here for them.”

Get involved
Make an impact on a young professional’s life and strengthen your talent pipeline. Start planning your internship today at https://scitechmn.org/