This event was generated out of a community need for qualified workforce prospects and jobs needed by community college and high school students who might be interested in a STEM career, bringing students together with representatives from organizations in the Phoenix metropolitan area that host both paid and unpaid STEM internship programs.
More than two dozen organizations that host such programs were represented at the local, state, and federal level. Notably, nine divisions of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the BIO5 Institute out of Tucson, the City of Phoenix, and the Mayo Clinic were in attendance.
As one of the partners of this event, the AZ SciTech Fest was there looking for a diverse group of Interns to help with this year’s Festival during the window of February 9th through March 17th, 2013. “We received a healthy roster of potential intern prospects that we hope to fill our internship openings from,” said Charlotte Hodel, Communications & Development advisor for the AZ SciTech Fest.
Nearly 150 community college and high school students attended the Expo and learned how these internships bridge the gap between academic studies and professional employment. Phoenix College Career Services and My Business Lady also provided the students with additional information, resources, and consultations on résumés and application strategies, all of which prepared them for real-world applications.
The Internship Expo was funded by Phoenix College's Title V Grant, which aims to promote STEM education and support students in STEM academic and career pathways. “There are so many exciting opportunities that offer meaningful career experiences for students and this Expo is a way for some of the region’s most innovative companies to reach a diverse pool of top young STEM talent,” states Seth Goodman, Title V director at Phoenix College. “The event went well and we had a good turnout. The exhibitors were grateful for the outreach opportunity,” which allowed them to connect with so many high school and college students who have a clear interest in STEM all in one place.
Goodman also said that, though this was the first time they had held such an event, there was “interest on the part of the organizations to do this again next year” and that the “intent is to make this an annual event” with the potential for advertising the Expo in surrounding communities outside of Maricopa County.