When interviewing students about their internships, we hear a lot of jokes made about coffee. Usually it’s the interns laughing about the “coffee-fetcher” stereotype and how different that is from the actual hands-on experience they receive in a SciTech Internship. Hector Coronado, a computer science major at Bethel University, started his Invenshure internship with a project based solely on office coffee, but… not in the way you might expect.

“Interns don’t make coffee here,” said Luke Buer, an embedded system engineer at Invenshure. “Hector made (an app) so the other people can make coffee on their own.”

As an associate software engineering intern, Coronado’s first task was to design and implement a coffee monitoring system to track the amount of fresh coffee available in the office at any given time. His system was then synched with Slack, so anyone looking for their next cup of java just had to check the app to see how much coffee was left in the pot and what time it was brewed.

“This project has been really fun to work with,” Coronado said.

Taking initiative

When not monitoring the status of coffee pots, Invenshure is primarily a technology and venture catalyst that helps research universities license new technology and launch new businesses.   

“Working with startups, we need interns that can take initiative,” said Buer. “We can’t constantly be holding their hand.” A project like the coffee monitor, he added, “is a good way for them to start managing and owning a project on their own. And Hector knocked it out of the park.”       

Invenshure currently has seven companies in its incubator and Coronado got the chance to work with almost all of them. Once the coffee monitor was completed, it was his job to review and improve the startups’ websites by strengthening the company’s background software and streamlining their content management.

This meant learning JavaScript, testing his own approaches, researching solutions, and consulting with software engineers from each of the startups.

“Learning a new language was also really good because I have to use that in my next semester classes so now I have the whole summer to get a head start,” Coronado said.

The long term impact

Invenshure has relied on the SciTech Internship Program as a workforce solution since 2015. One of their past SciTech interns, Grant Gapinski, was hired fulltime after graduation and helped mentor Coronado through some of his tasks.

“We’re trying to grow and give our interns a multitude of experiences,” Buer said. “One as an individual contributor, but also helping to do some leadership with new employees, to onboard them and assist with projects.”

Coronado has indicated that he’s also interested in sticking with Invenshure, perhaps coming back next summer to mentor new interns as well.       

“I love working here.” Coronado said “Here, everyone contributes. Not only am I getting exposure to computer science, but the CEO sits right behind me so I see the struggles that come within running a business and all the roles that everyone plays. I love the workplace, the environment, and seeing what the other companies are working on. It’s exactly what I wanted to be doing.”

Get involved
Looking to build your small business workforce? At least 200 internship wage matches are available to small employers on a first come, first hire basis. Get started today at SciTechMN.org.

Are you a returning SciTech student? Send your current transcript to SciTechMN@mhta.org to reactivate your account. Winter and spring internships are available now.