​Drive about two hours north of the Twin Cities toward Brainerd and you’ll find Deerwood Technologies, a veteran-owned, family-owned tech support company. Jim Mayne is Deerwood’s President and his wife Shelia is the Chief Happiness Officer. They’ve been steadily growing their company for the last few years, renovating their office and hiring and training new technicians and other staff for their team.

“Bringing any new individual on involves some amount of risk, in terms of making sure that not only their skillsets are good but that ‘people-fit’ is there too,” Mayne said. “The [SciTech] program is good for us because it helps reduce that risk and focuses on the technical skillsets.”

A state-funded program, SciTech supports small Minnesota businesses like Deerwood Technologies by connecting them with college STEM majors for paid internship opportunities. The program then reimburses employers for half of what they pay their interns (up to $2,500 per student).

Mayne has relied on SciTech as a workforce resource for the last several years and this January he used it to find and hire Computer Science Major McEwan Rodefeld.

A supportive culture
Rodefeld, a student at Augsburg University, conducted his internship virtually, but thanks to plenty of screen sharing and regular collaborative communication with team members, the remote job shadowing experience went smoothly. Now, only a couple of months in, Rodefeld is taking customer tickets on his own, checking in now and then just to make sure everything is correct.

“I like being able to complete tickets. Just being able to knock those off the board gives you a sense of completion,” Rodefeld said.

Rodefeld’s projects at Deerwood have included assisting with Windows updates, upgrading power configurations for client machines and learning a lot about the different fields and specialties within cyber security. Rodefeld will even have the opportunity to gain a globally recognized industry certification with the upcoming CompTIA training Deerwood Technologies is providing.

Thus far, it’s been the supportive nature of the Deerwood team that’s really stood out to him. On top of all that he’s been exposed to and learned, the friendly company culture, even virtually, has made this internship memorable.

“It’s been a really awesome experience,” Rodefeld said. “Even when I feel like I’m making silly mistakes, they’re vey kind about it and help me sort it out. It’s been really great to have that support network.”

Get involved
Make an impact on a future STEM professional’s life and strengthen your talent pipeline. Start planning your internship today at scitechmn.org. At least 90 wage matches are available on a first come, first hire basis between now and August 2021.

Are you a returning student? The new program year is underway! Reactivate your account and start applying for internships today.​