What is SciTechsperience?
SciTechsperience is a state-funded program that connects college students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to paid internships in small to mid-sized Minnesota companies. These internships offer students valuable hands-on industry experience, an opportunity to apply their knowledge to real-world challenges, and the skills they need to bridge the gap between classroom and career. Companies that hire through SciTechsperience receive a $1:$1 matching grant to cover 50% of the intern’s wages (capped at $2,500). SciTechsperience will support at least 300 internships in 2018.
The program started in 2012 as a platform to build and retain Minnesota’s STEM workforce. The state developed a strategic plan to support the science and technology industries, and identified a need to prepare and retain our state’s STEM workforce. SciTechsperience helps retain STEM talent in MN by introducing students to the vast array of opportunities at small companies, and help employers connect to the skilled talent they need.
60 students were placed in 2012, and the program has grown, hoping to place 340 this year.
How do Students benefit?
All SciTechsperience Internships offer hands-on experience in STEM industries, equipping students with skills that make them attractive job candidates.
Since these are STEM internships that relate to students major, it is possible to register them for a credit depending on your college requirements and internship regulations.
For many students, internships lead to long term employment with the company where they do the internship.
How does it Work?
- Apply to the Program at scitechmn.org
Students have to first apply for the Program by filling an online application form at scitechmn.org. To be eligible for the program, students have to be:
- Minnesota resident or attending college in Minnesota; age 18 or older
- In good academic standing (2.5+ GPA)
- College student pursuing a STEM degree
- Master’s Degree students
- 60 credits completed (4-year degree) or
- 24 credits completed (2-year degree)
- Currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college
- Legally eligible to work in the U.S. (CPT/OPT)
- Have your unofficial transcript ready as it’ll be required to complete the application
- Form I-20 for International students
- A well-polished (updated) Resume that you can copy and Paste will help you create a good profile. Having a good student profile will increase your chances of getting the best out of the program.
Log in and Search the Job Board
If you meet all the program requirements, a welcome email will be sent to you with additional information on how to use the program- Please, read that email carefully! We don’t match you or place you in a company- it is your responsibility to search the job board and directly contact the hiring managers for the jobs you are interested in. Their emails and phone numbers will be listed in the job description.
What are employers looking for when hiring an Intern?
During past Career Fairs, campus visits and presentations, many students have asked about what employers look for when hiring interns. Setting up a good SciTechsperience profile with a good professional resume, clear personal statement, and effectively communicating your interest will increase your chances of landing an internship.
For some students, we have done Resume workshops, and discussed about making a great SciTechsperience profile that showcases your technical or hard skills, and soft skills. If you would like to have this session again at your school or with your student organization, let us know and we can schedule to make it happen. A well written resume gives the first impression to employers, and is one of the simplest ways to screen candidates. After drafting your Resume, it is always important to make your way to the career service center for peer review. They have all resources and expertise to help you throughout your internship applications!
- Create an Outstanding Student Profile
In creating your SciTechsperience profile, there is space for your Personal Statement as well as one for your Resume. Use your updated Resume in creating your profile- I recommend copying and pasting your professional Resume into the Resume section when applying to the program. Writing a good personal Statement gives you a chance to communicate about who you are, your interests, aspirations, and what you’re looking forward to achieving from your prospective internship.
Apart from hard/Technical skills that relate to your major, field or job of interest; employers also look for soft skills that will make you a good fit for the company. Soft skills are personal attributes that you need to succeed in the work place. They are sometimes referred to as transferable skills or professional skills. They’ll help you in a wide range of jobs, not just the target job you’re applying for.
From our survey to SciTech employers, students with cross-functional experiences in addition to STEM related experiences have higher chances.
“An engineering student with customer service experience or a science student with a marketing background enhances how employers view them rather than it being a lost year”, said one of our survey participants. Your student profile should not only communicate your STEM based skills, but also soft skills necessary to fit into different work settings.
In our survey to employers, these are examples of soft skills that are mostly favored; organization, communication, teamwork, responsibility and self-motivation, analytical skills and ability to see the big picture, etc. More to these, employers showed interest to students that expressed sheer desire and willingness to learn, who are ambitious and confident in asking good questions. Showcasing these abilities in addition to hard skills mentioned in the job descriptions will make you an attractive candidate.
How do I reach Out to Employers?
After being approved to participate in the program, it is the student’s responsibility to apply to different internships. Emails and phone numbers of hiring managers are listed in the job descriptions posted on our website, and applications are by directly reaching out to the companies.
Do your Homework!-Review Job description, check the company’s website to better understand what they do. Read their press releases and try to understand their work and culture.
Project yourself in a serious manner: Focus on what you have to offer to the company and why you would be a good fit. Compose a well written professional email, attach a clean copy of your resume and a cover letter. If you don’t have enough experience, express your interest, willingness and curiosity to learn.
Ask for an interview- Conclude by expressing interest in talking to the company in person about the position you’re applying for.
- Carefully Read all Emails from SciTechsperience
We send periodic emails to SciTechsperience students alerting them of new job postings on the site and other important notices. Take some time to read those emails and reach out to us if you need help or with any questions that you may have about the program.
- Make Use of the Career Service Center
Go and talk to your friends in the career services department at your school! You should treat the internship job hunt with the same approach as the real deal. Because it could be! Many students are hired by companies after their internship ends.
Career Service personnel can help you:
- Polish your resume
- Write Cover letter
- Prepare for phone and in-person interviews
There are also some good resources on the SciTechMN.org resource page to help you with your job search
For more information, please contact Norbert Abayisenga, SciTechsperience’s Student Outreach Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org