Despite the uncertainties presented by COVID-19 and the unexpected need to transition to an online platform, 61 virtual internships provided STEM career opportunities for high school students across Oregon. Though it seemed impossible to virtually deliver the same quality apprenticeships that define the ASE program, this summer it proved not only to be possible but also deeply enriching for mentors and mentees alike. While all of our mentors led great internships this summer, we can look to some shining examples of what can be achieved via the online platform.
At Weir ESCO, an engineering and manufacturing business based in Portland, they were able to quickly pivot project elements to work from home through simulation, informational interviews, and modeling. By the end of the eight weeks, our ASE intern had created and pitched a plan for Weir ESCO’s traveling “Maker Space” booth which will visit the OMSI Maker Faire and many other locations to demonstrate the casting process with the goal of community engagement. The confidence gained by the apprentice who spent their summer with Weir ESCO was evident in their online Symposium presentation. You can view that presentation and all the other ASE intern presentations on our website. You can also read first-hand accounts from Steven, Weir ESCO’s primary mentor in 2020, and from Erim, Weir ESCO’s apprentice.
We also look to examples like Lumencor, Inc. who hosted an intern that helped reimagine parts of their website to help their marketing department with the sales process of the illuminating element in light microscopy. Lumencor had such a successful summer, they attribute this internship to helping maintain staff morale during the pandemic in this interview with the Portland Business Journal. When talking to Ellen, the primary mentor for this internship, she mentions how daily check-ins, an equal opportunity to collaborate in team settings, and a priority on safety led Lumencor and their intern, Valerie, to a rewarding project.
Do you think you and your organization have the capacity to host an intern online this summer? Contact Maura, our ASE Program Coordinator at email@example.com.